Best Documentaries About Angkor Wat

I love watching movies about places we travel to. So today is the best documentaries about Angkor Wat!

Nestled amidst the lush jungles of Cambodia, Angkor Wat stands as a testament to the grandeur of ancient civilizations. This awe-inspiring temple complex dates back to the 12th century. And it has captivated the imaginations of historians, archaeologists, and tourists alike for centuries. 

Visiting Angkor Wat in person is an unparalleled experience. We didn’t have any idea how much we’d love this area of Cambodia. Its people and culture delighted Steve and me, and we hope you can visit there yourself. 

But documentaries offer an insightful and immersive way to explore the temple complex’s history and mysteries. So here are the best documentaries about Angkor Wat. We chose our favorites and hope they provide you with a virtual journey through time and culture.

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Bayon entry

Exploring Angkor Wat’s Mystique: The 4 Best Documentaries

For history enthusiasts, adventurers, and anyone intrigued by the mysteries of the past, these documentaries offer an enlightening and visually engaging experience. The films resurrect the magnificence of Angkor Wat and its profound place in history.

The Lost City of the God Kings: Angkor Wat

Visually, “The Lost City of the God Kings” does justice to the awe-inspiring beauty of Angkor Wat. It has striking visuals, including aerial footage, 3D reconstructions, and on-site cinematography. So, it transports viewers to the heart of Cambodia’s ancient wonder. 

The documentary captures the essence of Angkor Wat’s mystique and architectural brilliance. One of the film’s standout aspects is its thorough exploration of the God Kings who built these temples. It does an excellent job of showing the city’s appearance and how the people revered the rulers.

I like that this documentary about Angkor Wat helps me imagine the temple complex in its original state. It delves into stories about the kings and makes them also come to life. Steve and I watched this film while in Siem Reep, trying to learn more about the temples between visits.

Related: Five Best Things to Do in Siem Reep

The population of the city outsized Paris and London in that time frame. But the city’s fall and the kingdom’s lost place in history still stumps archaeologists.

documentaries about Angkor Wat
Buddha at Bayon

National Geographic’s Angkor Wat | Access 360 World Heritage

Angkor Wat has long been a subject of fascination for historians, archaeologists, and adventurers alike. National Geographic’s documentary series “Access 360 World Heritage” takes you on a journey through this remarkable UNESCO World Heritage site.

National Geographic is renowned for its breathtaking cinematography, and this episode is no exception. The documentary masterfully captures the beauty and intricacy of Angkor Wat’s architecture and the lush surroundings of the Cambodian jungle. Using drones and high-definition cameras allows viewers to appreciate the temples’ grandeur and the intricate carvings’ smallest details.

This short video offers a glimpse into how workers maintain Angkor Wat. Modern bare-footed workers scale temple sides to remove trees sprouted from pigeon poop. Their determination to protect the remains leads to some dazzling footwork.

Aerial archaeologists work by helicopter and on foot to understand better how ancient people built this fantastic city. They concentrate on how water gets to the city. The engineering feat is astonishing, even among today’s standards. 

The interviews with archaeologists, historians, and local experts offer valuable insights into the religious practices, societal structure, and artistic achievements of the Khmer civilization. However, some viewers might wish for more in-depth discussions of specific historical events or legends associated with Angkor Wat.

National Geographic does an excellent job of shedding light on the ongoing conservation and preservation efforts at Angkor Wat. It emphasizes the importance of safeguarding this cultural treasure for future generations.

Timeline’s The Buried Secrets Of The Empire Behind The Angkor Wat – Angkor Rediscovered

Timeline’s “Angkor Rediscovered” provides a deeper understanding of the Khmer Empire’s rise and fall. The documentary presents a well-researched narrative. It weaves together the rich tapestry of Cambodian history and the empire’s evolution.

This documentary about Angkor Wat delves into the complex political, religious, and societal factors that contributed to the construction and eventual decline of the temple complex. Expert interviews and historical accounts add depth to the storytelling.

The documentary strongly emphasizes the archaeological efforts to uncover Angkor Wat’s hidden secrets. Viewers are treated to a behind-the-scenes look at the excavation and restoration work conducted by dedicated archaeologists and preservationists. One thing I appreciated in this documentary about Angkor Wat is the animations to show how it looked “then.” You can get a real feel for Angkor in its glory days.

Archaeology and Technology

The use of modern technology, such as ground-penetrating radar and LiDAR scans, to reveal hidden structures beneath the earth’s surface is also interesting. The science behind the exploration is something I don’t usually think about. So it was good to see in most of these documentaries about Angkor Wat.

This film combines stunning aerial shots, CGI reconstructions, and on-site footage to give viewers a sense of the awe-inspiring scale of the temple complex. And the close-ups of the structures are amazing. It makes me want to hop on a plane and return!

Cambodia’s Temple KingdomThe Mark Of Empire – Angkor

This documentary about Angkor Wat comes from the perspective of Singaporean host and scholar Peter Lee. He passionately collects artifacts, so it makes perfect sense for him to guide us on a tour of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat. Lee also seeks to learn how SE Asia’s ancient empires shaped the region’s collective identities. Finally, he explores how the Angkor Empire dominated the culture for more than 600 years.

Learn how Cambodia’s floodwaters from the monsoon season still affect local life. But more importantly, Lee explores how the ancient Khmer engineered a city with canals and reservoirs. They built irrigation channels, an extensive road network, and a massive social system. It had to be a fantastic place to live, work, and learn.

Lee examines how the ancients lived and how their legacy shapes Cambodians today. This documentary gets a solid thumbs up.

Grand Circuit. Documentaries at Angkor Wat.
Pre Rup – Turning the Body

Conclusion

Angkor Wat stands as a timeless testament to human creativity and ingenuity. And these four documentaries offer unique perspectives on this ancient wonder’s history, culture, and mysteries. So whether you’re a history enthusiast, an archaeology buff, or simply curious about the world’s most breathtaking temples, these films will transport you to the heart of Angkor Wat, allowing you to explore its grandeur and unravel its enigmatic past from the comfort of your own home.

The aerial views in these documentaries about Angkor Wat gave me a greater perspective of just how large this temple complex is.

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