When you visit Angkor you get overwhelmed by the quantity of temples you can visit. Actually when visitors arrive to Angkor they usually end up visiting the same temples, in the same order and at the same times of the day! This is because hotels and tuk-tuk drivers already have some ‘circuits’ that they offer to their clients and if you have not made a bit of research about Angkor temples in advance you may find convenient just to let your hotel or tuk-tuk driver to decide for you.
Following the standard circuits and visiting the ‘standard’ temples is not that bad, the main temples are the main for some reason, but if you have a bit of time and a little more curiosity and interest about Angkor temples than the average visitor then it would be worth it to go a bit out of the beaten path, even if it is just one detour to a small no so famous temple.
If you are considering visiting one of those off-the-beaten-path temples, then Preah Palilay temple is a nice option. Its location is very convenient, inside Angkor Thom citadel, close to the Royal Terraces. This temple is special by several reasons:
First is quite refreshing to arrive to the temple and find such a peaceful environment, the lush green around the temple is very beautiful and you will not find so much people there.
Another reason to visit Preah Palilay temple is its magnificent cruciform Naga terrace (see the photo gallery bellow), which is one of the best in all Angkor complex. There is even a beautiful and relatively well preserved Buddha statue after the terrace.
Additionally, despite that this temple is small, it has interesting pediments in its entrance gate. Be careful to check all the four sides of each gate, normally pediments are only in front and in the back side of the gate but the gates of this temple have pediments also on the lateral sides. The carvings of the pediments are unique and some of them in good shape, you should not miss them if you visit this temple.
Finally, just walking around Preah Palilay and enjoy the nature and the peaceful environment is a good reason to pay a visit to this little gem of Angkor.