Tour Southeast Asia’s Ancient Temples on the Web

Let the 360-degree camera views from AirPano whisk you to Cambodia, Indonesia, and Myanmar.

A fresh perspective on the Angkorian temple of Ta Prohm.

Even if you’ve been to Cambodia’s iconic Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world, you’re bound to gain a new appreciation of its sheer scale and beauty via AirPano. This website delivers “a virtual journey around the world” through a vast library of 360-degree photos and videos, and the six camera captures at Angkor Wat mostly show perspectives no ordinary visitor would get to see. Four were taken from the air, with one of those offering a closer look at the central structure’s five lotus-like towers.

Just as enticing are the series of 10 panoramas taken at the smaller temple of Ta Prohm, which shot to global fame following its appearance in the 2001 flick Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. You’ll take in a bird’s-eye perspective both in the early morning and at sunset, then marvel at both the enormous strangler figs and Tao Prohm’s intricate architectural details in a deserted scene at ground level, like an explorer stumbling on the ruins for the very first time.

Myanmar’s most celebrated archaeological site is also well-represented on AirPano. The temple-studded plain of Bagan, recently added to the UNESCO World Heritage List, gets no less than 19 different 360-degree views. You can join a hot-air balloon flight at sunrise while it soars above the graceful corn cob–like spire of Sulamani Temple, and embark on a whistle-stop tour of Bagan’s most-visited landmarks.

Worshipers inside Bagan’s Ananda Temple.

There are several perspectives on the gilded Shwezigon Pagoda (both during the day and when the stupa is illuminated at night), while users are welcome to step inside the high-ceilinged corridors of the Ananda Temple, where devotees can be seen sitting in front of a golden 9.5-meter standing Buddha statue. Places for watching a virtual sunset over Bagan include the whitewashed Shwesandaw stupa; the Tayok Pyay pagoda, whose name recounts how its builder-king fled from a Mongol invasion; and the expansive rooftop terrace at Pyathadar temple, which is believed to be one of the last great constructions of the Kingdom of Bagan.

In Indonesia, AirPano has captured the sunrise from the bell-shaped stupas crowning the upper tiers of Borobudur, the iconic ninth-century Buddhist temple shaped like a giant 3D mandala. You can also admire Buddha statues on the monument’s middle tiers, sat in niches adorned with the guardian face of a kala (to ward off evil spirits) and framed by carvings of legendary sea creatures known as makara. A logical next step is to pay a visit to the Prambanan Temple Compounds; the impressive aerials will give you a newfound appreciation for the landmark’s height and its setting in a fertile plain at the foot of Merapi, Indonesia’s most active volcano. We might not be able to go right now, but these 360-degree views are likely the next best thing.

Sunrise at Borobudur, in Indonesia’s Central Java province.

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