Angkor Thom – Part 2

Angkor Thom – The Ancient Capital

Part 2 of 2 on my adventures through the ancient temples of Angkor!
Please see part 1 for tour options and my visit to Angkor Wat.

Angkor Thom

Of the 1200 plus temples of Angkor, the largest grouping of structures is located at Angkor Thom. It’s huge! It took me 4 hours to walk the 3km course through the temples and monuments. An hour or more may have been wasted because i got lost and was completely exhausted, but that’s due to the grandeur of Angkor Thom!

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Bayon Temple Angkor Thom

The first stop is Bayon Temple with its 54 stone towers inscribed with over 173 different faces, it was the state building of king Jayavarman VII. The temple was built from the inside out, there is a giant stone Buddha in the centre of the temple which was built up around it in the late 12th century.

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Bayon Temple
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One of the 54 face of who is believed to be Buddha

Second is Baphuon temple, erected in the mid 11th century as a state temple features three levels and a massive raised stone roads leading to the front gate. The structure was dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva.

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Baphuon Temple

Third is Phimeanakas, a hindu temple built at the end of the 10th century, is the site of a ancient legend: The king must spend the first watch of every night with a woman representing a p ‘Naga’, owner of all land, or risk having his empire fall into chaos.

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Phimeanakas Temple

Finally there is the Mangalartha Temple: The last temple accurately dated in Angkor Thom, built on 1295 by the order of King Sayavarman VIII.

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Temple set back in the woods, not sure what the name is or when it was built

 A little History

King Jayavarman VII, who took back the ancient capital from the Champa. roughly 80 years after the reign of his predecessor King Jayavarman VII, was the first influential King who practiced Buddhism. It is believed that his Buddhist values were the primary reason for the emphasis given to improving the well-being of his people; he was a leader responsible for his people and his kingdom instead of a ruler above them like his Hindu predecessors. This might explain why during the reign of King Jayavarman VII, he built public infrastructure rather than private palaces.

Left: Two guardian lions. Right\Bottom : Asuras and Devas tugging on a Naga ‘Churning of the ocean of milk’

My favourite spot in Angkor is the bridge on which I watched the sun set over the moat. I also loved some of the old smaller temples that are scattered throughout the countryside and overgrown with trees.

Abandoned in the 15th century, nature found a way
South Gate Bridge to Angkor Thom at Sunset

The Town of Siem Reap

Besides my smelly street, the town of Siem Reap is really fun and actually quite small for being the hub of the country’s largest tourism attraction. During the day, the old market is the place to be! With shops, restaurants, fruit and vegetable stands and $1 smoothies, there is something for everyone. For my new friend Sophie and I, it was all about the exotic smoothies! Yum!


Papaya and Mango Smoothy and a dragon fruit smoothie

The restaurants served good food between $1.50 and $3 USD and more importantly draft beer specials for $0.50 and $2 cocktails. Just have a look!

Food around the old market, yum

At night, the focused drifted over to Pub Street where street stalls sold $2 cocktails and $5 buckets and clubs played music well into the night! There were even people overflowing into the street dancing and drinking, creating one giant party! Woohoo!

Pub Street – Siem Reap


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