Angkor Thom – Great City - Asia Travel & Leisure

Asia Travel & Leisure

Angkor Thom – Great City

It was built in part as a reaction to the surprise sacking of Angkor by the Chams. King Jayavarman VII decided that his empire would never again be vulnerable at home. Beyond the eight meter (26 feet) high walls is a massive moat that would have stooped all but the most determined invaders. The city wall has a sanctuary tower at each corner and five entry gates; one per cardinal direction plus an additional eastern portal, the Victory Gate.

The gates each feature a tower topped by four huge faces, similar to those at the Bayon temple.

Bayon Temple:
The Bayon temple features a sea of over 200 massive stone faces looking in all direction. The curious smiling faces, thought by many to be a portrait of king Jayavarman VII himself or a combination of him and Buddha, are an instantly recognizable image of Angkor. Built in the 12th century by King Jayavarman VII as part of a massive expansion of his capital Angkor Thom, the Bayon is built at the exact center of the royal city. The Bayon is the only state temple at Angkor built primarily as a Mahayana Buddhist shrine dedicated to the Buddha. Following Jayavarman’s death, it was modified by later Hindu and Theravada Buddhist kings in accordance with their own religious beliefs.

Highlights:
The most fascinating way to enter Angkor Thom is through the south gate. The causeway here is flanked by 54 gods and 54 demons depicting parts of the popular Hindu legend “The Churning of the Ocean of Milk”.
Some activities should try when visiting Angkor Thom:
- Elephant Riding from south gate of Angkor Thom to Bayon or Around Bayon: 15USD/ person
- Boat Trip along the river to watch sunset: 25USD/ person including drink and some fruit