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Angkor Thom Temple

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Angkor Thom Temple is a stunning example of ancient Khmer architecture and one of the most significant historical sites in Southeast Asia. With its impressive architecture and rich cultural history, the temple attracts millions of visitors every year from all over the world.

In this travel guide, we'll explore the basics of Angkor Thom Temple, its history and cultural significance, how to tour the temple, how to get there, and tips for visiting. It will definitely help you to better arrange your Cambodia tour.

Basic facts about Angkor Thom temple

King Jayavarman VII

Angkor Thom is one of the most popular Cambodia destinations. Here are some basic facts you need to know:

1. Location: Angkor Thom is located in Siem Reap Province, Cambodia, about 6 kilometers north of the town of Siem Reap.
2. Size: Angkor Thom covers an area of approximately 9 square kilometers, making it one of the largest archaeological sites in Southeast Asia.
3. Age: The temple complex was built in the late 12th century, between 1181 and 1220 AD, during the reign of King Jayavarman VII.

Besides, here are some lesser-known facts about Angkor Thom that you might find interesting:

1. Earthquakes: Angkor Thom was built on unstable ground, which has led to several earthquakes over the centuries that have caused damage to the structures. In fact, some of the towers on the Bayon are currently leaning due to earthquake damage.
2. Hidden treasure: According to local legends, there is a treasure hidden somewhere in Angkor Thom that was left behind by King Jayavarman VII. However, despite numerous searches over the years, no one has been able to find the treasure.
3. Secret passageways: There are several secret passageways hidden within Angkor Thom, including a hidden entrance to the Bayon that was only discovered in the 20th century. These passageways were likely used by the royal family to move around the complex undetected.

History of Angkor Thom temple

A sight in Angkor thom

Here's a timeline of the history of Angkor Thom Temple:

1. 1181-1220 AD: Angkor Thom is built as the new capital city of the Khmer Empire during the reign of King Jayavarman VII. The city covers an area of approximately 9 square kilometers and is enclosed by a massive wall.
2. Late 13th century: The Khmer Empire begins to decline, and Angkor Thom is abandoned.
3. 16th century: Angkor Thom is rediscovered by European explorers, who marvel at its impressive architecture and art.
4. 19th century: French explorers begin to survey and document Angkor Thom, laying the foundation for the modern study of Khmer history and archaeology.
5. Early 20th century: Efforts to restore and preserve Angkor Thom begin, including the removal of vegetation and the reinforcement of structures.
6. 1975-1979: Angkor Thom, like many other historical sites in Cambodia, is damaged and neglected during the Khmer Rouge regime.
7. Late 20th century to present day: Restoration efforts continue, and Angkor Thom becomes a major tourist attraction, drawing visitors from around the world.

Cultural dignificance of Angkor Thom temple

Monks in Angkor thom

Angkor Thom is an incredibly important site in Cambodian culture because it represents a pinnacle of Khmer architecture, art, and religion. As the capital city of the Khmer Empire, Angkor Thom served as a center of power, culture, and religious practice for centuries, shaping the course of K.

The complex is renowned for its impressive architecture, intricate carvings, and artistry, which reflect the unique blend of Hindu and Buddhist traditions that characterized the Khmer Empire. The temple complex is also home to many important cultural artifacts and religious sites, including the Bayon Temple with its iconic carved faces, the Terrace of the Elephants, and the Terrace of the Leper King.

Moreover, Angkor Thom has played a key role in the development of modern Cambodian identity and nationalism. Its status as a symbol of Khmer power and culture has made it an enduring source of pride and inspiration for the Cambodian people, and it remains a testament to the country's rich cultural heritage and legacy.

How to tour the Angkor Thom temple

A couple during their journey in Angkor Wat

To fully appreciate the grandeur of Angkor Thom in Siem Reap and see all the major temples within its walls, we would recommend spending at least two days in the area. This will give you enough time to explore the main attractions such as Bayon, Baphuon, Phimeanakas, and the Terrace of the Elephants, as well as some of the lesser-known temples and ruins.

However, if you have limited time, it's still possible to see some of the highlights in a single day. You can focus on the main attractions such as Bayon and the Terrace of the Elephants, and then explore some of the surrounding temples such as Ta Prohm and Angkor Wat on a separate day.

Here is a sample 2-day tour routine in Angkor Thom:

Day 1:

1. Start your day at Angkor Thom's South Gate, a grand entrance with giant stone faces, and take in the stunning views of the temple complex.
2. Visit the Bayon Temple, the most famous and unique temple in Angkor Thom, with 54 towers and over 200 carved stone faces.
3. Explore the Baphuon Temple, a massive pyramid-style temple dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.

1. Visit the Terrace of the Elephants, a grand terrace with carvings of elephants and other animals, and a popular spot for photos.
2. Check out the Terrace of the Leper King, another impressive terrace with intricate carvings and sculptures.
3. End the day with a visit to the Royal Palace area, which includes the Phimeanakas Temple, the Royal Palace, and the Elephant Terrace.

Day 2:

1. Start your day at the Angkor Wat temple complex, the largest religious monument in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
2. Take in the stunning views of the temple's five towers and explore the intricate carvings and galleries.

1. Visit the Ta Prohm temple, also known as the Tomb Raider temple, which features massive trees growing out of its ruins.
2. Explore the Preah Khan temple, a sprawling complex with impressive architecture and carvings.
3. End the day with a visit to the Banteay Srei temple, a smaller temple known for its intricate carvings and pink sandstone.

Of course, this is just a sample itinerary and there are many more temples and sites to see in Angkor Thom. We recommend consulting with a local tour guide or doing further research to tailor your itinerary to your specific interests and preferences. You can absolutely get in touch with us to tailor your Cambodia tour!

How to get to Angkor Thom temple

Tuk tuk tour in Angkor thom

You can get to Angkor Thom by flying into Siem Reap International Airport (REP), which is the closest airport to the temple complex. From there, you can take a taxi or tuk-tuk to reach the site.

Alternatively, you can take a bus or hire a private car from other cities in Cambodia such as Phnom Penh or Battambang. It's also possible to arrange a tour package with a local travel agency, which can include transportation, accommodation, and guided tours of the Angkor Thom temples.

Once you arrive at Angkor Thom, there are several ticket options available depending on how long you plan to stay and how many temples you want to visit. The ticket office is located on the road leading to the Angkor Archaeological Park and is open from 5:00 AM to 5:30 PM daily.

Related itineraries recommended:

6 Days Angkor Discovery Tour

10 Days Best of Cambodia Tour

15 Days Exploration Tour of Cambodia

Visiting tips

Choose the most comfortable shoes to walk

1. Avoid peak hours: To avoid the crowds and the heat, consider visiting the temples early in the morning or later in the afternoon when it's less crowded and cooler.
2. Respect the temples: The temples are sacred places, so please be respectful when visiting them. Do not touch or climb on the ruins, and do not litter or leave trash behind.
3. Wear comfortable shoes: The temple complex is vast, so wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to walk or bike long distances.
4. Bring sunscreen and insect repellent: Protect yourself from the sun and insects by bringing sunscreen and insect repellent.
5. Try local food: Siem Reap and the surrounding areas offer a wide range of delicious local dishes, and be sure to try some Cambodian street food during your visit.
6. Learn some Khmer phrases: Locals appreciate it when visitors make an effort to speak their language, so learn some basic Khmer phrases to communicate with the locals.
7. Take your time: There's a lot to see in Angkor Thom, so take your time and explore the temples at your own pace. Don't try to see everything in one day; consider spreading your visit over several days to fully appreciate the beauty and history of the temples.

In conclusion

Angkor Thom Temple is a must-visit destination for a Cambodia tour. With its rich history and cultural significance, the temple is a testament to the ingenuity and creativity of the Khmer people. By following these tips and guidelines, visitors can have a truly unforgettable experience at this iconic site!

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