Temple Area of Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom Faces

Angkor Thom Faces

On our next day of temple explorations we devoted the morning to the large temple area of Angkor Thom. The area is much larger than Angkor Wat and includes several temples, a Royal Palace, and other partly preserved structures. We had a perfect start of very clear skies and sunny warm weather. Our first stop was the southern gate of Angkor Thom which has a bridge over it’s large “moat”, and a Bayon-style four-faced statue over the gate. The bridge has balustrades and larger-than-life sized re-enactment of the “Churning of the Sea of Milk” with statues of demons and gods pulling on snakes. I also climbed the hill to get a shot of one of the side-faces and a view over the bridge and water.

Bayon Temple

Bayon Temple

My favorite attraction here is the Bayon temple which hosts a large number of towers with huge faces on each of four sides. We took countless photos, but I’m only sharing a couple dozen here. I’ve spent an entire day processing these photos, so I hope you guys like them. The photo here is a small version of one of my favorite showing the temple (bigger one in the slideshow).

The Bayon temple includes some bas relief wall carvings around the base, but we only spent a few minutes looking at them because of the allure of the temple itself. There are a few examples in the slideshow of these carvings that are actually better in some ways than the ones at Angkor Wat.

Frank Statue

Frank Statue

Karen took a photo of me standing behind one of the headless statues. Maybe they’ll use me as a model for restoring the statues? I think not… We then proceeded to enter the main courtyard of the temple and took many, many photos of the temple. The Bayon-style faces up on the towers are just awesome to behold. They are so large that each face is made up of several large stones. Some of them fell down over time, but archeologists have been piecing them back together. I climbed one of the structures and took some panoramas which are shown in the slideshow below as well. I really like how the photos of this temple turned out!

We next climbed the stairs up into the temple and walked around the towers with the Bayon faces. There’s a shot of Karen standing in front of one set of faces, and many other angles and views of different sets of them.

After the Bayon temple, we walked toward the Baphuon temple and took some pictures from the front, but we didn’t stop there as our time was limited. We next went to the Elephant Terrace – which is a long set of walls and stairs with Elephant carvings that are nearly life-sized. We noticed other small-sized temples (like the family-sponsored ones at Prambanan) across the road. One of the terraces had some lion guards, one of which was newly restored to original condition.

Next up was the Leper King terrace symbolized by man-shaped demons. We also saw another Naga-capped balustrades for a bridge and a large temple ruin that apparently leads to the Royal Palace some distance away. We continued on to some bas reliefs in the Leper King area next though. After that, we left to return to our Tuk Tuk (our ride) to go to another temple for the afternoon after some lunch. I’ll write about that other temple in another post after I process even more photos.

Meanwhile, enjoy the Angkor Thom slideshow with some of the best photos from this trip. Please view full-screen for a better view of the photos:


View full-sized slideshow

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