Angkor Thom, lies about a kilometre north of Angkor Wat and was built as a city, with walls about 3km long on each side of the square it is again truly monumental.
If approaching from the south you are greeted at the moat by 54 demons and 54 gods engaged in an eternal tug of war and then pass through the gates to the walled city itself.
Having been lost to jungle for hundreds of years, none of the wooden domestic buildings remain, but at the centre of Angkor Thom sits perhaps the strangest temple: Bayon, the temple with the 216 faces.
It doesn’t look too good on the approach – more like rubble, but when you enter the site it starts to fit together and you can see the form of the building.
Best time to view the faces is early morning or later afternoon – the light is softer. Bayon is not a good spot for sunsets as the jungle is too close and just blocks the light.
There are some excellent carvings on the lower levels of Bayon – on the outer walls.
Moving north from Bayon is the Baphuon, which has the honour of being the world’s largest jigsaw puzzle… Having been carefully dismantled for renovation, the Cambodian civil war disrupted reconstruction and the Khymer Rouge (in accordance with their practice) destroyed the reconstruction records = 300,000 rocks… All things considered they seem to have done a pretty good job.
The rear face of the Baphuon features a giant reclining Buddha image, about 60m long.
Moving on again from the Baphuon, a path leads you to the Terraces of the Leper King and the Terrace of Elephants, both feature very detailed carvings.
You are more or less guided along this route and your driver or coach will have moved over here to collect you, there are is a collection of refreshment places and souvenir stuff just by the car park.
Links to other Angkor pages