Bayon Temple at Siem Reap Cambodia

Bayon Temple at Siem Reap which is located just North from the famous Angkor Wat is another amazing place you must visit when traveling in Cambodia. Missing this temple is like visiting Egypt and not seeing the Pyramids. Bayon was built around 1190 AD by King Jayavarman VII and is a Buddhist Temple with Hindu elements incorporated in it's design. The temple also represents the intersection of heaven and earth.

Journey in the Angkor Thom complex

Getting to Bayon Temple is usually after your visit to Angkor Wat and your tuk tuk driver or guide will take you there unless you have other plans. The journey there is relaxing with lots of trees in the Angkor Thom compound which is a 10 square kilometer city complex.

Bayon Temple - Face statue tower

On reaching Bayon, you will be amazed by the huge structures that resemble faces. These stone face statues or structures are of Bodhisattva Avalokitesharva. The funny thing about these statues are that they are all smiling. And there are to be 54 standing towers with these faces on four sides of each tower which are known as Face Towers but apparently only 37 are left. No, I did not count them.

Me posing with one of the Face Statues

For those into photography, you could lose yourself in this lovely place. Tons of photo moments here and I would recommend you explore your camera here. My plan is to go back here again to fully photograph Bayon, this time armed with more interesting lenses.

I would also advise on beating the crown when you come here. Usually the crowd would come here after the Angkor sunrise so if you have seen the sunrise on day one, then use day 2 to come straight here at 6.30am. That is what I did to avoid the massive crowds who will then make your photographing moments hell.

One tip is to try an photograph the sun rising and hitting the Face Statues which could look really nice. Unfortunately for me, I totally missed that shot as I was mesmerized with the way the temple was made and how the carvings to the faces were done.

One of the Large Buddha Statues at Bayon

Just outside Bayon there is another shrine with a large Buddha statue where the locals would be seen praying to this statue. From the picture you can see roughly how large it is.

One of the carved Asparas

The Asparas or celestial dancers are seen on carvings around the temple. Such detailed works are absolutely amazing for something this old. One last tip for the temple seekers, if you only have limited time and want to visit a few temples, I would recommend you take a single day pass and see [1] Angkor Wat, [2] Bayon and [3] Ta Phrom.

There are quite a number of temples in the Angkor Thom district and some are even located quite far so choose your temples for those with limited time there.

For some food and drinks, head just north of Bayon and you will see some local stalls by the road selling food, drinks and souvenirs. Anyway, throughout the complex there are various places that sell souvenirs and f&b. Again, get your souvenir t-shirts around here as you may not see them being sold elsewhere unless things have changed much in the last 1 year.

Terrace of the Elephants

Terrace f the Elephants - Wall carvings

The Terrace of the Elephants or Elephant Terrace is one of those places worth visiting and photographing. This terrace was apparently used by the King of Angkor back then as a platform to view his victorious army returning or even for public ceremonies. Unfortunately my memory card was maxed out when I got here so I managed to take a couple of pictures only.

Stone Elephants

According to text, the Elephant Terrace was connected to the Palace of Phimeanakas of which only a few ruins remain. The original structures were made mostly from wood and other organic materials which did not last. So, only the rock sculptures remain. Fantastic place and you can spend about 20 minutes here before moving to the next temple.

Some Bayon Temple Tips:
  • To get to Bayon or Elephant Terrace, your tuk tuk guide will bring you here as it is in the Angkor Thom complex.
  • The Angkor Day Pass or 3 Days pass covers all temples in the Angkor Thom complex so you need not pay any more money.
  • You only spend for the daily Tuk Tuk service or food, drinks or souvenirs here.
  • Walking around thee temples can be hot and humid so carry water and wear comfortable clothing and shoes.
Overall, I was quite impressed with my visit here as I never expected to see so much heritage in just one place. Don't forget to check out the other places here like Ta Prohm Temple, Angkor Wat and the famous Tonle Sap Lake. That being said, I still have to plan another trip to visit the other temples apart from Bayon Temple at Siem Reap, Cambodia.