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Bayon: The Jewel of Angkor Thom

by Dean Wickham on December 18, 2013

in Asia, Cambodia, Destinations, Featured, Photo Essays

I can’t describe how truly huge the ancient city of Angkor Thom is in Cambodia. Its grand scale actual dwarfs the land size of Angkor Wat, and if you’ve visited that impressive temple, you’ll know that it’s not a small area – it takes a fair while just to walk to Angkor Wat from the entrance. Walking around Angkor Thom would be impossible unless you were some crazy marathon runner.

Thankfully, most of Angkor Thom has been taken over by the jungle, and the main sites of interest are located in the central area of this huge ancient city, so you don’t need to walk around the whole thing. At the very heart of the city stands the true jewel of Angkor Thom – the towering temple of Bayon.

Bayon is a popular temple with tourists, and rightly so. This early 13th century structure is characterized by its tall towers that are covered in carved stone faces. As we explored the ancient stone rooms and passageways of the lower level of the temple, we climbed up to the upper terrace where the huge stone faces stared back at us. It was quite a sight to behold.

I hope you enjoy this photo journey through Bayon: The Jewel of Angkor Thom.

Panorama of Bayon in Angkor Thom, Cambodia

Panoramic view from outside Bayon

Bayon in Angkor Thom, Cambodia

Looking up from a courtyard in the lower level

Ancient hallway at Bayon in Angkor Thom, Cambodia

Exploring the passageways of Bayon

Detailed stone carvings at Bayon in Angkor Thom, Cambodia

Detail carved into the stone walls

Stone carvings at Bayon in Angkor Thom, Cambodia

Intricate stone carvings

Tower at Bayon in Angkor Thom, Cambodia

One of the towers of Bayon

Ancient stone face at Bayon in Angkor Thom, Cambodia

Ancient faces carved into the top of a tower

Towers at Bayon in Angkor Thom, Cambodia

View of more towers from the upper terrace

Ancient window at Bayon in Angkor Thom, Cambodia

A window on the upper terrace

View to the lower levels at Bayon in Angkor Thom, Cambodia

View down to the lower level

Ancient stone face at Bayon in Angkor Thom, Cambodia

An ancient stone face stares back at me

Bayon in Angkor Thom, Cambodia

Bayon

If you want to enjoy Bayon without the crowds, try to get there as early as possible. The big tour groups tend to arrive after visiting Angkor Wat in the morning.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Cheryl Howard December 19, 2013 at 12:18 am

Such a glimpse into a whole new world for me. Have not been to Asia yet. Seeing photos like this makes me yearn to go …

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Dean Wickham December 29, 2013 at 4:45 pm

Southeast Asia is a must visit place, Cheryl. I think you’d love it :)

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Natasha von Geldern December 19, 2013 at 6:34 am

I just loved those faces – so intelligent and serene!

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Dean Wickham December 29, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Hi Natasha. It is quite something to have all of those faces looking at you while standing in the temple. They are huge and very dominating, though the serene look on the faces is also quite calming.

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