It is hard to imagine any building bigger or more beautiful than Angkor Wat, but in Angkor Thom (lit. Great City) the sum of the parts adds up to a greater whole. Set over 10 sq km, the aptly named last great capital of the Khmer empire took monumental to a whole new level.

Centred on Bayon, the surreal state temple of Jayavarman VII, Angkor Thom is enclosed by a formidable jayagiri (square wall) 8m high and 13km in length and encircled by a 100m-wide jayasindhu (moat) that would have stopped all but the hardiest invaders in their tracks. This architectural layout is an expression of Mt Meru surrounded by the oceans.

In the centre of the walled enclosure are the city’s most important monuments, including Bayon, Baphuon, the Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas and the Terrace of Elephants. Visitors should set aside a half-day to explore Angkor Thom in depth.

What does Angkor Thom mean?

Angkor Thom is the transform name from another alternative name of Nokor Thom, which is believed to be the correct one, due to neglect of calling it in incorrect pronunciation. The word Nokor is literally derived from Sanskrit word of Nagara, which means City, combining with Khmer word Thom, which means Big or Great so as to form Nokor Thom then being altered to current name of Angkor Thom.

Angkor Thom History

Angkor Thom was established as the capital of Jayavarman VII's empire and was the centre of his massive building program. One inscription found in the city refers to Jayavarman as the groom and the city as his bride.

Angkor Thom seems not to be the first Khmer capital on the site, however. Yasodharapura, dating from three centuries earlier, was centred slightly further northwest, and Angkor Thom overlapped parts of it. The most notable earlier temples within the city are the former state temple of Baphuon, and Phimeanakas, which was incorporated into the Royal Palace. The Khmers did not draw any clear distinctions between Angkor Thom and Yashodharapura: even in the fourteenth century an inscription used the earlier name. The name of Angkor Thom—great city—was in use from the 16th century.

The last temple known to have been constructed in Angkor Thom was Mangalartha, which was dedicated in 1295. Thereafter the existing structures continued to be modified from time to time, but any new creations were in perishable materials and have not survived.

The Ayutthaya Kingdom, led by King Borommarachathirat II, sacked Angkor Thom, forcing the Khmers under Ponhea Yat to relocate their capital southeast to Phnom Penh.

Angkor Thom was abandoned some time prior to 1609, when an early western visitor wrote of an uninhabited city, "as fantastic as the Atlantis of Plato". It is believed to have sustained a population of 80,000–150,000 people.


Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Khmer Empire, was a fortified city enclosing residence of priest, officials of the palace and military, as well as buildings for administering the kingdom.

These structures were built of wood and have perished but the remaining stone monuments testify that Angkor Thom was indeed a "Great City" as its name implies. Temples inside the walls of the city described in this article are Bayon, Phimeanakas, Baphuon, Terrace of the Elephants, Terrace of the Leper King, Prah Palilay, Tep Pranam and Prasat Suor Prat.

The Royal Palace situated within the city of Angkor Thom is of an earlier date and belonged to kings of the tenth and first half of the tenth and first half of the eleventh centuries. Although the foundations and an enclosing wall around the palace with entry towers have been identified, little evidence remains of the layout of the buildings inside the enclosure. This absence of archaeological evidence of the royal buildings suggests that they were constructed of wood and have perished.

The French ascertained a general plan of the Royal Palace. It included the temple-mountain of Phimeanakas and surrounding pools together with residences and buildings for administering the capital, which were probably at the back of the enclosure. Jayavarman VII reconstructed the original site of the Royal Palace Palace to erect the city of Angkor Thom, which was centered on the temple of Bayon and surrounded by a wall.

Zhou Daguan the Chinese emissary, who provided the only first-hand account o f the Khmer, described the splendor of Angkor Thom.

At the center of the Kingdom rises a Golden tower Bayon flanked by more than twenty lesser towers and several hundred stone chambers. On the eastern side is a golden bridge guarded by two lions of gold, one on each side, with eight golden Buddhas spaced along the stone chambers. North of the Golden Tower of Bronze [Baphuon], higher even than the Golden tower. a truly astonishing spectacle.

With more than ten chambers at its base. A quarter of a mile further north is the residence of the King rising above his private apartments is another tower of gold, These are the monuments which have caused merchants from overseas to speak so often of "Cambodia the rich and noble "

Symbolically, Angkor Thom is a microcosm of the universe, divided into four parts by the main axes. The temple of the Bayon is situated at the exact center of the axes and stands as the symbolical link between heaven and earth. The wall enclosing the city of Angkor Thom represents the stonewall around the universe and the mountain ranges around Meru. The surrounding moat (now dry) symbolizes the cosmic ocean.

Architectural design

The city of Angkor Thom is surrounded by a wall, 8m high and 12km long, with five gates (two in the eastern wall). The entrances to some of the gates are lined with statues of gods and demons holding nagas, and the gates themselves are adorned with the face of Avalokiteshvara, the goddess of compassion (although it’s thought they also strangely resemble King Jayavarman VII).

The wall itself is circled by a 100m wide moat. Bayon is in the center of this area, with Baphuon slightly to the west, and some of the smaller temples further north. The stunningly intricate Terrace of Elephants and Terrace of the Leper King are to the north of Bayon.

The site of Angkor Thom

The city lies on the west bank of the Siem Reap River, a tributary of Tonle Sap, about a quarter of a mile from the river. The south gate of Angkor Thom is 7.2 km north of Siem Reap, and 1.7 km north of the entrance to Angkor Wat. The walls, 8 m high and flanked by a moat, are each 3 km long, enclosing an area of 9 km². The walls are of laterite buttressed by earth, with a parapet on the top.

There are gates at each of the cardinal points, from which roads lead to the Bayon at the centre of the city. As the Bayon itself has no wall or moat of its own, those of the city are interpreted by archaeologists as representing the mountains and oceans surrounding the Bayon's Mount Meru.

Another gate—the Victory Gate—is 500 m north of the east gate; the Victory Way runs parallel to the east road to the Victory Square and the Royal Palace north of the Bayon. It is around 30 minutes from central Siem Reap.

The faces on the 23 m towers at the city gates, which are later additions to the main structure, take after those of the Bayon and pose the same problems of interpretation. They may represent the king himself, the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, guardians of the empire's cardinal points, or some combination of these.

A causeway spans the moat in front of each tower: these have a row of devas on the left and asuras on the right, each row holding a naga in the attitude of a tug-of-war. This appears to be a reference to the myth, popular in Angkor, of the Churning of the Sea of Milk.

The temple-mountain of the Bayon, or perhaps the gate itself, would then be the pivot around which the churning takes place. The nagas may also represent the transition from the world of men to the world of the gods (the Bayon), or be guardian figures. The gateways themselves are 3.5 by 7 m, and would originally have been closed with wooden doors.

The south gate is now by far the most often visited, as it is the main entrance to the city for tourists. At each corner of the city is a Prasat Chrung—corner shrine—built of sandstone and dedicated to Avalokiteshvara. These are cruciform with a central tower and orientated towards the east.

Within the city was a system of canals, through which water flowed from the northeast to the southwest. The bulk of the land enclosed by the walls would have been occupied by the secular buildings of the city, of which nothing remains. This area is now covered by forest.

Most of the great Angkor ruins have vast displays of bas-relief depicting the various gods, goddesses, and other-worldly beings from the mythological stories and epic poems of ancient Hinduism (modified by centuries of Buddhism). Mingled with these images are actual known animals, like elephants, snakes, fish, and monkeys, in addition to dragon-like creatures that look like the stylized, elongated serpents (with feet and claws) found in Chinese art.

But among the ruins of Ta Prohm, near a huge stone entrance, one can see that the "roundels on pilasters on the south side of the west entrance are unusual in design."

What one sees are roundels depicting various common animals—pigs, monkeys, water buffaloes, roosters and snakes. There are no mythological figures among the roundels, so one can reasonably conclude that these figures depict the animals that were commonly seen by the ancient Khmer people in the twelfth century.

What to see at Angkor Thom?

Bayon Temple

Perhaps the spookiest or the most mesmerizing of the Angkor temples, the center piece of Angkor Thom – Bayon – looks like nothing much from a distance. However, once inside, you realize that Bayon is constructed around 54 towers, with 216 smiling faces of Avalokiteshvara peering down at you. Bayon is a fantastic temple to explore – with mazes of tunnels, blocked doorways and tumble-down rocks making it a perfect place to get lost in the mysteries of Angkor.

Bayon is 45m high and has three levels linked by stairs and small yards. The galleries on the first and second level have historical and religious bas-reliefs. The third level has a central circular tower, which is unique in Khmer Architecture.

Here is everything about Bayon Temple


Baphuon is located 200m west of Bayon and was marked as the center of the city when the whole of Angkor Thom was fully complete. A pyramidal representation of Mount Meru, at the time, it was probably one of the most impressive of the Angkor temples. A 200m elevated walkway leads to the temple which has a central tower 43m high.

Here is everything about Baphuon Temple

Terrace of the Elephants

The Elephants terrace was built by King Jayavarman VII at the end of the 12th century. The terrace stretches out over a length of more than 300 meters from the Baphuon in the South to the Leper King terrace to the North. The terrace is named for the sculptures in high relief of elephants and their mahouts. At several sections large elephant heads protrude out from the wall, their very long trunks forming pillars extending to the ground, similar to those of the gates of Angkor Thom.

The terrace was used as an audience hall and for public ceremonies. According to the accounts of Chinese diplomat Zhou Daguan the King appeared daily on the Elephants terrace to listen to the complaints and problems of the citizens of his Kingdom. The parade grounds in front of the terrace were used as the scene for several festivals, games, processions and parades of the Khmer army watched by the King from the Elephants terrace.

The Elephants terrace consists of inner and outer sections. The inner sections were built first and later became buried under the soil during construction of the outer sections. The well preserved inner walls contain numerous carvings of Apsaras, warriors and animals like multi headed horses. The Northern end of the outside walls contains carvings of sports, such as Polo games, wrestlers and chariot racing. The Central section of the terrace contains carvings of Garudas, Kinnarees and elephants engaged in a hunt, as well as depictions of the Buddha.

Terrace of the Leper King

The Leper King terrace is named after the “Leper King” statue that was found here. The terrace was built by Jayavarman VII in the late 12th century, directly North of the Elephants terrace.

The Leper King terrace is believed to be built as a representation of Mount Meru, the center of the universe in Buddhist and Hindu cosmology. The 25 meter long terrace is completely covered with sculptings in high relief. Long rows of seated finely carved figures, mainly of multi headed Naga snakes, armed guardians, Garudas and female celestial beings decorate the walls.

The terrace consists of inner and outer walls. The inner walls were built first and became buried under the soil when the outer walls were constructed. The inner walls contain well preserved sculptings of multi headed Naga serpents, demons, princes and princesses. The outer walls contain carvings like a Palace scene with a sword swallower and Shiva holding a trident.

The “Leper King” statue was found on top of the terrace. According to local belief, the statue was a depiction of King Yasovarman I, who was also known as the Leper King as he suffered from leprosy. It is now assumed that the statue might represent Yama, the God of death. The statue now sitting atop the Leper King terrace is a copy, the original is kept in a museum in Pnomh Penh. It is surrounded by three guardian figures armed with a club.

Preah Palilay

One of the loveliest temples in the Angkor Thom complex is Preah Paliliay in the north-west corner of the site. Quiet and atmospheric, it provides some great photo opportunities with huge trees looming over its structure.

Here is more detail about Preah Palilay


Phimeanakas is more interesting historically than visually. It used to house a Royal Palace, where bathing would take place (the pools are still apparent) but very little remains. However, a climb up its pyramidal structure gives nice views of the surrounding area.

Here is everything about Phimeanakas

Entrance gates to the city

The city is surrounded by high defensive walls, 3 kilometers long on each side. To the inside of the wall is an earth embankment, which allowed the Khmer good views of approaching enemy armies.

Access to the city was through five gopura gates, one at the center of each wall, an extra one (the Victory Gate) on the road from the Royal Palace to the East Baray. The gates were built between the end of the 12th century and early 13th century. The gopuras consist of a central tower, 23 meters in height, flanked by two smaller towers.

South Gate of Angkor Thom

The south gate of Angkor Thom is the best preserved. It is approached from outside via a causeway that extends about fifty meters across a moat. On each side of the causeway are railings fashioned with 54 stone figures engaged in the performance of a famous Hindu story: the myth of the Churning of the Ocean. On the left side of the moat, 54 'devas' (guardian gods) pull the head of the snake 'Shesha' while on the right side 54 'asuras' (demon gods) pull the snake's tail in the opposite direction. In this myth, the body of the snake is wrapped around the central mountain—Mt. Meru—perhaps corresponding here to the Bayon temple at the center of the site. In any case, the myth relates that as the Devas pulled the snake in one direction and the gods pushed in the other, the ocean began to churn and precipitate the elements. By alternating back and forth, the ocean was 'milked', forming the earth and the cosmos anew.

The central tower of the stone gate is capped by three face-towers that face the four directions (the central tower faces both out and in). Below them at the base of the gate are two sets of elephant statues that flank the entrance on both sides. Sitting on each elephant is a figure of the god Indra carrying his usual weapon, the vadra (a lightning bolt). The gate itself is shaped like an upside-down 'U' and is corbelled at the top (instead of arches, the builders of Angkor preferred to use corbelling to span distances). It is still possible to see where wooden doors once fitted to the gate through openings in the stone.

There is some debate as to the functionality of Angkor Thom as a whole. If it was a wall intended for defense, it was rather poorly designed, since there is nowhere along the wall for defenders to take refuge from incoming fire or shoot back from a shielded location. This is surprising since Angkor had been sacked in 1177 by Champa invaders, and one can readily imagine that its new King, Jayavarman VII would have been concerned with defense should the invaders return.

If not intended for defense, the walls may simply have been an additional enclosure around the Bayon temple, more for ceremony than for practical use. As in Southern India, the Angkor rulers built temples surrounded by walls, but usually not with walls as thick and grand as those of Angkor Thom.

East Gate of Angkor Thom

Jayavarman VII's 'Great City' (the meaning of Angkor Thom) enclosed an area of about 9 square kilometers and could only be entered through five gates. On the north, south, and west, only one gate provided access, whereas the east side enjoyed one gate leading to the royal palace (the so-called Victory Gate) and another gate to the south now known as the Gate of the Dead. Tradition holds that the name derives from the custom of the gate only being used when transporting a king to his funeral, but there is no historical evidence for this. More likely the gate simply served as the east entrance to Angkor Thom with the Victory Gate providing direct entry to the Royal Palace and surrounding environs.

The east gate of Angkor Thom was used as a location in Tomb Raider, where the bad guys broke into the ‘tomb’ by pulling down a giant polystyrene apsara. This is the most atmospheric of Angkor Thom's gates as there is no road here, just a jungle path leading to Chau Say Tevoda.

The architecture of the gate is very similar, if not identical, to that of the other gates. 

The giant faces on the towers

The towers, known as “face towers” similar to those at the Bayon, contain four very large heads on top of the gates facing each of the four cardinal directions. They are believed to represent Lokeshvara, the Bodhisattva of compassion. The central tower contains 2 faces looking in opposite directions; each of the smaller towers have 1 face each looking in one of the remaining two directions.

A great deal of knowledge about the history and daily life in Angkor was gained from the accounts of Zhou Daguan, a Chinese diplomat who lived in Angkor for a year until July 1297. According to him, there was a fifth head on the gopura’s top at the time, of which nothing remains today.

On the ground level of the gates on either sides of the entrance is a large sculpture of Airavata, the three headed mythological elephant with the God Indra sitting on his back. The opening of the gates are 7 meters high by 3½ meters wide in which there were originally massive wooden doors that were closed at night. Most visitors to Angkor Thom use the well preserved South gate, that was restored in the 1950’s.

Causeways crossing the moat

Crossing the moat to each of the city’s five gates is a causeway lined on either sides by stone figures holding a huge snake. The figures represent 54 Devas (a Hindu deity) on one side, 54 Asuras (demons battling the Devas) on the other side pulling a giant snake. This scene is associated with the storey of “The Churning of the Ocean of Milk”, an ancient Hindu story. The story tells that the ocean was churned by Devas and Asuras to extract from it the nectar of immortality. The snake Vasuki (King of the Nagas) served as the rope, Mount Mandara (probably represented by the Bayon temple) was used as the churning pole.

Prasat Chrung

At each of the four corners of the walls surrounding Angkor Thom is a small temple, named Prasat Chrung. The prasats can be reached by walking on the earth embankment inside the walls, starting from one of the entrance gates. The Prasat Chrung were built between the end of the 12th century and early 13th century, and were dedicated to the Bodhisattva Lokeshvara. The temples, decorated with sculpted Devatas, have a cruciform floor plan and a terrace next to it with a small pavilion. All four temples contained a stele, praising King Jayavarman VII. The four Prasat Chrung are in various states of repair.

Prasat Suor Prat

The Prasat Suor Prat are a row of 12 towers, 6 on either side of the road leading from the Royal Palace to the Victory gate. The towers are found East of the Royal terraces, overlooking the parade grounds to the West.

Prasat Suor Prat literally translates to “towers of the rope dancers”. The purpose of the towers is not known. Their design and unusual North - South orientation, instead of the usual orientation either towards East or West, suggests that the towers were not built as sanctuaries.

Here is more detail about Prasat Suor Prat

Preah Pithu Group

To the North East of the Royal Palace is a group of five temple, known as the Preah Pithu Group. The temples found in a peaceful forest setting are mostly in a ruined state. No inscribed steles were found in any of the monuments with information about the founding of the temples, but it is assumed that they were built in the 13th century. Four of the temples are Hindu monuments, the largest one is a Buddhist temple, which was left unfinished.

Preparing your visit to Angkor Thom

Temple Facts

  • Date: Late 12th century
  • Religion: Buddhism
  • Built By: Jayavarman VII
  • Dedicated To: Multiple
  • Style: Multiple
  • Length of Visit: 4 Hours - 1 Day
  • Temple Pass: Required (Included in Angkor Wat Pass)

Best time to visit Angkor Thom

The most popular time to visit Angkor Thom is during the dry season, which typically runs from November through March. These days are cool and dry, but this is also the most popular time to visit, which means crowds. Even though these months are technically "winter," temperatures are still quite warm.


Angkor Thom is just a short tuk tuk ride away from Angkor Wat. Most people enter the ancient city via the East Gate or the South Gate.

Most tours of Angkor Wat also include many of the temples inside Angkor Thom city including Bayon, Baphuon, Phimeanakas, the Terrace of the Leper King, the Terrace of the Elephants, and the Royal Palace.

Getting There

+ From Siem Reap

If you are heading from town you should head north out on Charles de Gaulle. Continue heading north until you reach the moat of Angkor Wat. Follow the road around Angkor Wat and keep heading straight and you will reach the South Gate of Angkor Thom.

+ From Ta Prohm

Turn right out of Ta Prohm and follow the road straight. There will be a few turns before you reach the Victory Gate.

You can see the location of Angkor Thom on the below Google Maps for your reference.

Angkor Thom Dress Code

As the temples of Angkor represent a sacred religious site to the Khmer people, visitors are asked to dress modestly.

Appropriate attire when visiting temples in Angkor Thom is long pants (covering the knee) and shirts that cover shoulders. Skirts, small shorts, tank tops, and other items of revealing clothing are not allowed within temple grounds. Visitors can and are frequently turned away from temples when wearing revealing clothing.

It is not possible to visit the highest level of Angkor Thom without upper arms covered and shorts to the knees. Local authorities have visitor 'code of conduct' guidelines and a video to encourage appropriate dress, as well as reminding tourists not to touch, sit or climb on the ancient structures, to pay attention to restricted areas, and to be respectful of monks.


There are no hotels allowed in the Angkor Archaeological Park. As the park is only a few kilometres away from the town, it’s best advised to find somewhere in Siem Reap town.

If you’re looking to get away from the town, you may find some small homestays and other resorts located outside of Siem Reap.

Siem Reap has a range of accommodation options available including guest houses, hostels, homestays, resorts, and big hotels. You’ll definitely find something within your taste and budget.

Here is our Siem Reap travel guide for your reference

Why Visit Angkor Thom?

If you’re coming to see the temples in Siem Reap, then it’s highly likely that you’ll find yourself in Angkor Thom at one point or another. Most of the popular and well-restored temples are located in the ancient city. The second most popular temple after Angkor Wat is Bayon temple and it’s located right in the centre of Angkor Thom.

Angkor Thom Tour

Most of the travelers will visit Angkor Thom within their Angkor Wat tours. In case, you prefer to having an in-depth exploration of the temple, follow the below recommended itinerary.

Tour Description

This tour will start after breakfast around 8 o’clock in the morning. We’ll start by heading out to the Angkor Ticket Office before going to the South Gate of Angkor Thom. Here you’ll enter the ancient city along a causeway which is flanked by smiling statues of gods on the left side and grimacing demons on the right. There are 54 statues on each side.

We’ll get out to explore the entrance. Here you’ll see the first face of Angkor smiling down on you and this is a perfect opportunity to get some photos. The ornate entrance, long causeway and surrounding moat makes the area very photogenic.

When we get inside Angkor Thom, we’ll head to Bayon temple which sits exactly in the middle of the ancient city. At Bayon, you’ll see more than 200 faces smiling down on you from nearly 50 towers. This popular temple was was at the centre of the entire Khmer empire.

You’ll continue the tour to see the two terraces – the Elephant Terrace and the Leper King Terrace. We will then walk to visit Baphuon temple and Phimeanakas. These two temples are also favourites for many people who visit the park. To finish off the morning, we will visit Preah Palilay, Preah Pithu Group and Prasat Suor Prat.

We’ll stop for lunch inside Angkor Thom. There are many local restaurants or food stalls in the area.

In the afternoon, we’ll go to spend a few hours exploring the vast grounds of Angkor Wat temple. Your guide will explain the history and structure as we walk around the grounds. If you still have any energy left, we can also go to see the famous Ta Prohm temple. Also known as the the “Tomb Raider” temple, you’ll instantly recognise it from the famous Lara Croft movies.

Places to Visit

Angkor Thom – South Gate, Bayon, Baphuon, Phimeanakas, Terrace of the Elephants, Terrace of the Leper King, Preah Palilay, Preah Pithu Group, Prasat Suor Prat, Angkor Wat, and optional Ta Prohm.

Why Book This Tour?

The Angkor Thom Tour is perfect for visitors who want to spend the day exploring one of the greatest ancient cities ever built. You will not venture far from the town and you’ll be able to spend a good amount of time at each temple on the itinerary.

This is a good tour for people who only have a short time to visit Siem Reap. You can explore all the of the most popular temples in the park at a leisurely pace.

Angkor Thom Photos

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My name is Jolie, I am a Vietnamese girl growing up in the countryside of Hai Duong, northern Vietnam. Since a little girl, I was always dreaming of exploring the far-away lands, the unseen beauty spots of the world. My dream has been growing bigger and bigger day after day, and I do not miss a chance to make it real. After graduating from the univesity of language in Hanoi, I started the exploration with a travel agency and learning more about travel, especially responsible travel. I love experiencing the different cultures of the different lands and sharing my dream with the whole world. Hope that you love it too!


Taking a cruise on the fascinating Mekong River offers a unique and memorable travel experience. The Mekong River, one of the longest rivers in Asia, flows through several countries, including China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Each destination along the river offers its own distinct cultural, historical, and natural attractions. In this article, we will go over what you can expect when cruising the Mekong River. 


Preah Vihear Temple (Prasat Preah Vihear) is an ancient Hindu temple built during the period of the Khmer Empire, that is situated atop a 525-metre (1,722 ft) cliff in the Dângrêk Mountains, in the Preah Vihear province, Cambodia. In 1962, following a lengthy dispute between Cambodia and Thailand over ownership, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague ruled that the temple is in Cambodia.

Affording a view for many kilometers across a plain, Prasat Preah Vihear has the most spectacular setting of all the temples built during the six-century-long Khmer Empire. As a key edifice of the empire's spiritual life, it was supported and modified by successive kings and so bears elements of several architectural styles.

Preah Vihear is unusual among Khmer temples in being constructed along a long north–south axis, rather than having the conventional rectangular plan with orientation toward the east. The temple gives its name to Cambodia's Preah Vihear province, in which it is now located, as well as the Khao Phra Wihan National Park which borders it in Thailand's Sisaket province, though it is no longer accessible from Thailand.

On July 7, 2008, Preah Vihear was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Deep in the forests of Cambodia’s Siem Reap province, the elegant spires of an ancient stone city soar skyward above the sprawling complex of Angkor Archaeological Park.

The Khmer Empire’s various capitals thrived here from the 9th to 15th centuries, while their rulers presided over an empire that stretched from Myanmar (Burma) to Vietnam. Including forested areas and newly discovered “suburbs” Angkor covers more than 400 square kilometers.

Though just one of hundreds of surviving temples and structures, the massive Angkor Wat is the most famed of all Cambodia’s temples - it appears on the nation’s flag - and it is revered for good reason. The 12th century “temple-mountain” was built as a spiritual home for the Hindu god Vishnu. The temple is an architectural triumph laden with artistic treasures like the bas-relief galleries that line many walls and tell enduring tales of Cambodian history and legend.

In other parts of Angkor such art depicts scenes of daily life - offering scholars a precious window into the past.

Reading the below epic guide for Angkor Archaeological Park, you will have all the information you need from its history, maps, best time to visit and so on to have the best out of your Angkor tours


Banteay Kdei Temple (Prasat Banteay Kdei), meaning "A Citadel of Chambers", also known as "Citadel of Monks' cells", is a Buddhist temple in Angkor, Cambodia. It is located southeast of Ta Prohm and east of Angkor Thom. 

Built in the mid-12th to early 13th centuries AD during the reign of Jayavarman VII (who was posthumously given the title "Maha paramasangata pada"), it is in the Bayon architectural style, similar in plan to Ta Prohm and Preah Khan, but less complex and smaller. Its structures are contained within two successive enclosure walls and consist of two concentric galleries from which emerge towers, preceded to the east by a cloister.

This Buddhist monastic complex is currently dilapidated due to faulty construction and poor quality of sandstone used in its buildings and is now undergoing renovation. Banteay Kdei had been occupied by monks at various intervals over the centuries till 1960s.


Just east of Angkor Thom’s Victory Gate is Chau Say Tevoda. It was probably built during the second quarter of the 12th century, under the reign of Suryavarman II, and dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu. It has been renovated by the Chinese to bring it up to the condition of its twin temple, Thommanon.


Thommanon Temple is a Hindu temple site that's covered in intricate carvings and surrounded by forests in Angkor. The temple is in relatively excellent condition, thanks to extensive restoration work in the 1960s.

It was constructed about the same time as Angkor Wat. The style of architecture is quite evident in the towers and carvings, which are in very good condition. During the rainy season, the dampened sandstone offers great photo opportunities.

Part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the complex dates back between the 11th and 12th centuries. It is about 600 metres east of the Victory Gate of Angkor Thom, just opposite Chau Say Tevoda. Even before restoration, Thommanon was in much a better condition than Chau Say Tevoda. Unlike the latter, which was built using wooden beams enclosed in stone, Thommanon Temple's entire structure was made out of stone. 


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Reveal off-the-beatentrack routes, least explored destinations, and unknown tribe groups

Trek & Hike
bee-white Trek & Hike

Explore the least visited destinations and unknown experience on foot

Family Vacation
bee-white Family Vacation

The combination of fun and educational activities

white-icon About 1 week
yellow-icon About 1 week
white-icon About 2 weeks
yellow-icon About 2 weeks
white-icon About 3 weeks
yellow-icon About 3 weeks
white-icon About 4 weeks
yellow-icon About 4 weeks
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Either are you wondering about best time to visit, visa policy, or how to get the cheapest flight, we have your back!
WHAT MORE? Choose the country you plan to visit, then search for your nationality below to see our special travel tips & advice for your country. CONTACT US if you cannot find yours.

Best Time to Visit
bee-white Best Time to Visit
Tourist Visa Policy
bee-white Tourist Visa Policy
Budget & Currency
bee-white Budget & Currency
Getting Flight There
bee-white Getting Flight There
Getting Around
bee-white Getting Around
bee-white Vaccinations
Local Etiquette
bee-white Local Etiquette
Safety & Precautions
bee-white Safety & Precautions
Tipping Customs
bee-white Tipping Customs
Useful addresses
bee-white Useful addresses
Internet & Phone
bee-white Internet & Phone
Buying & Bargaining
bee-white Buying & Bargaining
Packing List
bee-white Packing List
Travel Insurance
bee-white Travel Insurance
bee-white Vietnam
A land of staggering natural beauty and cultural complexities, of dynamic megacities and hill-tribe villages, Vietnam is both exotic and compelling.
bee-white Thailand
Friendly and food-obsessed, hedonistic and historic, cultured and curious, Thailand tempts visitors with a smile as golden as the country's glittering temples and tropical beaches.
bee-white Myanmar
It's a new era for this extraordinary and complex land, where the landscape is scattered with gilded pagodas and the traditional ways of Asia endure.
bee-white Laos
Vivid nature, voluptuous landscapes and a vibrant culture collide with a painful past and optimistic future to make Laos an enigmatic experience for the adventurous.
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