Angkor Thom - There's so much more to Angkor than Angkor Wat



We have already talked about how little people who haven't visited Angkor actually know about Angkor. At least I had a very limited idea of the place. I had seen pictures, read some blogs, but I visualized Angkor as one single temple, which in my imagination was a hybrid of Angkor Wat, Bayon, and Ta Prohm. I wasn't aware that all these are three completely different temples, and was completely oblivious of the fact that there are countless other temples and dramatic structures besides these three.
Statues of gods along the road leading to Angkor Thom. The gate ahead the South Gate to the Historical Khmer City
We have already talked about how little people who haven't visited Angkor actually know about Angkor. At least I had a very limited idea of the place. I had seen pictures, read some blogs, but I visualized Angkor as one single temple, which in my imagination was a hybrid of Angkor Wat, Bayon, and Ta Prohm. I wasn't aware that all these are three completely different temples, and was completely oblivious of the fact that there are countless other temples and dramatic structures besides these three. 


The Historical City of Angkor Thom lies on the bank of the Siem Reap River, which is a tributary of Great Tonle Sap. The city was established in the late 12th century by King Jayavarman VII. Bayon is the most famous temple in this complex, but there are several interesting structures that make for some very interesting explorations in this city spanning 9 sq km, such as the Baphuon, Phimeanakas, and the temple of the Leper King. 
The Historical City of Angkor Thom lies on the bank of the Siem Reap River, which is a tributary of Great Tonle Sap. The city was established in the late 12th century by King Jayavarman VII. Bayon is the most famous temple in this complex, but there are several interesting structures that make for some very interesting explorations in this city spanning 9 sq km, such as the Baphuon, Phimeanakas, and the temple of the Leper King.  


Apart from these major structures, there are pieces of history splattered all over the landscape. The Southern entrance to Angkor Thom is itself quite marvellous. Along the length of the bridge, you would find faces of gods on one side and demons on the other. These gods and demons seem to be pulling the body of a giant seven-headed serpent. The imagery seems to be related to the samudramanthan in Indian scriptures.

Apart from these major structures, there are pieces of history splattered all over the landscape. The Southern entrance to Angkor Thom is itself quite marvellous. Along the length of the bridge, you would find faces of gods on one side and demons on the other. These gods and demons seem to be pulling the body of a giant seven-headed serpent. The imagery seems to be related to the samudramanthan in Indian scriptures. 

It is also possible to take an elephant ride from the South Gate to Bayon and also around Bayon. I am not sure how that feels, but when these elephants cross the bridge, it is a sight to see. If you search on Google, you will come across some beautiful compositions of these elephants roaming the streets of Angkor Thom. I guess it is a matter of planning your trip such that the timing matches. Elephant rides start at 8am from the South Gate.


It is also possible to take an elephant ride from the South Gate to Bayon and also around Bayon. I am not sure how that feels, but when these elephants cross the bridge, it is a sight to see. If you search on Google, you will come across some beautiful compositions of these elephants roaming the streets of Angkor Thom. I guess it is a matter of planning your trip such that the timing matches. Elephant rides start at 8am from the South Gate.

Close to every major temple / structure, you would find eateries that serve Khmer food. If you do not eat non-veg, you may not be able to eat here comfortably, and in that case it is better to carry something to eat because all these explorations are very tiring.

Close to every major temple / structure, you would find eateries that serve Khmer food. If you do not eat non-veg, you may not be able to eat here comfortably, and in that case it is better to carry something to eat because all these explorations are very tiring.

However, if you haven't been able to carry food and do not mind the seafood aroma, you can find some good, authentic Khmer food here. You can also order fries for kids and some very refreshing shakes

However, if you haven't been able to carry food and do not mind the seafood aroma, you can find some good, authentic Khmer food here. You can also order fries for kids and some very refreshing shakes

When you plan a trip to Siem Reap, do not underestimate the time you would need to explore the Angkor Complex. It is a vast area and if you are really interested in Khmer architecture, you should plan at least two days for this. Only then can you claim that you have scratched the surface.

When you plan a trip to Siem Reap, do not underestimate the time you would need to explore the Angkor Complex. It is a vast area and if you are really interested in Khmer architecture, you should plan at least two days for this. Only then can you claim that you have scratched the surface.  

If you liked this post and found it helpful, I would request you to follow these things when traveling -

  1. Manage your waste well and don’t litter
  2. Use dustbins. Tell us if you went to a place and found it hard to locate a dustbin.
  3. Avoid bottle waters in hills. Usually you get clean water in hills and water bottles create lot of mess in our ecosystem.
  4. Say big no to plastic and avoid those unhealthy snacks packed in plastic bags. Rather buy fruits.
  5. Don't play loud blaring music in forests of jungle camps. You are a guest in that ecosystem and disturbing the locals (humans and animals) is not polite

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