If you’re going to Siem Reap, Cambodia to view the temples at Angkor, it’s possible that you may be confused at which ones to see after setting foot at the beautiful Angkor Wat. Since we want you to make the most of your trip, let us tell you about another equally beautiful temple at this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The temple that you must put in your list of things-to-do here is Bayon. The 12th century temple could be found in Angkor Thom, a complex located north of the Angkor Wat. Just like other temples in this magnificent place this temple is Buddhist, but also has Hindu qualities and influences.
The Angkor Wat is amazing at sunrise—you may have already taken note of this, but Bayon is also a great place to watch the sun make its way out of the sky. Come to this temple early in the morning and see how the light shines wonderfully on the walls and mysterious towering faces.
There have been debates on whose face these structures actually copy. Some say that it is actually Jayavarman VII, and there are many who believe that the deity that you will see towering over everything else is Avalokitshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion. She’s the lord that stories describe as the one who listens and helps people attain nirvana.
Most of the bas reliefs in the outer gallery of the Bayon Temple focuses on people’s daily activities. This depiction of everyday life is unlike the other bas reliefs in other Hindu temples, for those mostly concentrate on stories of gods and goddesses. This impressive art form could be found all over the temple, and if you’re the kind who would really want to look closer, we suggest that you stay here for a while–go around the temple’s two long walls that stretch with works of art that are just too beautiful for words.
This is how they look now, so imagine how much more breathtaking they were during the time when Angkor flourished. Aside from depiction of people’s everyday life, the other scenes that you’ll find etched on the walls are the historical events that took place in the complex. Some of them are: battles, military processions, the victory of Jayavarman VII, and the war where Angkor was defeated. The best way to get and idea of the different stories here is by entering the temple’s eastern gate, and viewing the bas reliefs clockwise.
Entering the whole of the Angkor Archaeological Park travel guide may be a bit expensive (it’s US$20 for one day, US$40 for 3 days, and US$60 for a week), but we assure you that it will all be worth it. The Bayon Temple is just one of the great things to see here, and there are so much more to explore.
The stone faces, the bas reliefs, the mystical passageways, and the overall ruins of Bayon makes it a must-see in Angkor. There may be some constructions on some parts of it, so it’s possible for you to chance upon covered areas, but don’t let this ruin your visit—they really don’t do renovations in all areas in one go.
This is just one of the great temples that could be found in Angkor Cambodia. If you’ve already visited this place, do you have other temples to suggest? Unless you stay in Siem Reap for at least a month, you won’t be able to really see and experience each and every temple here. Go and share with us your suggestions of the must-see spots in Angkor; for we’d love to hear more about the temples in this historical place. Also, if you’re still in the process of planning on going here, what are the temples that you already have on your list?