Angkor Thom Description:
Angkor Thom is the largest of the former capital cities of the Khmer Empire found in the Angkor Archeological Park.
Built by King Jayavarman VII of the Khmer Empire in the 12th century, Angkor Thom is a sprawling 4-square-mile city surrounded by a massive wall and broad moat. Wars with neighboring Kingdoms prompted Jayavarman VII to build Angkor Thom just a mile or so behind the previous capital of Angkor Wat to protect his kingdom from invasions. It would remain the capital until sometime in the 16th century when the entire area was abandoned for unclear reasons.
The city’s gates are frescoed with gigantic carvings depicting the Reamker, the Khmer Empire’s adaptation of the Hinu epic Ramayana. Bayon Temple is at the heart of the walled city, and all roads run directly towards the central structure. Bayon is the single Mahayana Buddhist shrine in the Angkor Archaeological Park.
Significantly larger than Angkor Wat, Bayon Temple is the Khmer Empire’s most massive representation of Mount Meru, where deities in the Hindu religion reside. It’s wide, blockish shape narrows towards the top giving it the profile of a pyramid. The galleries that ring the outside of the structure feature bas-relief carvings depicting historical events such as wars with neighboring kingdoms, daily life in the city, as well as temple ceremonies. The tower in the center of the compound once held the seated Buddha image that’s enshrined in a small pavilion at Angkor Wat.
Best Time to Visit Angkor Thom:
The months between December and May have the best weather to explore the massive ruins of Angkor Thom. Temperatures begin to rise quickly in June, and continue to spike into November as the rainy season sweeps the land. While these months are hotter, the extra precipitation that comes with the heat fills the moats and water tanks in the Angkor Archeological Park, making the ruins particularly beautiful during this period.
How to get to Angkor Thom:
Angkor Thom is about a mile from Angkor Wat in the Angkor Archaeological Park. Our guests typical reach the area in a private vehicle with their English speaking tour guide as part of their explorations of Cambodia.
Angkor Thom Highlights:
Angkor Thom is the most monumental of the Khmer Empire’s staggering structures. No tour of Cambodia would be complete without exploring massive remains of Angkor Thom.
Dress for warm weather, but wear a stout pair of shoes. The remains of the Khmer Empire spread for miles, and there is far more than can be seen in a single day.