Angkor Thum Things to Do

  • Things to Do
    by blueskyjohn
  • Things to Do
    by blueskyjohn
  • Things to Do
    by blueskyjohn

Most Recent Things to Do in Angkor Thum

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    Victory Gate

    by blueskyjohn Updated Oct 3, 2014

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    The Victory Gate is an entrance and exit on the east side of Angkor Thom. I passed through near the end of the trip when I wanted to visit a few sites a second time. The photos were taken around 8:00am. I was lucky no one was around. Most enter Angkor Thom from the south and spend the morning at Bayon. It is worth the effort to take a different route into Angkor Thom so you enter through the Victory Gate early in the morning. This is easy if you hire a Tuk Tuk. A tour operator may have their own agenda that they will not deviate from.

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    The North Gate of Angkor Thom

    by blueskyjohn Updated Oct 3, 2014

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    This happens to be a quieter gate to check out as opposed to the Victory Gate or the South Gate. Most people pass through the North Gate when doing the "Large" circle tour.. Located at the north end of Angkor Thom and before you arrive at Preah Khan.

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    Preah Pithu Group

    by blueskyjohn Updated Oct 3, 2014

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    This is an interesting area that tends to see less crowds. The temples are smaller and they are sporadically constructed in the forest with really no set pattern. All the temples are in well shaded areas. This is great to get out of the sun. But as I mentioned there is no pattern of where the temples are located. Dirt trails run between different temples and into the forest.

    I visited a few temples in this group but wanted to return to explore more. This is the type of place I prefer because no one else was around. This is much appreciated after experiences the crowds at Bayon and Angkor Wat.

    If you rent a mountain bike, this is a good place to explore a little faster. There is so much walking at the other temples it is difficult to walk these trails not knowing if they are leading to something cool or just wondering through the forest.

    An area I will definitely return to explore. But next time with a mountain bike.

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    Prasat Suor Prat

    by blueskyjohn Updated Oct 3, 2014

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    Directly across from the Terrace of the Elephants and Terrace of the Leper King is a large field, currently serving as an unofficial parking area for the multitude of mini buses filled with tourist. But lined from north to south is 12 towers. Dividing the 12 towers is the road to the Victory Gate with 6 on either side. The two closet to the road on each side are set back more than the others.

    It is said that the towers were used to stretch rope between and performances were done to entertain the King. Other reports state the towers were used to settle disputes. The true use may never be known.

    The towers or in various stages of disrepair. Most are in good shape. Photographs are difficult here when trying to get a shot from the Terraces. The foreground is lined with min buses. Still a worthwhile walk past these towers.

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    Sras Srei - the Royal Pond

    by blueskyjohn Updated Oct 3, 2014

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    At the northern part of the Royal Palace area there are two ponds. It is s very tranquil setting. I was surprised that no one was here. I guess it makes sense as there is not much to see. These are man made ponds. For a quiet little spot in the shade, this is a nice place to sit and rest from the heat and walking.

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    The Royal Palace

    by blueskyjohn Updated Oct 3, 2014

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    The Royal Palace of today does not exist. It is know the Royal Palace was within a walled area north of Baphuon Temple and south of Preah Palilay Temple. Within the wall known as the Royal Palace area is Phimeanakas Temple and the Royal Pond. The exact location of the Palace is unknown. People often mistaken Phimeanakas as the palace but it is not.

    The main entrance is from a road that leads from the Victory Gate in the east. I set of stairs ascend onto the Terrace of the Elephants then back down into another gate.

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    Terrace of the Elephants

    by blueskyjohn Updated Oct 3, 2014

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    The Elephant Terrace is part of the Royal Palace complex serving as part of the east wall. It is said that this is where the King would watch parades of his army. The front wall of the terrace and beautifully carved elephants. There are also three dimensional versions with the trunks of the elephants almost acting as a decorative column.

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    Terrace of the Leper King

    by blueskyjohn Updated Oct 3, 2014

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    North of the Royal Palace Area and directly on the is the Terrace of the Leper King. The terrace is north and connected to Terrace of the Elephants. The Leper King terrace actually has two walls with a path way winding through. There are many carved Buddhas and Apsara throughout. On top is a seated Buddha statue, the Leper King. This is not the original. The original is in Phnom Penh. Take the time to walk through the two walls and observe the beautiful carvings.

    There are several theories why this is called Terrace of the Leper King. I did research before my visit and could not find a story that was consistent. Some say it is because the figure had moss and was discolored when found. Some say it was named after Yasovarmin, an Angkor King. His name was found carved at the base and was said to have leprosy.

    There are many people here. Across the street for the terrace is the parking area for the Mini-buses.

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    Preah Palilay Temple

    by blueskyjohn Updated Oct 3, 2014

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    While this is a small temple, I really enjoyed checking it out for several reasons. It is set back in the forest a bit and because of this gets less visitors. I'm all about seeing less visitors. The walk back is peaceful and shaded. I didn't see anyone else around. There is a short stone walkway that approaches the temple. A modern temple has been erected with a Buddha and clear evidence there is ongoing worship at the site.

    Up to this point I had not seen fully the effects of the jungle encroaching and growing on the ruins. Preah Palilay was the first I saw the trees growing on the temple. It is an impressive site. Something I've seen in books and heard of for years. There are more impressive views of this type of scene but usually there are many people. Here, no one was around to taint the experience.

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    Phimeanakas Temple

    by blueskyjohn Updated Oct 3, 2014

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    Phimeanakas is found within the walls of the Royal Palace. Directly north through the palace walls from Baphuon Temple. Phimeanakas is a three tiered temple constructed in the 10th century. The original structure had a tower on top. Legend states that a serpent spirit with 9 heads lived in the tower and would appear disguised as a women. The Khmer King would have to sleep with the woman every night before he could join his wives. If the King missed one night he would die.

    I wonder who made that legend (the King?)!

    There is some restoration project going on at the time I was there (June 2014). It seemed to be minor. A wooden stairway has been constructed for safety to get to the top. It is still very steep.

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    Baphuon Temple

    by blueskyjohn Updated Oct 3, 2014

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    Baphuon is situated just northwest of Bayon Temple. It was built in the 11th century and was initially a Hindu temple but by the 15th century it was converted into a Buddhist temple. Baphuon was built upon a sand base. Because of this, it suffered many collapses over the hundreds of years. A major restoration project started in 2005 by French Archeologist . The job was completed in 2011 with a ceremony that included the King of Cambodia and the Prime Minister of France.

    What I liked about Baphuon was it's long walkway to the front of the structure.

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    Bayon Temple

    by blueskyjohn Updated Oct 3, 2014

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    Bayon Temple was built in the 12 century and about 100 years after Angkor Wat. Bayon is in the exact center of Angkor Thom. It is famous for it's stone faces that highlight the magnificence of Bayon. In Bayon's current state, it has 37 towers. Each tower has four faces point in four directions. It is very impressive.

    Entering from the direction of the South Gate, the road circles Bayon. There are many tours. Buses cannot enter this part of Angkor. The largest size can only be 24 passenger. This does not stop the crowds. Not to mention the tuk tuk's however there are far less of these.

    I decided to enter Bayon from the north side. There are several entrances to the main temple. There is an outer wall with beautiful Bas-reliefs carved in stone. Once on top you can walk around in a complete circle. Several towers are very close at this point and makes for great photo opportunities.

    A good amount of time can be spent here, especially if you want to get a photo with no visitors in it or really want to study the carvings on the outer and inner walls. I enjoyed Bayon more than any other temple in Angkor. So much that I went back a few days later in the late afternoon. This is the time to visit. Most people are flocking to Angkor Wat, Phnom Bakheng or Banteay Kdei to claim their spot and watch the sunset. By 5pm there were 4 or 5 other visitors at Bayon! Maybe I was lucky but I know I would return again this time of day.

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    The South Gate of Angkor Thom

    by blueskyjohn Updated Oct 3, 2014

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    Typically this is the first gate you will pass through when entering Angkor Thom. The gate is approached from a road leading north from Angkor Wat. There is a moat before the gate. That road is lined with figures on each side. These figures appear to be pulling the body of a snake. One side is said to be Guardian Gods and the other side Demon Gods. The myth is that the guardians are pulling the snake and the demons are pushing in the opposite direction.

    There are three faces on each side of the gate. They are fairly well preserved. This is a popular place to take photos. You can wait a long time for your chance to get a photo without some other visitor standing in your shot.

    The trick is to arrive about 7am. Most people are still at Angkor Wat and this gives you a chance to get some photos without many other people standing around. The gate is as impressive looking from the south as it is from the north side.

    South side looking north South side looking north North side looking south
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    Entrance Ticket to Angkor Archeological Park

    by machomikemd Written Jul 19, 2012

    whether you are riding a tuk tuk, private car, tour van, bicycle or tour bus, all of you must go down and have your picture taken at the ticket booth for your entrance pass to the Angkor Archeological Park (if you are in a tour package, no extra charge but if you are back packing then you will pay at the ticket counters). You must possess an admission pass (an 'Angkor Pass') to visit the temples and sites in the Angkor Archaeological Park. Passes may be purchased at the main entrance on the road to Angkor Wat.

    Passes are sold in one-day ($20), three-day ($40) and seven-day ($60) blocks that must be used on consecutive days.

    Visiting hours are 5:00AM - 6:00PM. Angkor Wat closes at 6:00PM, Banteay Srey closes at 5:00PM and Kbal Spean at 3:00PM. Always carry your ticket. It will be checked upon each park entry and at major temples. There is a significant fine for not possessing a valid ticket inside the park (one day entry as fine or 20 US Dollars!).

    ticket booths line ok day pass rules
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    Bayon - The Faces

    by Maria81 Updated Oct 8, 2010

    The 200 (my guidebook had the 126 number, but you can't really count them all - some are barely preserved) faces of the the bodhisattva of compassion called Avalokitesvara or Lokesvara - though bearing a noticeable resemblance to the temple's founder, King Jayavarman VII - is what Bayon is most famous for

    Where are they?

    You can see them from pretty much any angle, for for a really impressive, face-to-face view, go to the upper terrace of the temple, to what is known as the first enclosure. The faces are mostly featured on the towers rising from the upper terrace itself - each featuring typically 4, but sometimes fewer, faces.

    What about the towers?

    According to historians and archaologists, there were 49 of them originally, with 37 remaining now

    When is the best time to see them?

    Either early morning (not necessarily coming right before dawn though, as it would be difficult to climb to the upper terrace in darkness - the stairs are quite steep), or afternoon as the light falls at an angle and creates the golden tones that can be seen on some of the best photographs of the place.

    One of the Smiling Faces
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