The ultimate travel guide to visiting Bayon Temple in Siem Reap, Cambodia, says it is well worth seeing this state temple in the center of Angkor Thom.
Bayon Temple Facts
King: Jayavarman VII
Religion: a Buddhist temple in the style of a Hindu temple
Date: 12th century
Required: Temple Pass
Required: Wearing a proper uniform
Visit duration: 1 hour
This temple is located 2,200 meters north of Angkor Wat. This is also one of King Jayavarman VII’s temples, which was built in the late 12th century, in 1181. A.D. Bayon temple is located in the center of Angkor Thom city, 1500 meters from each of the four gates. King Jayaraman VII built the Bayon Temple as part of his plan to bring Hinduism and Buddhism together. He wanted to do this because he had seen a lot of suffering caused by fights between Hindu and Buddhist people.
How do I access Bayon Temple?
There are two main entrances that allow tourists to visit this temple. Tourists are permitted to enter Angkor Thom from the south gate between 8:00 and 11:20 a.m. Most visitors enjoy photographing the gods and demons along the path and the four-faced tower. I recommend visiting the east entrance if you want to explore a beautiful and peaceful gate. If you arrive at the Bayon temple, you can enter from the east in the morning or the west entrance in the afternoon.
The best time to visit Bayon Temple
The best time to visit Bayon Temple is during the cooler months of the year, from October to April. This is when temperatures are mild and there is less rain. The temple also looks its best during this time, and the views of the countryside surrounding it can be quite spectacular. During this time, people can enjoy a leisurely stroll around the complex and take in all of its beauty without having to worry about the heat or humidity. The temple also has some interesting cultural events that are held on certain days throughout the year, so if you plan your trip accordingly, you may be able to experience them as well. With so much to see and do, Bayon Temple is an ideal destination for any traveler looking to immerse themselves in Cambodian culture and history.
What things should you prepare for Angkor complex tours?
- Temple tours require at least a temple pass. Without a ticket, you won’t be able to tour the Angkor complex. It is $37 per person for one day and includes a free second day.
- Dresses should be knee-length and worn with comfortable shoes. You can use USD or withdraw money from an ATM in the center.
- If you would like to ask for your driver or tour guide to pick you up, please provide your information, such as flight details and your hotel’s name.
Do you need a tour guide for Angkor tours?
When visiting Angkor, Cambodia, a tour guide can make the trip much more enjoyable and educational. A tour guide will provide you with an in-depth look at the history and culture of the area that you would not receive on your own. They will also help you find your way around the huge temple complexes and show you things you might have missed. Also, they can tell you about local customs and traditions, which can help you have a truly unique experience. It is highly recommended to hire a tour guide for an Angkor tour in order to get the most out of your trip. Also, many tour companies include a certified tour guide in their packages, so you don’t have to worry about finding one on your own.
A Brief History
Bayon was the Khmer Empire’s post-Angkorian civilization and most likely it is final building. During this king’s rule, Bayon’s architecture always combined Hindu and Buddhist styles. This shows how Hinduism and Buddhism got along better under his rule. The Bayon temple was built on the lower plain, encircled by a first outer enclosure of 156 by 141 meters with a 72-meter-long causeway on the east side. The entire temple’s building has been adorned with 54 towers, and each of these 54 towers has the same four faces open to the four cardinal directions.
Bayon Temple Tours and Activities
The central tower served as the main shrine to the Buddha and the shrine to Shiva’s Linga, which were placed on numerous pedestals, while in the northern section of this temple, all sub-towers were likely occupied by the Buddhists. From there, the Buddha images were believed to have been displayed in every tower. Most parts of the temple decorations always show the synthesis of the two religions, especially the Naga balustrade, whose every head section was adorned with the Naga creature, something of Buddhism, and Garuda, the giant bird of Hinduism. Unfortunately, due to a lack of maintenance and a long period of abandonment, the temple was abandoned for nearly a hundred years and was later reclaimed by nature. As a result, the big trees with their gigantic rooms interlaced and pushed the rock apart. Until the 20th century, around 1908, the French rediscovered this temple, and the restoration has been going since then.
- east-facing gallery (south wing)
In the east-facing gallery of Bayon, all the carvings depict (from south to north) the Chinese community, where we can see all the Chinese people with top-knot hair in different activities.
Proceeding further north of the same gallery, the carvings are showing all the soldiers who are returning from the battlefield, and most of them are raising their spears to show their courage and their victory over the Chams.
On the top level, the carvings show a water buffalo being tethered to the pole and ready to be butchered for the victory party.
The following carving in the same gallery, moving to the north, shows a military procession to the war under the leadership of King Jayavarman VII. From there, we can see the mixed armies, which were Khmers and Chinese volunteers, with all their commanders riding on horses and war elephants.
- The east-facing gallery (north wing): All carvings depict the actual war between the Khmer and Cham armies in 1181 A.D. The carvings show the Khmer soldiers with ropes across their chests. The beads on the caps of the Chinese volunteer soldiers identify them, whereas the Cham armies are identified by their full uniforms.
The ultimate travel guide to visiting Bayon Temple in Siem Reap, Cambodia, says it is well worth seeing this state temple in the center of Angkor Thom. It is one of the main temples to visit on the first day of the Angkor Wat tour. If you want to learn more about temple history and the best places to have once-in-a-lifetime experiences, I highly recommend hiring a private Angkor Wat tour guide. They will be able to take you to some of the hidden gems and explain the historical significance of each temple.