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Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrThe Bayon Temple (Prasat Bayon) is found in the center of Angkor Thom, which is an older and bigger compound than the famous Angkor Wat. It can be easily visited on a tour of the Angkor compound, and is included in the entrance fee ( $ 20 USD for one day, $ 40 USD for three days, $ 60 USD for seven days).
Bayon is distinct to the other Angkor Temples because of the faces that crown the top of the temples. Each and every side has a face, which is unique from each other. There are numerous theories to these faces - one is that they were made to a likeness of Buddha, and the second being made to the likeness of King Jayavarman VII . It is one of the more crowded temples in the complex, so be prepared to jostle for space as you take your photo pretending to kiss one of the faces or have a selfie with them.
What to SeeBayon, of course! There are other chambers inside the temple that you can explore. You can also climb up the historic stones that were used to build the temple (the back part of Bayon is full of fallen stones that's just there - either the conservationists wasn't able to find their original position or were destroyed pieces). There are three levels in Bayon, the third level takes you up close to those massive faces, while the first and second has great bas reliefs that you can view. It is best to go here when the sun is up so it will not cast much of a shadow on the faces, but it does get very crowded with tourists. There are two entrances to the temple, the East side is the more common side, while the West has most of the stone debris.
Aside from Bayon, you can go to the other temples in the Angkor Thom compound: The Elephant Terrace, which has lots of elephants standing as columns, and you can actually walk up on top of those columns. You can also see Baphuon a temple that has collapsed and is still being reconstructed, brick by brick. There is a statue of a Buddha lying down, which is still incomplete. The Terrace of the Leper King takes you down into a sunken path where the walls are so high on your sides. This isn't really for the claustrophobic but the experience is good nonetheless.
Getting HereGetting here is easy enough, you rent a tuk tuk for the day (around $ 20 USD - $ 25 USD for a full day tour) and is normally included in the small or big Angkor loop that the drivers (which in turn are your tour guides) offer. It is a few kilometers from the downtown area of Siem Reap (ie a few km from Pub Street) so walking is not an option.
On the other end of the spectrum, you can also bike here from your accommodation but be prepared for really hot and humid conditions that may hinder you. There are very few shaded areas along the way, and there's not a lot of places where you can leave your bike in securely to explore. If you do choose this option, pack a lot of water or pick up some big bottles from vendors along the way. The road is a bit dusty so you may also need to protect your face and nose as you bike, and dress appropriately.
- Dress appropriately - you can't go in the temples if you're wearing shorts or short sleeved shirts. You need to have your knees and shoulders covered to be able to enter some complexes, there are monks or officials checking what you wear. As of this writing, you can't rent any clothes on site, but rather, there are stores nearby where you can pick up clothing if need be
- Bring lots and lots of water - Siem Reap is almost like a desert: with hot and humid conditions. Stay hydrated. The cheapest place to buy water is from a grocery store, and not your hostel or hotel. There are a few grocery stores that may be near your accommodation.
- If you are planning to stay longer, best to invest in a multi day Angkor Pass. Find a group of people (4 people maximum can fit in a tuk tuk), and go on multiple tours. There's too many things to see in the area that's worth going back to
- After your excursion to the temple, head straight to the bars in Pub Street, most especially Angkor What?, which get crowded easily. To secure a table, get there earlier and party! They offer free t-shirts for a certain number of buckets you buy so combine an order with your friends to get a free souvenir for your trip
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Author: ruby917. Last updated: Feb 27, 2015