BAYON TEMPLE, SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA| TOURIST ATTRACTION + TRAVEL GUIDE
Located at the ancient center of Angkor Thom or Angkor in the present times, Bayon is an essential representation of the Khmer empire. Originally named as “Jayagiri” which means “Victory Museum,” this temple was renamed as “Banyan Temple” after the French regime. It was built by King Jayavarman VII and was dedicated to Buddha as the Hindu god. The concept of “Banyan” tree is fundamental to the Hinduism religion since it is the tree where the great Buddha experienced the enlightenment. On the other hand, the place was mispronounced as “Bayon” by the Khmer workers who worked on the restoration of the site, making it as its current name.
Angkor area trip will not be complete without visiting this temple. If you plan to head to the Angkor War and Ta Prohm, you are not supposed to skip this one for it is part of the “big three” along with the previous two temples. The stones, architectural design, and everything about this temple are simply beyond beautiful. The carvings are also worth the admiration for these depicts a part of mythology, history, and daily living.
Heading here at any time of the day is possible for there is enough shade to protect you from the heat of the sun. I would suggest that you visit in an afternoon to avoid the flock of tourists. In the same way, trying to explore the place would take you about two to four hours. It entails going around the passages, chambers, and climbing steep stairways. There are also available tour guides to assist you. They would even direct you to the best spots of the area where you could take amazing photos with scenic views and sights, like the “nose to nose” pose with the giant head statue.
Heading to this temple is easy for it is accessible from both the north and south gates. From the Angkor Thom Complex, it will only be about one and a half kilometer away. You could reach this destination by taking a taxi or riding a tuk-tuk. I would suggest the tuk-tuk ride for it will allow you to see the park with a better view.
King Jayavarman VII began the construction of the Bayon temple back in the 12th or 13th century. It was then the last temple to be built in the entire complex of Angkor. It was initially a Mahayana Buddhist temple, but the next King, Jayavarman VIII reverted it into a Hindu temple in the 13th century. In the next years, the temple has undergone a series of modifications and changes, following the desire of the King. The evident faces seen in the temple is believed to be the representation of the “200 faces of Lokesvera” or the tranquil visages while there are some who argues that these faces are the faces of King Jayavarman VIII.
The beauty of the Bayon temple cannot be appreciated to the fullest if you are looking at it from afar. But once you enter it, this is the time that you can get to understand its beauty. It is filled with random towers facing almost all directions. Others say that there are a total of 49 and others argue that it is 54, aligning with the total number of provinces (54) in the entire empire of Khmer. As of this moment, there are only about 37 existing towers since others had collapsed due to different reasons. The galleries that the Bayon temple holds are also impressive. These also narrate the story of battles, daily living, and mythology. Currently, there are about 11,000 figures present in the gallery.
Bayon temple may not be as grand and magnificent as the others. But one thing that I am sure about is that it will never fail to amuse you and to educate you of the grand and rich history of the Khmer empire. Have a Happy Trip!
Experience Bayon Temple, Other Temples, and Attractions in Siem Reap
To experience Bayon Temple, other temples and attraction in Siem Reap, you can book a 2-day tour via Tuk-Tuk. This tour will also allow you to travel at your own pace.
How to Get to Siem Reap, Cambodia to See Bayon Temple
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Find and book the cheapest flight for your trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia here, Cebu Pacific Manila-Siem Reap
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Where to Stay in Siem Reap, Cambodia
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Siem Reap Cambodia Travel Guide
The Bayon Temple was one of the temples we visited on our recent trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia. To get more relevant pieces of information and to help you plan out your own trip, read Siem Reap, Cambodia Travel Guide
Must Read: Cambodia Travel Guide
Happy Trip Tips
- Your camera is your best tool to document your visit. Bring extra batteries and a power bank for your mobile phones.
- Be creative in finding the best spot for your selfies.
- The heat could be intense during summer so don’t forget to bring bottled water to hydrate yourself.
- Protect yourself with sunscreen. 100 SPF is highly recommended.
- Umbrellas, cap, sunglasses are the perfect travel buddies.
- Use comfortable footwear and decent attire.
- Snack items are available at the entrances and exits of the temple. So don’t be afraid to get hungry.
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