Angkor Thom is home to the Bayon Temple, one of the two must visit temples in the Angkor Archaeological Park.
There are 4 gates to Angkor Thom, of which the south gate (the gate facing Angkor Wat) is the most popular and therefore most crowded. It is also where the ticketing booth is located.
There are 3 types of tickets available: 1-day pass for US$20; 3-day consecutive pass for US$40; 1-week pass valid over a one month period for US$60. [*Update: from 1 February 2017, prices are revised to US$37, US$62 & US$72 for 1-day, 3-days & 1-week passes respectively.]
Important: Visitors are required to produce 2 passport size photos when purchasing their tickets. Otherwise, you can join the long queue to take an instant photo at the ticket booth.
Cambodia’s weather is very hot and humid. In Angkor Thom, there is hardly any trees or shades. That means you are going to be under the scorching sun all the time. So, besides getting your ticket and camera ready, ensure your skin is prep with lots of sunblock and bring along water, hat and sunglasses. Also take note that there are no public toilets around.
With hordes of tourist stomping the area in the morning, you may want to consider visiting slightly later, say around 10 am to avoid the crowd.
The best of Bayon are the bas relief; and the giant faces of Buddha which have become one of the most recognizable images connected to classic Khmer art and architecture.
10 mins walk northwest from Bayon is Baphuon, a huge temple mountain that has largely collapsed and is undergoing extensive restoration. [*Update: restoration work was finally completed in 2011.]
Though visitors are not allowed into the temple ground due its instability, those who trough the long walkway is rewarded with beautiful view.
Terrace of the Elephants
Further north brought us to the Terrace of the Elephants. This 2.5m high and 350m long wall is adorned with bas reliefs of elephants and giant garuda.
Terrace of the Leper King
Nearby sits the statue of the Leper King, which gives the terrace its name. The statue was given such name due to the moss growing on it and discolouration which reminiscent a person with leprosy. The current one is a replica while the original resides in the National Museum in Phnom Penh.
The Terrace of the Leper King is carved with nagas, demons and other mythological beings.
The main attractions in Angkor Thom can be easily covered in 2hrs. Of course, to fully appreciate and discover this ancient city, put in a good 3hrs.
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