Angkor Thom was built as the capital of Jayavarman VII’s empire in the 12th century. It’s name means “great city”. Some of the monuments inside Angkor Thom were built in earlier eras. Bayon is the centerpiece; however, there are a number of other fascinating and photographic temples within the ancient city. One of my favorites is Baphuon which lies directly north of Bayon. Leading out the back entrance of Baphuon is a secluded trail leading to the temples of Phimeanakas and Preah Palilay. Just in front of them are the expansive Terrace of the Elephants and Terrace of the Leper King. One of the most photographed locations in Angkor is the south gate entrance to Angkor Thom with more than 50 giants holding Naga kings (cobra-shaped serpents).
If you enjoy this photo tour, take a look at our post about some of the lesser-known temples such as Ta Nei, Chau Say Tevoda, Thommanon and Ta Keo.
Approaching the South Gate of Angkor Thom.
On the causeway in front of the south gate, these giants are holding Naga Kings (cobra-shaped serpents)
A young boy rides his bicycle on the causeway leading to the south gate
The south gate has four large stone faces each facing a cardinal point
A solo tuk tuk crosses the causeway heading to the south gate of Angkor Thom
Baphuon is an attractive and less visited temple. I like the small green lake in front and the tall trees bordering the sides of it.
Baphuon has a long walkway leading to its entrance. It is such a peaceful and serene location.
Many times you can walk through Baphuon when there are few visitors
Upon climbing the stairs of the three-tiered temple mountain, there are nice views of the walkway leading to the entrance
Baphuon is a three-tiered temple mountain built in the mid-11th century
The steps for many of these temple mountain style locations are steep. Handrails have recently been added.
I just love all the corridors in the temples – especially when the sunlight filters through the openings
A picturesque view from the top of Baphuon
On the top level of Baphuon
Exit the back end of Baphuon and head north along a secluded dirt path and you’ll come to Phimeanakas – a three-tiered temple mountain.
Along the path from Phimeanakas to Preah Palilay, there’s a small baray (or reservoir) that is somewhat secluded
I love the pathway out the back entrance of Baphuon that leads to Preah Palilay. It’s peaceful and serene on this dirt pathway.
Preah Palilay is located about 400 meters north of Phimeanakas. It’s relative seclusion means there are not a lot of visitors.
Terrace of the Leper King in the foreground and Terrace of the Elephants behind it
Maze-like passages below the Terrace of the Leper King have many interesting stone figures