Bayon Temple, Siem Reap

Dating from the 12th century, Bayon Temple is the spectacular central temple of the ancient city of Angkor Thom. The complex is located just to the north of the famous Angkor Wat.

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History of Bayon Temple

Built around 1190 AD by King Jayavarman VII, Bayon is a Buddhist temple but it incorporates elements of Hindu cosmology.

What to See at Bayon Temple

Angkor Thom was built as a square, the sides of which run exactly north to south and east to west. Standing in the exact center of the walled city, Bayon Temple represents the intersection of heaven and earth.

Bayon is known for its huge stone faces of the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, with one facing outward and keeping watch at each compass point. The curious smiling image, thought by many to be a portrait of Jayavarman himself, has been dubbed by some the "Mona Lisa of Southeast Asia." There are 51 smaller towers surrounding Bayon, each with four faces of its own.

Bayon Temple is surrounded by two long walls bearing an extraordinary collection of bas-relief scenes of legendary and historical events. In all, there are are total of more than 11,000 carved figures over 1.2km of wall. They were probably originally painted and gilded, but this has long since faded. If you enter Bayon by the east gate and view the reliefs in a clockwise direction, here's what you'll see:

Quick Facts on Bayon Temple

Site Information
Names:Bayon Temple
Country:Cambodia
Categories:temples; ruins; World Heritage Sites
Faiths:Buddhism
Styles:Khmer Culture
Dates:1190
Status: ruins
Visitor and Contact Information
Coordinates:13.441257° N, 103.858759° E
Address:Siem Reap, Cambodia
Hours:Daily dawn-dusk
Lodging:View hotels near Bayon Temple
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours and prices can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.

References

  1. Lonely Planet Cambodia (2005).
  2. Frommer's Southeast Asia
  3. Angkor Map and Index - Oriental Architecture
  4. Angkor Thom, the Great Walled City - The Cultured Traveler, July 2004
  5. The Splendors of Angkor Thom - by Michael Buckley
  6. The Temple of Angkor Thom - Cambodian Online

More Information

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Map of Bayon Temple, Siem Reap

Below is a location map and aerial view of Bayon Temple. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.