Angkor Thom Temple is located north of the famous Angkor Wat and just west of the Siem Reap River. It was the last capital of the Khmer empire, housing numerous temples and monuments. The distance from Angkor Thom to Angkor Wat is quite brief, with only 1.06 miles to the south separating them. 

Tourists typically access this ancient capital via the East or South Gate. You have the option to either walk or rent various types of transportation in this area such as bicycles, electric scooters, and tuk-tuks. The daily rental price for a bicycle is $2-$4, for an electric scooter is $10, and for a tuk-tuk is $3-$5 per visit.

History of Angkor Thom Temple

Angkor Thom was built by King Jayavarman VII, who is a Buddhist. He was the one who revived the Khmer empire after the invasion of the Chams. During his reign, he constructed many public facilities like hospitals, schools, and temples. He greatly contributed to the creation of a new, glorious capital - Angkor Thom - a bustling and densely populated city.

King Jayavarman VII began construction of Angkor Thom in the late 12th century. Not all architectural structures in Angkor Thom were built by him. Some had been constructed in earlier centuries. He expanded some structures and built many new temples. The Khmer people called the capital Yashodharapura, as there was no distinction between the old and new capital. The name Angkor Thom was only assigned around the 16th century.

Statue of King Jayavarman VII - angkor thom

Statue of King Jayavarman VII

By the end of the 14th century, Angkor Thom was invaded by the Ayutthaya Kingdom (today's Thailand) and the city was abandoned after this. Today, like the other temples in the Angkor complex, it has become a World Heritage site.

Exploring the Temple

Angkor Thom Temple is the land where the legendary capital of the ancient Khmer reigned. It is famous for its unique and beautiful temples and architectural sites. The temple is famous for the following architectural structures.


Bayon is considered the central temple of the Angkor Thom complex - also known as Yaxodarapura, about 0.93 miles from the city gate.

It encompasses 54 stone towers, each carved with faces. The temple's dynamic beauty and archetypal design leave visitors spellbound. Its tiered architecture and network of smaller towers further enhance this captivating experience.

Bayon - Central temple of Angkor Thom

Bayon - Central temple of Angkor Thom

Bayon's architecture bears baroque influences, distinguishing it from Angkor's classic style. Many scholars believe that the faces on the towers are depictions of King Jayavarman VII or the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. There are 37 stone temple towers, each adorned with four faces looking in four directions, creating the impression of watchfulness and protection over the country.


Baphuon Temple, located in Angkor Thom Temple to the northwest of Bayon, was constructed during the reign of King Udayadityavarman II (1050 - 1066). 

buddha statue at angkor thom temple

Buddha image at the west side of the Baphuon

It features a 40-meter-long reclining Buddha carved on a stone wall and is dedicated to the god Shiva. Baphuon has been devastated by war, and most of its current structures have been rebuilt.

Prasat Suor Prat

Prasat Suor Prat is a series of twelve towers stretching from north to south, located east of the royal square in Angkor Thom. These towers are made of rugged laterite and sandstone.

angkor thom temple

The Tower of the Tightrope Dancers

The current Khmer name of the towers translates as "The Tower of the Tightrope Dancers". Locals believe they were used to support a tightrope stretched between them for acrobatics during royal festivals. However, this belief has not been verified, and the function of these towers remains a mystery.

Terrace of the Elephants

If you proceed from the main gate of Angkor Thom after visiting Bayon Temple, towards the left you will find Baphuon, followed by the Terrace of the Elephants after crossing over the long Naga Bridge.

Terrace of the Elephants angkor thom

Terrace of the Elephants

This place is considered a recreational area where kings would watch elephant riding and fights. The Terrace of the Elephants was built between 905 - 984 along with the Royal Palace and the Zodiac Tower. It is situated at the central position of Angkor Thom Temple.

Terrace of the Leper King

After exploring the Terrace of the Elephants, you will find the Terrace of the Leper King at the end of the corridor.

angkor thom Leper King

Leper King

The Terrace of the Leper King is unique due to its name and the decorative carvings. The name likely originates from a statue of the 'Leper King' placed on the terrace. The statue depicts the king sitting with one leg folded in the Javanese style.


The Khleangs are two stone temples located to the east of Angkor Thom, situated behind the twelve towers of Prasat Suor Prat.

angkor thom Khleangs

North Khleang

Both towers were built along the North-South axis and share similar architecture. Interestingly, these two towers were built in different periods. The North Khleang was built during the reign of King Suryavarman I. While the South Khleang South Khleang was built a few decades later and is around 400 meters away. These two structures were pioneering works that spearheaded temple architecture.

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Other spots in Angkor Thom Temple

Gate of the Dead Angkor Thom

Gate of the Dead - The East Gate of Angkor Thom

North Gate of angkor thom

North Gate - A stunning place to watch the sunset

The Southern Main Gate angkor thom

The Southern Main Gate - the place with two rows of Naga railings

angkor thom Preah Palilay

Preah Palilay - The ancient small temple hidden in the sacred forest

Prasat Chrung at angkor thom

Prasat Chrung has a shelter made of engraved stele

Things to Know When Visiting the Temple

Here are some simple pointers to prepare for your visit to Angkor Thom Temple:

  • Choose a suitable visiting time according to your schedule: The Angkor complex is vast and the ticket price includes all sites. It's crucial to plan your itinerary wisely to explore this site.

  • Maintain the quality of your ticket. The security team for each temple area will check your ticket.

  • Dress appropriately as Angkor Thom includes many sacred temples.

  • Avoid making noise during your visit.

  • Be conscious of preserving the architectural structures. Do not touch or interfere with the statues unless permitted.

  • You can rent a scooter or an electric vehicle to move around within the site.

  • The best place to watch the sunset at Angkor Thom is the southern gate area. Don't miss it!

Angkor Thom Temple is more than an ancient city or a collection of stone structures. It's a symbol of the grandeur of the Khmer Empire, filled with countless stories of the past that are waiting to be discovered and appreciated. If you're interested in Cambodia package tour or have any questions, feel free to reach out to New Asia Tours!