Angkor Wat is an enormous Buddhist temple complex located in Siem Reap, northern Cambodia. It was originally built in the first half of the 12th century as a Hindu temple. Spread across more than 400 acres, Angkor Wat is said to be the largest religious monument in the world. Its name, which translates to “temple city” in the Khmer language of the region, references the fact it was built by Emperor Suryavarman II, who ruled the region from 1113 to 1150, as the state temple and political centre of his empire.
Originally dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, Angkor Wat became a Buddhist temple by the end of the 12th century.
The Bayon Temple is one of the more famous, popular and beautiful structures in the Angkor Wat Archaeological Park. The temple is best known for its many towers with gently smiling faces on each side.
- There are some 50 towers around the ruined temple, with over 200 faces showing varying degrees of erosion and wear.
- Each face is 4 metres high and is facing one of the cardinal directions of the compass.
- They all have the same serene smile, with eyes closed, representing the all-knowing state of inner peace, and perhaps even a state of Nirvana.
- There are also many complicated and exquisite bas-reliefs around the temple, with scenes depicting the land and naval warfare, market scenes and even the construction of the temple itself.
Is it suitable to bring kids to Angor Wat?
Personally, I went without children; though I did see some kids, most are adults.
- The weather is very hot and all are outdoors. Bring plenty of drinks and snacks if you are with kids.
- Book a tuk-tuk to ferry you temple to temple as well as the return trip so you have the flexibility to bring them back to the hotel for rest if needed.
- Take it easy. The Angkor Wat Archaeological Park is huge, buy a 3-day or even 7-day pass so you have the flexibility of splitting up the tours into small bite size day trips.
- Bring them on small hikes like to the Green rail corridor first to get them used to the climbs and walks.
Read more tips on going to Ta Prohm temple.