200 faces of Buddha, and they're all smiling upon you!

Bayon Temple was built in the 12 century and about 100 years after Angkor Wat. Bayon is in the exact center of Angkor Thom. It is famous for over 200 stone Buddha faces that highlight the magnificence of Bayon. In Bayon's current state, it has 37 towers. Each tower has four faces point in four directions. It is very impressive.

Entering from the direction of the South Gate, the road circles Bayon. There are many tours after about 9am however, buses cannot enter this part of Angkor. The largest size can only be 24 passenger. This does not stop the crowds. Not to mention the tuk tuk's but there are far less of these.

I decided to enter Bayon from the north side. There are several entrances to the main temple. There is an outer wall with beautiful Bas-reliefs carved in stone. Once on top you can walk around in a complete circle. Several towers are very close at this point and makes for great photo opportunities.

A good amount of time can be spent here, especially if you want to get a photo with no visitors in it or really want to study the carvings on the outer and inner walls. I enjoyed Bayon more than any other temple in Angkor. So much that I went back a few days later in the late afternoon. This is the time to visit. Most people are flocking to Angkor Wat, Phnom Bakheng or Banteay Kdei to claim their spot and watch the sunset. By 5pm there were 4 or 5 other visitors at Bayon! Maybe I was lucky but I know I would return again this time of day.

This late afternoon visit, I wanted to get some more photos of the Buddha faces. Bayon is known for the many faces of Lokesvara, better known in Buddhist mythology as Avalokitasvara, a Bodhisattva that is widely revered. There is said to be 200 faces around the upper tier. I didn't count but there is a lot. The faces seem to follow you as you walk around. My late afternoon turned into a thunderstorm. As the few people that were there took off running, I stayed, broke a light weight rain jacket and enjoyed the sights of the faces, joined with the occasional thunder clap. Very special afternoon.

It is best to have your Tuk Tuk driver leave you at the north ens of Bayon and wait for you on the south end.  Take you time to explore!

Pack List

  • Light hiking shoes
  • sun block
  • camera and spare battery
Show More
Activities Photography
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Features
Scenic

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

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