Angkor Thom and the Bayon
Angkor Wat is the best known of the ancient sites near Siem Reap but for many people the extensive Royal City of Angkor Thom is just as impressive. This great 13th century capital retains its original boundaries and covers an area of 3 square kilometres. Surrounded by a moat and an 8 metre-high wall, it is usually entered via the colossal South or 'Victory' Gate (below right) and along a hundred metre-long stone causeway flanked by carved gods and demons. At the centre of the city stands the awesome temple-pyramid of the Bayon, with its 50 towers of intricately-carved stone, one of the great masterpieces of Asian architecture. Also impressive, and not to be missed, are the Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King (below left).