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Angkor VIP tour - Bayon「ប្រាសាទបាយ័ន」

Bayon temple, ancient Angkor
  • Date: Late 12th to late 13th century
  • Style: Bayon
  • Highlights: 49 towers with 4 faces of Lokesvara, bodhisattva who embodies the compassion of all Buddhas. Extreme clutter with towers and architectural elements compressed and place irregularly, seems to indicate change of construction plans after the start e.g. it is believed that the central tower was originally not planned for to respect Ta Prohm and Banteay Kdei but eventually placed there. The charm is ruined by the extreme amount of tourists.

To understand the relevance of Bayon and the reason why it is so compressed, it is important to consider that it was located at the exact centre of Angkor Thom which you see in the map below. Roads lead to Bayon directly from the gates at each of the city's cardinal pointsthe last and most enduring capital city of the Khmer empire, where only temples were built out of rock, reason why there isn't anything left in terms of palaces or daily life - which was all built on wood - and we can only account for temples, city gates and walls.

Bayon temple, ancient Angkor
From all the roads that cross Angkor Thom these days one can see Bayon standing in the distance, where it appears as a baroque yet chaotic structure.
Bayon temple, ancient Angkor
Lokesvara? The face of the king? The choice is yours.
Bayon temple, ancient Angkor
Once you come up, the situation is something like this. Are Chinese tourist color blind? What's the point of wearing different neon shades all at once? Nobody guessed that beige could be cooler and more flattering?
Bayon temple, ancient Angkor
The distance between the inner and the upper gallery is minimal, indicating a sudden change of plans and contributing to this compressed baroque vibe that Bayon has.
Bayon temple, ancient Angkor
After many attempts and few fights with old Chinese ladies that pushed me out of their way (true story), we managed a shot without a million people on the background.
Bayon temple, ancient Angkor
We did not spend much time Bayon due to the claustrophobic feeling that these groups of Chinese tourists (often with loudspeaker carried by the guide) cause me. They come in masses and totally ruin it. This is not a racist statement, but fact is that tourists from any other Nationality tend to travel more "by themselves" and are fewer in total numbers.
Bayon temple, ancient Angkor
The bas-reliefs cover the entire temple, depicting historical events and scenes from the everyday life of the Angkorian Khmer. The walls surrounding the inner gallery depict more of mythological events.
Bayon temple, ancient Angkor

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