Discover the Stone Faces of Wat Bayon in Siem Reap

Wat Bayon in Siem Reap, Cambodia, invites you on an unforgettable adventure. Steeped in history, blessed with unique architecture, and echoing with spiritual resonance, this mesmerizing temple complex serves as an iconic symbol of the ancient Khmer empire. Whether you’re a history buff, an architecture enthusiast, or a passionate traveler, Wat Bayon offers an unparalleled immersion into Cambodia’s rich heritage, making it a must-visit destination on your travel bucket list

Wat Bayon in Siem reap Cambodia Things to do
Things to do in Siem Reap – Visit Wat Bayon

Brief History: A Portal to the Past

Constructed in the late 12th or early 13th century, Wat Bayon stood as the majestic state temple of King Jayavarman VII, a devout Mahayana Buddhist. As the last grand temple built in Angkor, the once capital of the Khmer Empire, Wat Bayon encapsulates the remarkable vision of its creator. Journeying through this splendid site, you’ll feel as though you’ve traveled back in time, experiencing the prowess of a civilization at its zenith.

Things to do in Siem Reap - Visit Wat Bayon
Things to do in Siem Reap – Visit Wat Bayon

Incredible Architecture: The Masterpiece of Khmer Artistry

Wat Bayon distinguishes itself with a unique architectural style showcasing Khmer design’s Baroque period. The temple embodies a sense of mystery and grandeur and is known for its ornate, complex arrangement of spaces, intricate carvings, and labyrinthine corridors. However, the true marvel of Wat Bayon lies in its multitude of towers adorned with enigmatic, smiling stone faces, making it one of the most recognizable landmarks in Siem Reap.

Wat Bayon in Siem Reap Cambodia
Things to do in Siem Reap – Visit Wat Bayon

The Stone Faces: Unmasking the Divine and the Royal

In a captivating blend of the secular and the divine, the iconic stone faces of Wat Bayon carry a dual symbolism. They are traditionally viewed as representations of Lokesvara, a bodhisattva symbolizing the compassion of all Buddhas. Yet, the faces resemble King Jayavarman VII, suggesting an embodiment of the devaraja or god-king concept. With their serene smiles radiating tranquillity, these faces overlook the landscape in the cardinal directions, symbolizing an omnipresent benevolence.

Things to do in Cambodia
Things to do in Siem Reap – Visit Wat Bayon

RELATED POST: Things to do in Cambodia

What Not to Miss Inside: Treasures Beyond the Faces

Beyond the iconic stone faces, Wat Bayon harbors a wealth of treasures that beckon the curious explorer. Immerse yourself in the intricate bas-reliefs illustrating historical events, mythical narratives, and depictions of everyday life during the Angkor period. Particularly notable are the vivid scenes of naval battles between the Khmer and Cham armies on the eastern gallery walls.

The inner sanctuaries are home to myriad Buddha statues in different poses, creating an ambiance of serene mysticism. Wandering the stone corridors transports you to a captivating ancient world, where art, history, and spirituality unite.

Things to do in Cambodia
Things to do in Siem Reap – Visit Wat Bayon

Experience the allure of Wat Bayon in Siem Reap, Cambodia. With timeless allure, rich history, and stunning architecture, this temple complex beckons a journey of discovery and awe. So why wait? Discover Khmer Empire’s secrets, be enchanted by Cambodia’s ‘face’, and marvel at its grandeur.

How to Explore Angkor Wat Temples

There are three ways how to explore the temples in Angkor Wat in Siem Reap. First, rent a tuk-tuk/driver. Some of them can speak conversational English, and they’ll bring you the temples you selected to see. If you have no plans for what to see, they’ll show you a map/photos of the temple routes. But don’t expect them to guide your tour, share historical insights, or accompany you into the temples. They’re just your transport. Second, join a tour. Though you will be in a group, at least someone is going to tell you a bit about the history and significance of the places you will be visiting.

Things to do in Cambodia
Things to do in Cambodia

Where to Stay in Siem Reap

Here are two places you could stay in Siem Reap. Fancy a container hostel? Then, The Flex Hostel is yours to experience. It has a swimming pool, a bar/resto, and a travel agent where you can book tours, tuk-tuk, buses, and shows. Passport Villa is a boutique hostel highly rated by its customers. It’s on a quiet street, a 5-minute walk to Pub Street. It has a pool, too, and the owners are very nice and accommodating. And most importantly, wifi is very good – so this is an excellent place to stay if you are a working nomad.


A wanderer. A frustrated photographer. Hiker. Lover. Half extrovert, half introvert. Solo traveler.

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