Angkor Thom: The Last Capital City of the Khmer Empire

Many people have heard of Angkor Wat, the famed temple ruins outside of Siem Reap, Cambodia. But it seems most people (including us) haven’t heard of Angkor Thom–other magnificent ruins that used to make up the last capital city of the Khmer empire. The ruins include elaborate city gates, towers, shrines and temples. The newest temple in the complex was finished in 1295, and the city was inhabited by residents of the Khmer empire until sometime prior to 1609. Overall, we felt these ruins were even more impressive than those at Angkor Wat.

Angkor Thom, Cambodia

We visited these ruins the day after we saw Angkor Wat, and thankfully, I was feeling much better this day. Despite the ridiculously hot temperatures and sticky, muggy air, we spent hours wandering through the ruins of Angkor Thom. The complex is so huge, you have to either bike or take a tuk tuk (our preferred mode of transportation) between the different parts of the complex. We paid for a full day with our tuk tuk and driver, so he would sit and wait in the tuk tuk while we looked around, and then we’d grab him when we were ready to leave. I definitely recommend doing it this way!

Andrea and Matt in tuk tuk

Side note: why in the world would I wear a black shirt on a day like that?? Needless to say, we both got pretty sweaty. Also, maybe we should have gotten there, you know, before noon! We happened to go during the hottest part of the day, when there was little to no shade. On the plus side, we almost had the ruins to ourselves, as no one else was crazy enough to venture out in that heat. Also, not many people were crazy enough to jump around in that heat! Like my sweet Cambodian pants?

Andrea jumping at Angkor ThomAnother thing that was fun about Angkor Thom was the plethora of monkeys! We were a little surprised (and a little bummed) when there weren’t monkeys at Angkor Wat, but luckily, we got our monkey fill on day two!

Guy with monkey at Angkor Thom 1

Guy with monkey at Angkor Thom 2

Guy with monkey at Angkor Thom 3

Guy with monkey at Angkor Thom 4

Monkeys eating at Angkor Thom

Monkeys eating at Angkor Thom 2

Monkeys eating at Angkor Thom 3

Monkeys eating at Angkor Thom 4

As with my post on Angkor Wat, I had a really hard time narrowing down the amount of photos to share. I loved photographing these gorgeous ruins! Please enjoy the ridiculous amount of photos below.

Cambodian women biking near Angkor Thom

Korean tourist group at Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom

Details at Angkor Thom

Details at Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom

Monk at Angkor Thom

Faces at Angkor Thom

Children at Angkor Thom

Details at Angkor Thom

Spider web at Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom

Matt at Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom

Andrea at Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom

Matt attempting yoga at Angkor Thom

Details at Angkor Thom

Monks at Angkor Thom

Buddha at Angkor Thom

Young monk at Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom grounds

Woman at Angkor Thom

Hot sun at Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom

Reassembled pieces at Angkor Thom

Details at Angkor Thom

Details at Angkor Thom

Columns at Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom

Details at Angkor Thom

Columns at Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom

Details at Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom

Details at Angkor Thom

Stormy skies at Angkor Thom

Steep stairs at Angkor Thom

Narrow stairs at Angkor Thom

Doorway at Angkor Thom

Grounds at Angkor Thom

Bikers at Angkor Thom

Elephant crossing at Angkor Thom

Children biking at Angkor Thom

Siem Reap countryside

Siem Reap countryside

Angkor Thom details

Andrea and Matt at Angkor ThomWow! Sorry for the photo overload. I swear that’s only a fraction of the photos we took! Which one is your favorite?

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7 Responses to “Angkor Thom: The Last Capital City of the Khmer Empire”

  1. Lori Finley January 28, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

    Amazing! I liked your pants. They look comfy! Yeah monkeys and adorable children!

    • Andrea January 30, 2013 at 10:14 am #

      Thank you! I originally just bought them because I thought they were kind of silly/fun, but then, it was so hot and they were so lightweight, they were perfect for the temples, where you shouldn’t wear shorts! And yes, yeah monkeys! One of my favorite types of photography subjects :)

  2. Megan Smith January 29, 2013 at 6:33 am #

    I love the details that are carved into the rocks so long ago. It tells a great story of the people in the 1200’s. And yes, you cannot lose with photos of monkeys! Your pants are stylish and rocking. Obviously you can dance like a star in them, so you should be wearing them out at night. :)

    • Andrea January 30, 2013 at 10:15 am #

      I too was obsessed with all the carvings and details! It’s amazing to think of the construction in a place like this, before there were mechanical tools or cranes! And I’m glad you liked the pants…but unfortunately, outside of Asia, they have been retired to pajama pants :) They’re a little too MC Hammer for me to be rocking out west :)

  3. Gram Anne January 31, 2013 at 2:32 pm #

    Very neat that you saw these interesting places!

    • Andrea February 1, 2013 at 10:51 am #

      I agree, and a whole lot more fun than just seeing pictures in a text book!

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  1. Siem Reap: Cambodia's Most Touristy City | World Walk About - January 29, 2013

    […] only spent a couple of evenings exploring the city, as our days were spent exploring Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom. I’m sure we missed a lot, but we also managed to captured a lot of what life is like in this […]

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