Off the beaten path at Angkor: A walk along the wall around Angkor Thom

One of the major stops at the main tourist circuit at Angkor is at the South Gate entrance to Angkor Thom. However, most visitors might not realize that you can actually walk on top of the wall around Angkor Thom and get a different perspective on this ancient city.

Looking down on to the South Gate to Angkor Thom from the wall.

Looking down on to the South Gate to Angkor Thom from the wall.

One of these days I’ll make it all the way around the 12km of walls that surround the city of Angkor Thom. On my last visit I just walked from the South Gate to the SW corner and from the North Gate to the NW corner. On both trips it took me about 20 minutes to walk from the gate to the corner.

The South Gate heading west has a dirt path leading up to the top meaning it’s not too hard for motos or bicycles to make their way up as well. In fact, while walking from the South Gate to the SW corner I encountered a group of Cambodian teenagers out for a spin on their motos as well as a group of tourists on a bicycle tour.

The walk along the wall is quiet, with the moat on one side and an overgrown forest on the other.

A path along the southern wall of Angkor Thom, heading west.

A path along the southern wall of Angkor Thom, heading west.

In each of the corners of wall is a small temple or ប្រាសាទជ្រុងThe one in the SW is especially picturesque.

The temple in the SW corner of the Angkor Thom wall.

The temple in the SW corner of the Angkor Thom wall.

The temple in the SW corner of the Angkor Thom wall.

The temple in the SW corner of the Angkor Thom wall.

You can also get a nice view of the moat and countryside around Angkor Thom from this vantage point.

The Angkor Thom moat from the SW corner.

The Angkor Thom moat from the SW corner.

Walking to the northwest corner from the North Gate takes a little bit more work.  For one the path to get on top of the wall is more uneven, perhaps OK for a dirt bike but maybe difficult for a moto or bike.

The North Gate of Angkor Thom.

The North Gate of Angkor Thom.

Also, the path along the north part of the wall to the NW corner is a bit more uneven, with one major section that has been partially washed out and perhaps only passable by foot.

A lovely tree along the path to the NW corner of the Angkor Thom wall.

A lovely tree along the path to the NW corner of the Angkor Thom wall.

The moat along the northern edge of Angkor Thom is more shallow and it appears to be used as farmland currently.

A look out at the moat around Angkor Thom from the northern wall.

A look out at the moat around Angkor Thom from the northern wall.

There is a similar temple in the NW corner of the Angkor Thom wall. This one appears to be less touristed and there was a small hut with several park workers enjoying their lunch when I visited.

The temple in the NW corner.

The temple in the NW corner.

An inscription on a pillar outside the NW corner temple.

An inscription on a pillar outside the NW corner temple.

Details of the carvings on the NW corner temple.

Details of the carvings on the NW corner temple.

If you’d like a bit of a hike combined with a visit to some much lesser known temples in the Angkor park, I can highly recommend a trip along the wall around Angkor Thom.  Visiting the temples in the corners may also make for a nice picnic or sunset spot (just be sure to clean up after yourself).

Do you have a favorite off the beaten path site to visit in Angkor? Let me know about it in the comments.

This is the second in an occasional series of lesser-visited sites at Angkor.  See the previous entry on the Baray Reach Dak tour.

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3 responses to “Off the beaten path at Angkor: A walk along the wall around Angkor Thom

  1. I’ve been to Angkor Wat but never got the chance to explore the area around Angkor Thom. Walking around the ancient wall sounds like a lot of fun though. I’ll definitely try that during a return visit. Thanks for sharing the lovely pictures and interesting journey through Angkor Thom.

  2. A few places include Banteay Thom (and the process of getting there), Ta Nei and Ta Saom (although that’s a bit mainstream comparatively). We spent a week there over Khmer New Year in 2012 (think Thai Red shirt reunion) and visited these types of places and didn’t see hardly a soul for a good part of the week. Our motto: It’s not a good trip unless you get the 7-day ticket.

  3. Pingback: Off the beaten path at Angkor: Chau Srei Vibol | Alison in Cambodia

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