Located within the ancient walled city of Angkor Thom and part of the Angkor temples UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Terrace of the Elephants is renowned for its exquisite stone carvings. Built at the end of the 12th century by King Jayavarman VII, the temple takes its name from the depictions of parading elephants that adorn the terrace walls. The Basics
Often included on tours of the Angkor Temples, the Terrace of the Elephants is among the highlights of Angkor Thom, located close to the Terrace of the Leper King, Bayon Temple, and the Royal Palace of Phimeanakas.
Half- and full-day tours run to the Angkor temples from Siem Reap, and most combine a visit to Angkor Thom and the Terrace of the Elephants with stops at other ruins such as the “jungle temple” of Ta Prohm, Banteay Srei, and, of course, world-famous Angkor Wat. Opt to travel around the vast temple site by tuk-tuk; hire a bike and cycle between the ruins; or, for extra comfort, choose a private tour in an air-conditioned vehicle. Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- An Angkor Pass is required to visit the Terrace of the Elephants and the other Angkor temples.
- The Angkor archaeological site is Cambodia’s most visited attraction, and visiting with a guide will ensure that you maximize your time at the large complex.
- Parts of the temple site are wheelchair-accessible, but some areas may be off-limits due to uneven terrain.
The Angkor Archaeological Park is located 4 miles (6 kilometers) north of Siem Reap in Siem Reap Province. Travelers can arrive by tuk-tuk or choose a guided Angkor tour with round-trip transportation from the city. The Terrace of the Elephants is located in Angkor Thom, around 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) north of Angkor Wat.When to Get There
Angkor’s peak season is from November to February, when huge crowds descend on the temples. The best time to visit the Terrace of the Elephants is in the morning, when the soft light is ideal for admiring the fine stonework and taking photos.
Exploring the Ruins of the Terrace of the Elephants
The terrace, which stretches nearly 1,150 feet (350 meters) across a grassy expanse, once served as a ceremonial platform and foundation for the Khmer king’s royal audience hall. Leave ample time to admire the relief stone carvings—the intricate designs include elephant parades, elephant trunks, circuslike scenes of acrobats, and wrestling matches.