South Gate

Cambodia - Angkor temples overview

South Gate in Cambodia is not one of the Angkor Temples in itself but one of the five main gates into ancient Angkor Thom, and it is the best preserved and most commonly visited by tourists. Its stature and significance make it feature in our list of small temples, given its religious symbolism and close similarites to the Bayon. Built under Jayavarman VII as part of the majestic

  • Angkor Thom City itself, the avenue approach is the first sight for any visitor and this is a wonderful feat. On one side a row of gods, and on the other demons, expressing welcome or grimace respectively as they watch your approach. Many believe that the use of naga balustrades linked the world of men to the world of the gods once they entered into the city. The gate has preserved carvings of heads, magnificent and imposing, very similar to those of the
  • Bayon. Also at the foot of the gate the elephantAirivata can be found, Indra's mount, plucking lotus flowers.

    South Gate tour notes

    Distance from Siem Reap to Angkor Thom is approx 8km (10-15 mins by car, 20-25 by tuk-tuk, or close to an hour by bicycle). Take Charles de Gaulle Road to

  • Angkor Wat and continue past the entrance on your right and continue north. After 1.7km you will reach the South Gate. An expert local tour guide from Siem Reap will ensure you get the very best from your visit here.

    Itinerary planning

    • South Gate Cambodia - Due to its proximity with Angkor Wat and the Bayon its always a great choice to combine a visit to the South Gate with these two important temples. Being a gate to Angkor Thom, combine with your choice of any of the temples within the ancient city.
  • South Gate history summary

    South Gate is one of the 5 gates which guard the ancient city of Angkor Thom, and is the best preserved of all the gates. It was built by King Jayavarman VII in the late 12th Century, serving as 1 of the 5 holy Buddhist gateways to Angkor Thom. Some of the initial heads from the 'naga avenue' are now kept in Angkor conservation museum.

    Paul Mus and George Coedes, talking about the South Gate avenue...

    "...devas on one side and asuras on the other [...] suggest the myth of the churning of the ocean in unison by the gods and the demons to extract the elixir of life. The representation of the churning, with the moats for the ocean, and the enclosure wall for the mountain, is a kind of magic device destined to assure victory and prosperity to the country.."

    ABOUTAsia Head Guide says

    "Here you can feel the religious significance of the Naga Balustrades, and the importance of the spiritual welcome into Angkor Thom. If you haven't got time to see Bayon, come here to 'cheat' a look at the wonderful carved stone heads!"

    Cambodia travel information and Angkor Wat tour specialists ABOUTAsia are based in Siem Reap just 4km from Angkor Wat. At the heart of the organisation is a guiding research centre providing Cambodia vacation advice and industry leading tours planning.


    Peerless service standards and local positioning have made us the tour operator of choice by international luxury travel groups and discerning independent travellers to Angkor Wat, Cambodia and Southeast Asia.

    South Gate - Angkor temples guides by ABOUTAsia.