Koh Ker was the Capital of the Khmer Empire for a very brief period from the year 928 to 944 AD. In this short time; some very spectacular buildings and immense sculptures were constructed. Left to the jungle for nearly a millennium and mostly un-restored; this great archaeological site has been rarely visited until very recently.
This remote area has no towns and only a small village in cleared forest nearby. The village of Sra Yong is a few kilometres away.
Koh Ker is relatively easy drive but involves an early start to get a good full days sightseeing and returning to Siem Reap in the same day. The site is 130 km north of Siem Reap and the road, repaired in 2004, is in decent condition (by Cambodian standards) with a black top road as far as Beng Melea temple and a wide new dirt road in good repair from there. There are no public transport for tourists but taxi and cars can be arranged at hotels and guests houses. Two small restaurants provide basic food at the entrance to the the temple complex near Prasat Thom.
The ancient Khmer city is in a distant jungle location with up to a hundred ruined temples including a huge stepped pyramid; the largest in the region. More ancient temples are being found in the jungle; so there is a true sense of discovery here. Many of the temples were built in brick using a mortar made from tree sap. It is quite remarkable how well they have stood up to the test of time
The entry fee is $10 payable at the booth near the entrance to Beng Mealea temple 60 km to the south west
here is no place like Beng Mealea to make that dream come true! This old temple site has the perfect setup for a one day Angkor adventure. One day that you will not forget anytime soon.
The temple is located some 40km from Siem Reap, or a two hour drive on a good road.
It is not generally well known to the tourist because until some time ago, since the road to Beng Mealea was in bad condition.
All this means that there are almost no visitors at Beng Mealea!
Although it was discovered in 1990, even today, this place is still lying low, waiting for visitors to discover it.
to Beng Mealea
The place is literally located in the middle of the jungle. Trees not only grow around the temple, but also on the temple walls themselves.
In contrast to Angkor Wat where you'll notice how hot it is to walk outside the temple, in Beng Mealea, it is cool and shady.
The large and tall trees surrounding makes it feel secluded and tranquil.
Shady entrance lane to the temple. What a forgotten temple this is.
To reach the main temple, we needed to walk about 10 minutes from the drop off point.
Pools along the entrance lane, Just like Angkor Wat.
After a short nice walk, we saw the main building and the outer walls of Beng Mealea.
At this point, Beng Mealea looked just like an old temple, not adventurous enough.