Outlying Temples Beng Mealea and Koh Ker

Beng Mealea: "The Jungle Temple"

Beng Mealea: "The Jungle Temple"

Admittedly most people have their hands full with only an average of 2 – 3 days in Siem Reap and all the temples in the main area of the Angkor Wat archaeological park. For those who want to see some impressive temples that few tourists get to then there is Beng Mealea and Koh Ker. The first is an easy 1.5 – 2 hour drive from Siem Reap while Koh Ker is another 1.5 – 2 hours further (and not always accessible at the height of the monsoon season). I have been to Beng Mealea and it is well worth the trip. I hope to get to Koh Ker on a subsequent trip. A recent article in the Washington Post gives a good read about these two temples plus a third – Preah Vihear which is at the moment pretty much off limits due to an ownership conflict between Thailand and Cambodia.

Highlights from the Washington Post article:

The temple [Beng Mealea] was built at roughly the same time as Angkor Wat and shares many of its style characteristics. Perhaps Beng Mealea was a trial lab for the better-known temple’s style. Visit and you may wonder: If the ancient Khmers had Beng Mealea, why would they need Angkor Wat? It’s a mysterious maze of dark corridors and hidden chapels, of crumbling libraries and courtyards. For a true grasp of size, walk the temple’s eastern causeway: You’ll have to go close to half a mile, crossing a moat and passing holy ponds, before you come to steps and the remains of a platform that mark the temple’s farthest limits…

Koh Ker is an area, not a single temple, that for centuries was a center of provincial culture. In A.D. 928, when its prince became King Jayavarman IV, the capital came to him, rather than vice versa, for reasons perhaps related to his feuding with the previous king. Today Koh Ker has dozens of stone creations, some large and imposing, some small and intimate. The most spectacular is a complex that is three temples in one, including the Prang, the largest pyramid that Khmer architects built. Faced in sandstone, it has seven levels and stands about 115 feet tall…

(Thinking of visiting the temples of Angkor Wat? Don’t forget to check out Savuth’s tuk tuk services!)

~ by Leonard on June 24, 2009.

3 Responses to “Outlying Temples Beng Mealea and Koh Ker”

  1. Dear Team, I would like to visit temples Beng Mealea and Koh Ker. Starting at Siem Reap morning and back at Siem Reap 5 or 6 pm.,Jan-2011. please provide me with price for one person. Thanks and kind regards. S. Albrecht

  2. Hi S.,

    Thanks for the inquiry! To do this trip you need to rent a car and not a tuk tuk. The cost is generally around $100 plus or minus. There is also a $5 entry fee for each temple because these are not covered by the temple passes. If you want some more specific information or would like to arrange this and tuk tuk for the regular sights please check out http://www.angkortuktuk.net/contact.htm and I can help you out.


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