Located about 68km northeast of Siem Reap, Beng Mealea, a magnificent sight to behold, is one of the most mysterious temples at Angkor. Built in the 12th century under Suryavarman II, to the same floorplan as Angkor Wat, Beng Mealea is enclosed by a giant moat measuring 1.2km by 900m. Cambodia travel packages
Why go to the Temples?
With crumbling stone blocks acting as stairs to many subterranean chambers of the temple, Beng Mealea is not only the most interactive temple but also the most fun temple for your exploration. Covering several acres of jungle terrain, this nearly thousand-year-old temple is made up of a handful of courtyards and libraries.
Even though the temple used to be utterly consumed by jungle, in recent years, some of the dense foliage has been cut back and cleaned up. After getting in from the south, you will wend your way over piles of finely chiselled sandstone blocks, between hanging vines and through long, dark chambers. Although the central tower has collapsed completely, the hidden away among the foliage and rubble are some impressive carvings, together with a well-preserved library in the northeastern quadrant. The temple is a special spot and it is well worth your time to discover it thoroughly – Apsara caretakers can show you where you are allowed to join in climbing and rock-hopping.
How to get in?
If you do not know how to get around, the crumbling structure of the temple makes traversing the site a bit tricky. But things are much easier now as the increasing popularity of the temple has created jobs for a number of Cambodian in the form of temple guides. Hanging around the entrance to the temples, these tour guides can show you exactly where to step and where not to step although they cannot speak much English. They also know how to get into some of the darkest corners of the temple as well as where to stand to catch the best views of the interior.
How to reach Beng Mealea?
As the crow flies, Beng Mealea is 6.5km southeast of Phnom Kulen and about 40km east of Bayon. By road from Siem Reap, it is about 68km (one hour by car, longer by remork-moto or moto). Via the junction town of Dam Dek, situated on NH6 about 37km from Siem Reap in the direction of Phnom Penh is the shortest route. Right after the market, immediately turn north and keep on moving on this road for 31km. Just beyond the left-hand turn to Koh Ker lies the entrance to the temple. Combine your visit with Koh Ker in a long day trip best undertaken by car or 4WD or allow a half day to visit, including the journey time from Siem Reap. Indochina holiday packages
How much time do you need?
It is expected to spend an hour in transit on the way there and back. Visiting Beng Mealea makes for an excellent day trip as you could easily spend a few hours discovering the temple and surrounding fields. It is possible for travelers to be back in Siem Reap for a late lunch and a short cat nap before heading back out to enjoy an evening show like a Beatocello concert (held at 7pm every Saturday night) or Phare, the Cambodian Circus. In spite of being free, the show performed on the beloved cello of Dr. Beat, showing a film about his work in Cambodia and speaking on the medical issues affecting children in Cambodia, is, of course, very educational and entertaining.
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