Banteay Srei at dawn. Photo by Anandajoti.
Beng Mealea. Writer128.
Another lost and forgotten temple overcome by trees and roots has the same drama as Ta Prohm and is Angkor’s latest ‘best kept secret’! It’s situated 70 km northwest of Siem Reap.
Prasat Preah Vihear
Prasat Preah Vihear. Photo by William Brehm.
This temple enjoys perhaps Angkor’s most spectacular panoramic settingon the cliff top of the Dangkrek Mountains at the northern end of the country, on the border with Thailand. This Hindu temple built by the Khmer empire has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008. It’s a great spot for both sunrise and sunset as well as picnics.
A two day trip via Koh Ker and Beng Mealea from Siem Reap makes a great route.
Wat Kor in Battambang. Photo by Milei Vencel.
Cambodia’s second largest city, used to be an unspoilt, hidden gem not long ago. But it’s not hidden any more and now booming among backpackers. This laid-back city will never be a mega tourist destination since it lacks big sights, but it’s a pleasant place to stay about 170 kms (104 miles) from Siem Reap, a cheap 3 hour bus ride.
The city is settled across the banks of the Sangker River, among rice fields southwest of Tonle Sap. Apart from some lovely French colonial villas the main attractions are the Khmer ruins of Wat Ek Phnom and Phnom Banan (Wat Banan) with its superb views, though they can’t be compared to Angkor.
Take a boat cruise on the Sangker River or even travel to/from Siem Reap by ferry, 4-8 hours depending on the water level (the wet season July – November is best).