Prasat Thnom, Cambodia

Independent Day Trip to Koh Ker & Beng Mealea from Siem Reap

Tour Code: TKH202
Itinerary Overview
Do you think only Egypt has pyramids? No, Cambodia also has one. It is the Mayan-looking temple pyramid named Prasat Thnom in the Koh Ker Archaeological site, which is a 10th century temple complex and the former capital of the Khmer Empire during the reign of King Jayavarman IV (928 - 942). In this independent day trip, you will discover ancient Angkor site to learn about the history and feel its desolate, mysterious and vicissitudes of beauty. Moreover, you can pay a visit to Beng Mealea as well along the way back, to admire the broken pillars and crumbling walls surrounded by the virgin forest. These are two hidden gems of Cambodia.

This day trip is ideal for those who want to have a deep exploration of Angkor sites, or those who are keen on jungle temples, or second time visitors to Siem Reap.
Pyramid Prasat Thnom, Koh Ker
Pyramid Prasat Thnom, Koh Ker
How to Get to Koh Ker?
Koh Ker is nestled in the jungles of Preah Vihear Province, approximately 120 kilometers (75 miles) away from Siem Reap. It takes about 2.5 hours to get there by car. Since there is no direct bus from Siem Reap to Koh Ker, you are suggested to hire a driver for the day trip, together with a visit to Beng Mealea. The temple ruins are quite spread out in Koh Ker area, so it is also nice to have a driver to drive you between the sites. It may cost you around USD80. Settle the total fare including toll charges clearly with the driver.
Routes and Schedules
08:00 - 10:30 Drive to Koh Ker
You are advised to have a hearty breakfast and then set off from the hotel no later than 8:00 in the morning. The drive will be along decent roads with views of rice fields, orchards, as well as woodlands.

10:30 - 15:00 Visit the Koh Ker Archaeological Site
In about 2.5 hours, you will arrive at the Koh Ker Archaeological site. After you buy a ticket and enter the site, you can see a notice board, which marks the location of each site in Koh Ker.

► Admission Fee: USD10, free for children under 12 years old  
► Opening Hours: 8:00 to 17:00 
► Highlight Temples: Pyramid Prasat Thnom, Prasat Bram, Prasat Krahom (Red Temple), Prasat Thneng, Prasat Leung.
► Recommended Sightseeing Time: 4 to 5 hours

Walking into Koh Ker in the jungle that stretches for several kilometers, you will see many relics of the Angkor period. Among them, some temples are still well preserved, with magnificent appearance and exquisite carvings, which are even more shocking than many buildings in the Angkor Temple Complex of Siem Reap.

Prasat Bram is the closest temple to the entrance. There are five towers built of red bricks and wrapped by huge tree roots, so it is also called the jungle temple. As it is the larger and relatively intact building in the Koh Ker area, it is especially the most noticeable.

Then you will come to the Prasat Krahom, which is the second largest structure in Koh Ker and known for its sandstone carvings on lintels, doorposts and slender window columns.

After passing through the ruins of the Prasat Krahom, you will see the pyramid-shaped building of Prasat Thnom, which is the most magical temple in Koh Ker. With 55 meters wide and 40 meters high, this temple is very magnificent and majestic, similar to the Mayan pyramid. It originally had stone steps in the front leading to the top, while due to being crooked and covered with moss, it cannot be used for climbing. Therefore, the local government has built a wooden ladder on the side of the pyramid so that tourists could ascend to the top of the tower, from where the spectacular full view of this archaeological site could be appreciated.
Wooden ladder on the pyramid
Wooden ladder on the pyramid
Prasat Bram
Prasat Bram
For lunch today, you could take some food and have a picnic here, or just inside the car park, you can find restaurants and dinks kiosks.

15:00 - 17:30 Drive to Beng Mealea and Visit the Site
After about one hour's drive, you will come to Beng Mealea, where you will see the appearance of Angkor who had just been discovered. It is the first temple in the Angkor complex built entirely of sand and stone, and like the Ta Prohm Temple, many stone pillars and walls have been covered by thick trees, so the whole temple is like being in a jungle. It is one of the most mysterious temples in Angkor ruins, as well as one of the most worthwhile places to visit.

► Admission Fee: USD5, Angkor pass is not valid here. 
► Opening Hours: 7:30 to 17:30 
► Recommended Sightseeing Time: 1 to 2 hours based on your interest. 
► Tips: Since you need to climb repeatedly and there are mosquitoes, it is recommended to wear comfortable shoes, long sleeves, long trousers, and no skirt.
Beng Mealea
Beng Mealea
17:30 - 18:30 Drive back to Siem Reap 
In this day trip, you will feel the rich history of Angkor in the vicissitudes of life and mysterious ruins. Finally, get back to the hotel.
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