Beng Mealea in Cambodia is one of the larger Angkor temples and is built on a similar scale and floor plan to Angkor Wat. The temple is located some 40km from Siem Reap and the main UNESCO archaeological park. For tourists the principle attraction of Beng Mealea is as an exotic travel adventure, a 'lost' temple still gripped by the jungle, removed from the tourist crowds of Angkor. Highlights of Beng Mealea, Cambodia include wonderful photo opportunities of the interplay of ancient carved stonework and nature.
Distance from Siem Reap to Beng Mealea temple is around 80km (90-120 mins) either via Banteay Srei and Phnom Kulen or through National Road 6 (Siem Reap to Phnom Penh). You can visit Beng Mealea at any time of day as most Angkor temple tours and tour bus crowds do not venture here. A Beng Mealea temple plan can be useful for orientation but the ruined nature of the temple can be confusing. An expert local tour guide from Siem Reap will ensure you get the very best from your visit and the journey between Siem Reap and the site.
One of the largest Angkor temples Beng Mealea was built under King Suryavarman II, the founder of Angkor Wat. It is commonly believed to be a forerunner or 'blueprint' for Angkor Wat itself and is decorated in substantially the same art style. The temple has remained in its collapsed state, partly hidden by jungle and until recently rather inaccessible due to poor road conditions and landmines. Around 2003 the landmines were cleared by CMAC - Cambodia Mines Action Center and the Halo Trust and the temple opened to the public.
"A trip to Beng Mealea, which in itself demands an entire day, can be combined with a hunting party, since the region is rich in both small and large game and wild animals; - tigers, panthers and elephants, herds of oxen and wild buffalo inhabit the forest as far as Prah Khan of Kompong Svay in the east"
"Escape the Angkor crowds and travel out past farms and villages for the peace and tranquility of this beautiful place. For the more active there are some great liana vines you can swing off, clamber over the collapsed temple stonework and brave the long dark gallery beneath the collapsed building for adventure"
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