- Carlo Goldoni
Preah Vihear is about 215km North and West from Siem Reap, about 5-6 hours travel by car. The temple has been in the news as it is near the Cambodian Thai border, and has been the subject of some disputes, and fighting between the two nations - although confirmed as Cambodian territory, this UNESCO World heritage Site is climed by the Thais. The temple itself is perched atop a 600m high cliff, and offers some fantastic views over Northern Cambodia. To visit Preah Vihear, it is necessary to make a two day trip, through Anlong Veng, staying in Preah Vihear province, and returning (perhaps through Koh Ker) the following day.
Koh Ker, was briefly capital of the Angkor empire in the 10th Century, and is a large complex of unrestored buildings and monuments lying about 120km from Siem Reap. There are many buildings around Koh Ker, including the huge seven-tier ziggurat of Prasat Thom, and many more are still conealed in the surrounding jungle. To visit Koh Ker, it is possible to take a long day trip out of Siem Reap, or include as part of a longer trip out from Siem Reap, and is best done in the dry season, as some of the roads are difficult.
Preah Khan of Kampong Svay, or Prasat Bakan, is a massive complex, that is larger than any of the Siem Reap sites, but is rarely visited due to its isolation (it lies about 100km east of Siem Reap, in Preah Vihear province. The site is spectacular, contained within long earth dykes, and some of the buildings are in surprisingly good condition. To visit Preah Khan Kampong Svay requires significant planning, as the roads are only accessible by 4-wheel drive, and then only in the dry season. This is definitely a place for adventurers who want bragging rights!
Banteay Chhmar is about 160km West of Siem Reap and is another very rarely-visited ruined temple, with that "Indiana Jones" feel. The temple is best approached through Sisophon, and there are now good roads most of the way. While areas are well-preserved, there has been some looting (the temple is near the Thai border), and some restoration work has been started. To visit Banteay Chhmar it is possible to make a long day trip out of Siem Reap or Battambang.
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