Yes, the temples of Angkor are really nice! These great ruins are definitely a sight to behold! In a sense, you gain some and you lose some. What do we mean? Well, since Cambodia has opened up its borders for visitors, people have flocked to see Angkor Wat. Sometimes, the crowds are just enormous. Sure, a visit to this great temple and its surrounding ruins are a must, but what if you can experience a less-visited but still impressive one? There’s also time to head over to the Phnom Kulen mountain range for a light trek and picnic lunch amid waterfalls, rivers and more hidden temples.
This temple we are talking about is Beng Mealea. Where is it? It is not in Siem Reap. It is actually 65 kilometers from the Cambodian town. Hop on a transport and let’s go! While you’re there, you’ll feel like an explorer who just discovered a long lost temple. Trees and jungles have wrapped the ruins just as it was years ago when it was rediscovered. In fact, the temple is only recently accessible. The road you just travelled on was only newly built.
Feel free to climb up and down the temple, adding even more to the explorer feel. Just to let you know, the temple has a similar size to Angkor Wat. And judging from its architectural style, was built around the same time as well.
Ok, Explorer. It’s time to head on out and discover the surrounding area. After all, it’s the reason why you are here. Continue on through endless green rice fields to Phnom Kulen. The impressive sandstone mountain majestically looks over its immediate flat plains area. And there’s some history to it too. This is the birthplace of the Khmer Empire. The very guys who built Angkor Wat, Beng Mealea and a whole bunch of temples. The same people who were chief players in Southeast Asia. It is also a major pilgrimage site for both Hindus and Buddhists.
Upon arrival at the top of Phnom Kulen, enjoy a picnic lunch before discovering stone carvings in a riverbed and visiting several hidden pagodas. One of the main attractions is a waterfall where you can take a refreshing swim. It’s pretty tempting. Enjoy the stunning mountain top view of the plains before descending and returning to Siem Reap with time to reflect back to your Beng Mealea and Phnom Kulen experience.
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