"At Least Three Spectacular Sites" Khett Preah Vihear by AlbuqRay
Khett Preah Vihear Travel Guide: 38 reviews and 135 photos
The province of Preah Vihear has at least three of Cambodia's more spectacular sites; however, only two of them, Prasat Preah Vihear and Prasat Preah Khan (Great Preah Khan) are in the VT destination taxonomy. The third site is Koh Ker, which is discussed below and in my Cambodia tips. Koh Ker used to be almost impossible to get to, but now can be reached on a long day trip from Siem Reap via the private toll road to Beng Mealea and from there on a new road that is under construction. When the new road is finished, Koh Ker is going to be one of the more visited sites in Cambodia. It is a very large, multiple-temple complex. The most unique feature at Koh Ker is located at the Prasat Thom temple. It is a huge Mayan-like pyramid with seven levels standing 40 m high. The Mandalay Inn offers an excellent one-day tour to both Beng Mealea and Koh Ker (with or without a guide).
I have been to Prasat Preah Vihear twice, once from the Thai side in 2004 and once from the Cambodian side in 2010. I'll include separate tips for each route under Prasat Preah Vihear since they are so different. Preah Vihear is not as big as the Angkor Temple Complex, but it is in a spectacular setting. There are four levels and four courtyards with five gopuras (entrance pavilions that are some times surmounted by a tower). These are laid out on a steep hill that ends at a 525 m (1722 ft) cliff overlooking Cambodia. Although the site is Khmer and belongs to Cambodia (confirmed by the International Court of Justice in 1962), Thailand just will not accept the fact. Therefore, there have been border disputes with shooting off-and-on for many years. Obviously, the site is closed during those times. It is so foolish of Thailand, since the easiest access to the site is from their side and their people could really benefit from the tourist revenues.
The Prasat Preah Khan on VT under Khett Preah Vihear is not the Preah Khan in the Angkor temple complex near Siem Reap where the Dharmasala Route to Phimai started. It actually refers to a huge temple in Preah Vihear Province which is known by many names, including the Great Preah Khan, Preah Khan of Kampong Svay, Bakan Svay Rolay, or as locals call it, Prasat Bakan (see also The Royal Road / La Voie Royale). I was planning to visit in Feb 2010 but was unable to make it in the vehicle that I had hired. Great Preah Khan may only be accessible by motorbike from Beng Mealea or Phnom Dek, but there are 4WD tours that probably use the road north from Stoeung.
- Pros:Remote, spectacular sites with no crowds
- Cons:All the infrastructure to get to the major sites not completed
- In a nutshell:New roads to spectacular sites completed or under construction in 2010
Under construction - Prasat Pram has five towers, two with strangler figs. more travel advice
Under construction - I think this is Prasat Banteay Pichear but it might be Prasat Krachap. more travel advice
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