Inside Beng Mealea Temple
Inside Beng Mealea Temple

Siem Reap – Phnom Kulen – Beng Mealea - 1 Day

Phnom Kulen was where Cambodia was proclaimed independence from Java by King Jayavarman II in 802. The mountain is considered as a birth place of the Khmer Empire and is highly respected by the Khmer People as a holy site. For the Khmers, a trip to Phnom Kulen is a pilgrimage back to their origin.

 Our road trip from Siem Reap through the countryside to Phnom Kulen takes about 2 hours. Once we are on the mountain top, you can have a magnificent view of the surroundings. At Phnom Kulen, we'll visit a pagoda and a waterfall and learn about the early Cambodian history.

Picnic lunch by the waterfall.

Descending the Kulen Mountain, we follow a meandering country road to Beng Mealea Temple which had been completely forgotten and was rediscovered only recently. When the temple was built remains a topic of debate, but through the style similar to Angkor Wat, it is guessed that Beng Mealea was constructed in the 12th century. While Angkor Wat is well preserved and is multi-layered, Beng Mealea has only one level, is left completely in ruins and is encroached by the forest. Thanks to the wild ambiance, Beng Mealea possesses the charm that makes your visit here more worthwhile!

A wall at the Beng Mealea Temple, Cambodia
A stone wall at the Beng Mealea Temple, Cambodia

At Beng Mealea, we'll visit the outer walls and climb a ladder and a walkway leading further to the center where stones of the ruins lie in heaps. Make your visit thorough and examine the carvings closely, you'll love this temple for sure! Later in the afternoon, we'll rejoin our car and enjoy a smooth trip back to town.