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'''Banteay Chhmar Temple''' is 65km north of '''[[Sisophon]]''' on Highway 56. The '''Banteay Chhmar Community-Based Tourism (CBT)''' [http://www.visitbanteaychhmar.org/] group provides homestays, English-speaking tour guides, meals, activities, tour packages, booking services and transportation resources for individuals and tour groups. In 2010, Banteay Chhmar won the '''‘Hidden Treasures Cambodia’''' Destination Award.  
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'''Banteay Chhmar Temple''' is 65 km north of '''[[Sisophon]]''' on Highway 56. The '''Banteay Chhmar Community-Based Tourism (CBT)''' [http://www.visitbanteaychhmar.org/] group provides homestays, English-speaking tour guides, meals, activities, tour packages, booking services and transportation resources for individuals and tour groups. In 2010, Banteay Chhmar won the '''‘Hidden Treasures Cambodia’''' Destination Award.  
  
 
==Understand==
 
==Understand==
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==Get in==
 
==Get in==
 
 
Banteay Chhmar is most easily reached from Sisophon. Sisophon is at the junction of Highway 5 and Highway 6 and is a major transit hub that links Siem Reap, Battambang, Phnom Penh and Poipet (Thai border). There are numerous buses and taxis to/from Sisophon all day long.  It should not be a problem getting to Sisophon.
 
Banteay Chhmar is most easily reached from Sisophon. Sisophon is at the junction of Highway 5 and Highway 6 and is a major transit hub that links Siem Reap, Battambang, Phnom Penh and Poipet (Thai border). There are numerous buses and taxis to/from Sisophon all day long.  It should not be a problem getting to Sisophon.
  
From Sisophon, taxis are currently the only practical way to reach Banteay Chhmar.  Taxis can be met at the Psaar Thmei (New Market) on Highway 56 (the road to Banteay Chhmar) in Sisophon.  The CBT has taxis with the CBT logo on them at this taxi stand.  The road to Banteay Chhmar is unpaved, but is currently undergoing improvements.  
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From Sisophon, '''taxis''' are currently the only practical way to reach Banteay Chhmar.  Taxis can be met at the Phasa Thmei (New Market) on Highway 56 (the road to Banteay Chhmar) in Sisophon.  '''The CBT has taxis with the CBT logo on them at this taxi stand.''' The road to Banteay Chhmar is unpaved, but is currently undergoing improvements.  
 
   
 
   
Share taxis (6 people – 4 in the back; 2 in front plus driver) are $5 per person.  If you need extra legroom, you can ask to pay for 2 seats.  A private taxi is $25.
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Share taxis (6 people – 4 in the back; 2 in front plus driver) are $5 per person.  If you need extra legroom, you can ask to pay for 2 seats.  A private taxi from Sisophon to Banteay Chhmar is $25.
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'''Mr. Ponlok''' is an English-speaking CBT member and taxi driver.  You can call him at '''088 742 3463''' to help make travel arrangements.
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From Siem Reap, daytrips by taxi can be arranged by '''Rithy Bou'''.  Rithy is an English-speaking taxi driver. This is a licensed tourist taxi, so 3 passengers in the back and 1 passenger in front, maximum.  One-way trip is $70; Daytrip (go/back) is $90 and an overnight trip is $120. These prices do not include homestays, temple entrance fee, meals, etc.  You can reach Rithy at '''067 966 636''' or '''011 966 635''' or '''b_rithy@yahoo.com'''
  
 
In the dry season, it takes approximately 1 hour from Sisophon to Banteay Chhmar.  In the rainy season, travel times can be longer depending upon the amount of rain and where it falls. The road is very rarely, if ever, completely closed.
 
In the dry season, it takes approximately 1 hour from Sisophon to Banteay Chhmar.  In the rainy season, travel times can be longer depending upon the amount of rain and where it falls. The road is very rarely, if ever, completely closed.
 
    
 
    
In the unlikely event that the road is closed, Banteay Chhmar can be reached via Samraong, about 50km north. This road is in better condition, but is a much longer journey than from Sisophon.  This road can also take you to the O'Smach/Chong Chom border crossing with Thailand.
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In the unlikely event that the road is closed, Banteay Chhmar can be reached via Samraong, about 50km north. This road is in better condition, but is a longer journey than from Sisophon.  This road can also take you to the O'Smach/Chong Chom border crossing with Thailand.
  
 
The CBT will help you with making your onward travels from Banteay Chhmar.
 
The CBT will help you with making your onward travels from Banteay Chhmar.
  
 
===Other Transportation===
 
===Other Transportation===
 
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* Private taxis and minibuses for groups can also be arranged through tour operators, transportation companies and guesthouses in Siem Reap or Phnom Penh. You should contact the CBT if you need advice or help about these options.
* Private taxis and minibuses for groups can be arranged through tour operators or guesthouses in Siem Reap or Phnom Penh. You should contact the CBT if you need advice or help about these options.
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* Self-drive motos can be rented in Sisophon at the Golden Crown Guesthouse ($10 / day)
 
* Self-drive motos can be rented in Sisophon at the Golden Crown Guesthouse ($10 / day)
* Motos with driver (motodop $10-$12) and tuk-tuks ($30 / day) can also be hired in Sisophon, though these are not the most comfortable options and not recommended.
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* Motos with driver (motodop $10-$12) and tuk-tuks ($30 / day) can also be hired in Sisophon. These are not the most comfortable options and are not recommended.
* There are currently no buses to Banteay Chhmar
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* There are no buses to Banteay Chhmar
  
 
==Get around==
 
==Get around==
 
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Banteay Chhmar village, the main temple and the homestays are all in close proximity and can be easily covered on foot.  Most of the satellite temples can also be reached on foot, or the CBT has bicycle rentals ($1.50 / day).  There are two barays (large water reservoirs).  The Meborn Baray can be walked or biked to. The Pol Pot Baray (3 km) is easier to reach by moto.
Banteay Chhmar village, the main temple and the homestays are all in close proximity and can be easily covered on foot.  Most of the satellite temples can also be reached on foot, or the CBT has bicycle rentals ($1.50 / day).  There are two barays (large water reservoirs).  The Meborn Baray can be walked or biked to. The Pol Pot Baray (3 km) is easier to reach by moto.
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==See==
 
==See==
 
 
*'''Banteay Chhmar Temple''' is one of Cambodia’s most important and least understood temples from the great Angkorian era.  The temple is similar in style to Bayon Temple and may have originally had over 50 towers [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OoOk5cMtsiM&feature=plcp] within its main enclosure.  There are some stunning bas-reliefs of Khmer domestic and military life from the Angkorian era.   
 
*'''Banteay Chhmar Temple''' is one of Cambodia’s most important and least understood temples from the great Angkorian era.  The temple is similar in style to Bayon Temple and may have originally had over 50 towers [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OoOk5cMtsiM&feature=plcp] within its main enclosure.  There are some stunning bas-reliefs of Khmer domestic and military life from the Angkorian era.   
  
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Temple Entrance fee is $5 per person and is good for multi-day entrance to all the satellite temples including Banteay Torp Temple.  Children under 12 are free.
 
Temple Entrance fee is $5 per person and is good for multi-day entrance to all the satellite temples including Banteay Torp Temple.  Children under 12 are free.
  
*'''Satellite Temples:''' There are three satellite temples worth visiting. '''Ta Prohm Temple''' is an easy walk just south of the main temple.  Ta Prohm has an excellent 4-sided, Bayon-syle face tower.  '''Samnang Tasok Temple''' is about 1km west of the main temple and can be reached by walking or bicycle. This rather large satellite temple also bears Bayon-style face towers and is covered in vines and jungle.  '''Chinchem Trey Temple''' is a little more than 1km to the north of Banteay Chhmar Temple and looks like a walking giant.  It is best reached by bicycle or moto and can be difficult to reach in the rainy season.  
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*'''Satellite Temples:''' There are nine satellite temples--two in each of the four cardinal directions--plus Yeay Chou Temple to the southeast. Although most are signed from the road that encircles the main temple moat, lack of trails, absence of further signs, and jungle growth make the majority very difficult to find on your own--a guide is hugely worthwhile to locate them! '''Ta Prohm Temple''' is the easiest to find on your own, a short walk south of the main temple at the sign, then look to your left.  Ta Prohm has an excellent 4-sided, Bayon-syle face tower.  '''Samnang Tasok Temple''' is about 1km west of the main temple and can be reached by walking or bicycle, but you'll need a guide or someone at the nearby police post to point out the foot trail to it. This rather large satellite temple also bears Bayon-style face towers and is covered in vines and jungle.  '''Chen Chem Trey Temple''' is signed as 630 meters to the north of Banteay Chhmar Temple and looks like a walking giant.  In Jan. 2014 the approach was so overgrown that one had to crawl to get under the vines, and a guide is necessary; the approach road is best done on foot because of rough or sandy sections; also, it can be difficult to reach in the rainy season. On the way to Chen Chem Trey Temple, look on the right at 180 meters from the main temple for '''Yeay Kom Temple.''' Other temples can be fun to search out, too, but two are impractical to visit: Mebon Temple on an island in the Baray is said to be collapsed and I was told there wasn't any way to reach it. Ta Plang Temple, just north of Ta Prohm is collapsed and overgrown, so there's nothing to see.
  
*'''Meborn Baray:''' Meborn Baray is a large reservoir constructed during the building of Banteay Chhmar Temple.  It served as the primary water supply for the inhabitants of the time.  The area now is protected from development and is home to a variety of birds.  The baray stretches nearly 1,000m x 1,500m.  There is a temple on the island in the middle of the baray which can be reached during the dry seasonMeborn Baray is 600m from the CBT office and can reached by walking or biking.
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*'''Mebon Baray:''' Mebon Baray is a large reservoir constructed during the building of Banteay Chhmar Temple.  It served as the primary water supply for the inhabitants of the time.  The area now is protected from development and is home to a variety of birds.  The baray stretches nearly 1,000m x 1,500m.  There is a temple on the island in the middle of the baray, but access is likely to be difficultMebon Baray is 600m from the CBT office and can reached by walking or biking.
  
 
*'''Pol Pot Baray:''' This baray was constructed during the brutal Pol Pot regime under, as you can imagine, horrific conditions.  Today, the baray is an important water source for the villagers in the area.  The baray is about 3km north of Banteay Chhmar and is best visited by moto, though biking may be possible during the dry season.  It can be difficult to reach in the rainy season.
 
*'''Pol Pot Baray:''' This baray was constructed during the brutal Pol Pot regime under, as you can imagine, horrific conditions.  Today, the baray is an important water source for the villagers in the area.  The baray is about 3km north of Banteay Chhmar and is best visited by moto, though biking may be possible during the dry season.  It can be difficult to reach in the rainy season.
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The CBT provides a number of visitor activities.  The CBT is comprised of local community members. All CBT members are non-salaried and only receive income from providing guest services.  This includes the cooks and homestay owners, as well.  The CBT also saves some money from guest services in a local community fund to help with community-wide projects such as a solid waste management disposal project.
 
The CBT provides a number of visitor activities.  The CBT is comprised of local community members. All CBT members are non-salaried and only receive income from providing guest services.  This includes the cooks and homestay owners, as well.  The CBT also saves some money from guest services in a local community fund to help with community-wide projects such as a solid waste management disposal project.
  
* '''Temple Tour with Tour Guide:''' The CBT has English-speaking tour guides available.  They can give you a temple tour and will also help you with your homestay arrangements and transportation needs (and anything else you may need help with). $5 per group of 5.
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* '''Temple Tour with Tour Guide:''' The CBT has English-speaking tour guides available.  They can give you a temple tour, take you to satellite temples, and will also help you with your homestay arrangements and transportation needs (and anything else you may need help with). $10 per group of 5.
* '''Traditional Music:'''  A group of local musicians playing traditional songs and instruments.  This is often performed in the temple at night during dinner (weather permitting). $10 per group.
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* '''Traditional Music:'''  A group of local musicians playing traditional songs and instruments.  This is often performed in the temple at night during dinner (weather permitting). $15 per group.
 
* '''Rice Flattening:''' A traditional way of rice preparation for special occasions.  You can help prepare the rice and enjoy tasting it afterwards. $10 per group.
 
* '''Rice Flattening:''' A traditional way of rice preparation for special occasions.  You can help prepare the rice and enjoy tasting it afterwards. $10 per group.
* '''Ox-cart Tour:''' Take a 1-hour tour around Banteay Chhmar village stopping at various sites and learning about local Khmer life. $5 per group of 4.
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* '''Ox-cart Tour:''' Take a 1-hour tour around Banteay Chhmar village stopping at various sites and learning about local Khmer life. $7 per group of 4.
* '''Kuyon (powered tractor) Trip:'''  Kuyons can be hired to take visitors to the barays, or to Banteay Torp Temple for sightseeing and picnics. $6 per group of 10.
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* '''Kuyon (powered tractor) Trip:'''  Kuyons can be hired to take visitors to the barays, or to Banteay Torp Temple for sightseeing and picnics. $10 per group of 10.
 
* '''Motos:'''  Currently, the CBT does not rent motos to visitors. You can ride around Banteay Chhmar with a CBT member for $7.  A trip to Banteay Torp (see below) will cost $5 and an all-day moto tour will cost $10.
 
* '''Motos:'''  Currently, the CBT does not rent motos to visitors. You can ride around Banteay Chhmar with a CBT member for $7.  A trip to Banteay Torp (see below) will cost $5 and an all-day moto tour will cost $10.
 
* '''Meals:''' See the Eat section
 
* '''Meals:''' See the Eat section
  
 
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* <see name="Soieries du Mékong" alt="silk centre" address="" directions="Highway 56, c.700&nbsp;m from the CBT office" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="M-F 08:30-12:00 and 13:30-17:00" price="">high-quality silk products made by young women trained in the art of silk weaving since 2001. Tours and try weaving yourself. Also visit the affiliated '''Enfants du Mekong School''' nearby. Both are accessible by biking or walking </see>
===Soieries du Mekong Silk Center===
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[[Image:Silk_Center.JPG|thumb|Soieries du Mekong Silk Center]]
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The '''Soieries du Mekong Silk Center''' is a must-see on your trip to Banteay Chhmar for its high-quality silk products, some of which is sold in Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and France.  The silk center has been training young women in the art of silk weaving since 2001. You can receive a tour of the silk-making process, try some weaving yourself and buy some beautiful silk products.  The silk center is open from Monday-Friday (8:30am-12pm and 1:30pm-5pm).  It is on Highway 56, approximately 3/4km from the CBT office. You can also visit the affiliated '''Enfants du Mekong School''' nearby.   Both are accessible by biking or walking.
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==Buy==
 
==Buy==
 
 
There is no ATM in Banteay Chhmar. The closest ATM is in Sisophon. US Dollars, Thai Baht and Khmer Riel are all accepted in the market and by the CBT.
 
There is no ATM in Banteay Chhmar. The closest ATM is in Sisophon. US Dollars, Thai Baht and Khmer Riel are all accepted in the market and by the CBT.
  
 
* Silk products from the Soieries du Mekong Silk Center.
 
* Silk products from the Soieries du Mekong Silk Center.
* The CBT office has a few wooden handicrafts (sculptures, candlesticks etc.) made by local villagers. Inquire if you would to see these, or to go visit the craftsmen’s homes and shops.
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* The CBT office has a few wooden handicrafts (sculptures, candlesticks etc.) made by local villagers. Inquire if you would to see these, or to go visit the craftsmen’s homes and shops.
 
* The small market area has necessities such as toothpaste, soap, shampoo and very basic medicines.
 
* The small market area has necessities such as toothpaste, soap, shampoo and very basic medicines.
  
 
==Eat==
 
==Eat==
 
 
Being so far away from a major city makes dining options somewhat limited. Whatever is available in the market usually becomes the main meal of the day.  There are no Tex-Mex, Italian or French nouvelle options here.
 
Being so far away from a major city makes dining options somewhat limited. Whatever is available in the market usually becomes the main meal of the day.  There are no Tex-Mex, Italian or French nouvelle options here.
  
 
*'''CBT Restaurant:'''  This is your best option.  The CBT has a kitchen and restaurant area where meals can be served.  The CBT cooks have been trained in food safety and hygiene.  '''Picnics''' and '''dinner in the temple''' can also be arranged through the CBT.  Breakfast $2; Lunch and Dinner $4.  There is an extra supplement for picnics and dinner in the temple depending upon group size, location and transportation needed.
 
*'''CBT Restaurant:'''  This is your best option.  The CBT has a kitchen and restaurant area where meals can be served.  The CBT cooks have been trained in food safety and hygiene.  '''Picnics''' and '''dinner in the temple''' can also be arranged through the CBT.  Breakfast $2; Lunch and Dinner $4.  There is an extra supplement for picnics and dinner in the temple depending upon group size, location and transportation needed.
  
*'''Chan Rom Restaurant:'''  In the market area, this is the restaurant under the big tree across from the moat and taxi stand.  There is no menu. Basic Khmer food (look in the pots) and generally clean.  Meals $1.00 - $2.50.
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*'''Chan Rom Restaurant:'''  In the market area, this is the restaurant under the big tree across from the moat and taxi stand.  There is no menu. Basic Khmer food (look in the pots) and generally clean.  Meals $1.00 - $2.50. Open for breakfast and lunch.
  
 
*'''Market stalls:'''  There are various market stalls and sellers selling bobor (rice soup), cane juice, grilled corn, desserts and other Khmer delicacies (crickets, anyone?).  Not necessarily the most hygienic choice, but worth trying, if you are on a very tight budget. Meals $0.50 - $2.
 
*'''Market stalls:'''  There are various market stalls and sellers selling bobor (rice soup), cane juice, grilled corn, desserts and other Khmer delicacies (crickets, anyone?).  Not necessarily the most hygienic choice, but worth trying, if you are on a very tight budget. Meals $0.50 - $2.
  
The market area starts closing down around 5pm, so eat early or, if you are not eating in the CBT restaurant, ask the Chan Rom to prepare a meal for later – they will!
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The market area starts closing down around 5pm, so eat early or, if you are not eating in the CBT restaurant, ask the Chan Rom to prepare a meal for later – they will! The other dinner options are to order in advance from the CBT or your homestay.
  
 
==Drink==
 
==Drink==
 
 
Needless to say, there are no bars, nightclubs or swingin’ karaoke joints in Banteay Chhmar.  Beer ($0.50  can) and other drinks can be bought in various shops and there are a couple of ice sellers where you can buy ice to keep your beverages chilled.
 
Needless to say, there are no bars, nightclubs or swingin’ karaoke joints in Banteay Chhmar.  Beer ($0.50  can) and other drinks can be bought in various shops and there are a couple of ice sellers where you can buy ice to keep your beverages chilled.
  
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[[Image:Banteay_Chhmar_Homestay.JPG|thumb|Homestay bedroom]]
 
[[Image:Banteay_Chhmar_Homestay.JPG|thumb|Homestay bedroom]]
  
'''CBT Homestays:'''  These are the only sleeping accommodations in Banteay Chhmar. There are currently '''8 homestays''' and 19 rooms.  Each room has 1 double bed.  The homestays are clean and basic with cotton sheets, blankets, pillows and mosquito nets.  6 homestays have western-style (sitting) toilets and showerheads.  The other 2 homestay bathrooms are expected to be upgraded this year.  There are no rooms with air-conditioning.
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'''CBT Homestays:'''  These are the only sleeping accommodations in Banteay Chhmar. There are currently '''9 homestays''' and 27 rooms.  Each room has 1 double bed.  The homestays are clean and basic with cotton sheets, blankets, pillows and mosquito nets.  All of the homestays have western-style (sitting) toilets and showerheads.  There are no rooms with air-conditioning. However, the homestays now have battery-powered fans that can be run throughout the night. Several are along the road that runs south from the restaurant; other homestays are scattered in nearby villages.
  
There is only electricity from 6-11pm in Banteay Chhmar. The homestays all have electricity during this time, or use batteries.  Flashlights and candles are provided, as well.
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There is only electricity 18:00-23:00 in Banteay Chhmar. The homestays all have electricity during this time, or use batteries.  Flashlights and candles are provided, as well.
 
    
 
    
 
You will need a CBT member to help you with settling into your homestay since none of the homestay owners speak English and homestay reservations are done on a revolving basis so each homestay owner receives his/her fair share of guests.
 
You will need a CBT member to help you with settling into your homestay since none of the homestay owners speak English and homestay reservations are done on a revolving basis so each homestay owner receives his/her fair share of guests.
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==Contact==
 
==Contact==
 
 
There are no internet facilities.  If you ''really need'' to use the internet you can ask the CBT to borrow one of their computers and/or their USB modems. Please offer a small compensation.
 
There are no internet facilities.  If you ''really need'' to use the internet you can ask the CBT to borrow one of their computers and/or their USB modems. Please offer a small compensation.
  
You can contact the CBT directly: '''+855 (0)97 516 5533''' ''or'' '''+855 (0)12 435 660'''
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You can contact the CBT directly: '''+855 97 516 5533''' ''or'' '''+855 12 435 660'''
  
CBT-GHF Coordinator Tath Sophal can be reached at: '''+855 (0)97 723 7605''' ''or'' '''+855 (0)12 237 605'''
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CBT-GHF Coordinator Tath Sophal can be reached at: '''+855 97 723 7605''' ''or'' '''+855 12 237 605'''
  
 
CBT Website: '''visitbanteaychhmar.org''' [http://www.visitbanteaychhmar.org/]
 
CBT Website: '''visitbanteaychhmar.org''' [http://www.visitbanteaychhmar.org/]
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==Get out==
 
==Get out==
 
[[Image:Banteay_Torp_Temple.JPG|thumb|Banteay Torp Temple]]
 
[[Image:Banteay_Torp_Temple.JPG|thumb|Banteay Torp Temple]]
The most popular half-day trip is to '''Banteay Torp Temple'''. This temple is 9km south of Banteay Chhmar off of Highway 56. The temple consists of three soaring and precarious looking towers teetering on the verge of collapse.  The nearby pagoda has some beautiful wall paintings.   
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A popular half-day trip or a detour on the way to or from Banteay Chhmar is to '''Banteay Torp Temple'''. If traveling on your own, look for a red gateway (maybe only a Khmer sign) on the east side of the Sisophon-Banteay Chhmar highway about 7km south of Banteay Chhmar; head east 4.6km on this dirt road and go past a village to a large baray on your left; a faded sign may point the way right (south) 300 meters and you'll see the temple; then turn left 500 meters to parking. The temple consists of three soaring and precarious looking towers teetering on the verge of collapse.  The nearby modern temple has some beautiful wall paintings.   
Frequently, tourists will have a picnic lunch here on their way back to Sisophon.  For groups, the CBT will arrange a kuyon for transportation.  Otherwise, it is best reached by moto or taxi.  Bicycles are really not a good idea, especially in the rainy season.
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Frequently, tourists will have a picnic lunch here on their way back to Sisophon.  For groups, the CBT will arrange a kuyon for transportation.  Otherwise, it is best reached by moto or taxi.  You could also bicycle in the dry season.
  
  
  
 
{{guidecity}}
 
{{guidecity}}

Latest revision as of 06:54, 30 April 2014

Banteay Chhmar Temple is 65 km north of Sisophon on Highway 56. The Banteay Chhmar Community-Based Tourism (CBT) [1] group provides homestays, English-speaking tour guides, meals, activities, tour packages, booking services and transportation resources for individuals and tour groups. In 2010, Banteay Chhmar won the ‘Hidden Treasures Cambodia’ Destination Award.

Understand[edit]

Eastern entrance to Banteay Chhmar Temple

Banteay Chhmar Temple and its nine satellite temples form one the great temple complexes from the Angkorian era. The temple was constructed by King Jayavarman VII in the late 12th century. The temple complex is one of the largest from the Angkorian era and is one of only two sites outside of Bayon Temple bearing the enigmatic Bayon-style face towers. Banteay Chhmar Temple is currently undergoing a multi-year conservation project by Global Heritage Fund (GHF) and the Cambodian government is in efforts to have Banteay Chhmar listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Get in[edit]

Banteay Chhmar is most easily reached from Sisophon. Sisophon is at the junction of Highway 5 and Highway 6 and is a major transit hub that links Siem Reap, Battambang, Phnom Penh and Poipet (Thai border). There are numerous buses and taxis to/from Sisophon all day long. It should not be a problem getting to Sisophon.

From Sisophon, taxis are currently the only practical way to reach Banteay Chhmar. Taxis can be met at the Phasa Thmei (New Market) on Highway 56 (the road to Banteay Chhmar) in Sisophon. The CBT has taxis with the CBT logo on them at this taxi stand. The road to Banteay Chhmar is unpaved, but is currently undergoing improvements.

Share taxis (6 people – 4 in the back; 2 in front plus driver) are $5 per person. If you need extra legroom, you can ask to pay for 2 seats. A private taxi from Sisophon to Banteay Chhmar is $25.

Mr. Ponlok is an English-speaking CBT member and taxi driver. You can call him at 088 742 3463 to help make travel arrangements.

From Siem Reap, daytrips by taxi can be arranged by Rithy Bou. Rithy is an English-speaking taxi driver. This is a licensed tourist taxi, so 3 passengers in the back and 1 passenger in front, maximum. One-way trip is $70; Daytrip (go/back) is $90 and an overnight trip is $120. These prices do not include homestays, temple entrance fee, meals, etc. You can reach Rithy at 067 966 636 or 011 966 635 or b_rithy@yahoo.com

In the dry season, it takes approximately 1 hour from Sisophon to Banteay Chhmar. In the rainy season, travel times can be longer depending upon the amount of rain and where it falls. The road is very rarely, if ever, completely closed.

In the unlikely event that the road is closed, Banteay Chhmar can be reached via Samraong, about 50km north. This road is in better condition, but is a longer journey than from Sisophon. This road can also take you to the O'Smach/Chong Chom border crossing with Thailand.

The CBT will help you with making your onward travels from Banteay Chhmar.

Other Transportation[edit]

  • Private taxis and minibuses for groups can also be arranged through tour operators, transportation companies and guesthouses in Siem Reap or Phnom Penh. You should contact the CBT if you need advice or help about these options.
  • Self-drive motos can be rented in Sisophon at the Golden Crown Guesthouse ($10 / day)
  • Motos with driver (motodop $10-$12) and tuk-tuks ($30 / day) can also be hired in Sisophon. These are not the most comfortable options and are not recommended.
  • There are no buses to Banteay Chhmar

Get around[edit]

Banteay Chhmar village, the main temple and the homestays are all in close proximity and can be easily covered on foot. Most of the satellite temples can also be reached on foot, or the CBT has bicycle rentals ($1.50 / day). There are two barays (large water reservoirs). The Meborn Baray can be walked or biked to. The Pol Pot Baray (3 km) is easier to reach by moto.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Banteay Chhmar Temple is one of Cambodia’s most important and least understood temples from the great Angkorian era. The temple is similar in style to Bayon Temple and may have originally had over 50 towers [2] within its main enclosure. There are some stunning bas-reliefs of Khmer domestic and military life from the Angkorian era.
32-armed Avalokitesvara at Banteay Chhmar

By far, the most important and spectacular bas-reliefs are the two remaining images of the Avalokitesvara on the western gallery.

The temple has suffered hundreds of years of natural decay, and more recently, was subjected to egregious acts of looting.

What remains is still truly spectacular – a remote, deserted temple overgrown with trees and forest. You will experience a sense of mystical aura and have some awesome photographic opportunities.

With less than 1000 visitors a year, you will also most likely have the temple to yourself.

Temple Entrance fee is $5 per person and is good for multi-day entrance to all the satellite temples including Banteay Torp Temple. Children under 12 are free.

  • Satellite Temples: There are nine satellite temples--two in each of the four cardinal directions--plus Yeay Chou Temple to the southeast. Although most are signed from the road that encircles the main temple moat, lack of trails, absence of further signs, and jungle growth make the majority very difficult to find on your own--a guide is hugely worthwhile to locate them! Ta Prohm Temple is the easiest to find on your own, a short walk south of the main temple at the sign, then look to your left. Ta Prohm has an excellent 4-sided, Bayon-syle face tower. Samnang Tasok Temple is about 1km west of the main temple and can be reached by walking or bicycle, but you'll need a guide or someone at the nearby police post to point out the foot trail to it. This rather large satellite temple also bears Bayon-style face towers and is covered in vines and jungle. Chen Chem Trey Temple is signed as 630 meters to the north of Banteay Chhmar Temple and looks like a walking giant. In Jan. 2014 the approach was so overgrown that one had to crawl to get under the vines, and a guide is necessary; the approach road is best done on foot because of rough or sandy sections; also, it can be difficult to reach in the rainy season. On the way to Chen Chem Trey Temple, look on the right at 180 meters from the main temple for Yeay Kom Temple. Other temples can be fun to search out, too, but two are impractical to visit: Mebon Temple on an island in the Baray is said to be collapsed and I was told there wasn't any way to reach it. Ta Plang Temple, just north of Ta Prohm is collapsed and overgrown, so there's nothing to see.
  • Mebon Baray: Mebon Baray is a large reservoir constructed during the building of Banteay Chhmar Temple. It served as the primary water supply for the inhabitants of the time. The area now is protected from development and is home to a variety of birds. The baray stretches nearly 1,000m x 1,500m. There is a temple on the island in the middle of the baray, but access is likely to be difficult. Mebon Baray is 600m from the CBT office and can reached by walking or biking.
  • Pol Pot Baray: This baray was constructed during the brutal Pol Pot regime under, as you can imagine, horrific conditions. Today, the baray is an important water source for the villagers in the area. The baray is about 3km north of Banteay Chhmar and is best visited by moto, though biking may be possible during the dry season. It can be difficult to reach in the rainy season.

Do[edit][add listing]

Temple Tour

The CBT provides a number of visitor activities. The CBT is comprised of local community members. All CBT members are non-salaried and only receive income from providing guest services. This includes the cooks and homestay owners, as well. The CBT also saves some money from guest services in a local community fund to help with community-wide projects such as a solid waste management disposal project.

  • Temple Tour with Tour Guide: The CBT has English-speaking tour guides available. They can give you a temple tour, take you to satellite temples, and will also help you with your homestay arrangements and transportation needs (and anything else you may need help with). $10 per group of 5.
  • Traditional Music: A group of local musicians playing traditional songs and instruments. This is often performed in the temple at night during dinner (weather permitting). $15 per group.
  • Rice Flattening: A traditional way of rice preparation for special occasions. You can help prepare the rice and enjoy tasting it afterwards. $10 per group.
  • Ox-cart Tour: Take a 1-hour tour around Banteay Chhmar village stopping at various sites and learning about local Khmer life. $7 per group of 4.
  • Kuyon (powered tractor) Trip: Kuyons can be hired to take visitors to the barays, or to Banteay Torp Temple for sightseeing and picnics. $10 per group of 10.
  • Motos: Currently, the CBT does not rent motos to visitors. You can ride around Banteay Chhmar with a CBT member for $7. A trip to Banteay Torp (see below) will cost $5 and an all-day moto tour will cost $10.
  • Meals: See the Eat section
  • Soieries du Mékong (silk centre), (Highway 56, c.700 m from the CBT office). M-F 08:30-12:00 and 13:30-17:00. high-quality silk products made by young women trained in the art of silk weaving since 2001. Tours and try weaving yourself. Also visit the affiliated Enfants du Mekong School nearby. Both are accessible by biking or walking  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

There is no ATM in Banteay Chhmar. The closest ATM is in Sisophon. US Dollars, Thai Baht and Khmer Riel are all accepted in the market and by the CBT.

  • Silk products from the Soieries du Mekong Silk Center.
  • The CBT office has a few wooden handicrafts (sculptures, candlesticks etc.) made by local villagers. Inquire if you would to see these, or to go visit the craftsmen’s homes and shops.
  • The small market area has necessities such as toothpaste, soap, shampoo and very basic medicines.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Being so far away from a major city makes dining options somewhat limited. Whatever is available in the market usually becomes the main meal of the day. There are no Tex-Mex, Italian or French nouvelle options here.

  • CBT Restaurant: This is your best option. The CBT has a kitchen and restaurant area where meals can be served. The CBT cooks have been trained in food safety and hygiene. Picnics and dinner in the temple can also be arranged through the CBT. Breakfast $2; Lunch and Dinner $4. There is an extra supplement for picnics and dinner in the temple depending upon group size, location and transportation needed.
  • Chan Rom Restaurant: In the market area, this is the restaurant under the big tree across from the moat and taxi stand. There is no menu. Basic Khmer food (look in the pots) and generally clean. Meals $1.00 - $2.50. Open for breakfast and lunch.
  • Market stalls: There are various market stalls and sellers selling bobor (rice soup), cane juice, grilled corn, desserts and other Khmer delicacies (crickets, anyone?). Not necessarily the most hygienic choice, but worth trying, if you are on a very tight budget. Meals $0.50 - $2.

The market area starts closing down around 5pm, so eat early or, if you are not eating in the CBT restaurant, ask the Chan Rom to prepare a meal for later – they will! The other dinner options are to order in advance from the CBT or your homestay.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Needless to say, there are no bars, nightclubs or swingin’ karaoke joints in Banteay Chhmar. Beer ($0.50 can) and other drinks can be bought in various shops and there are a couple of ice sellers where you can buy ice to keep your beverages chilled.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Homestay bedroom

CBT Homestays: These are the only sleeping accommodations in Banteay Chhmar. There are currently 9 homestays and 27 rooms. Each room has 1 double bed. The homestays are clean and basic with cotton sheets, blankets, pillows and mosquito nets. All of the homestays have western-style (sitting) toilets and showerheads. There are no rooms with air-conditioning. However, the homestays now have battery-powered fans that can be run throughout the night. Several are along the road that runs south from the restaurant; other homestays are scattered in nearby villages.

There is only electricity 18:00-23:00 in Banteay Chhmar. The homestays all have electricity during this time, or use batteries. Flashlights and candles are provided, as well.

You will need a CBT member to help you with settling into your homestay since none of the homestay owners speak English and homestay reservations are done on a revolving basis so each homestay owner receives his/her fair share of guests.

Though none speak English, the homestay families are all very hospitable and welcoming. You can read their personal stories here [3].

Homestays are $7/per room.

Contact[edit]

There are no internet facilities. If you really need to use the internet you can ask the CBT to borrow one of their computers and/or their USB modems. Please offer a small compensation.

You can contact the CBT directly: +855 97 516 5533 or +855 12 435 660

CBT-GHF Coordinator Tath Sophal can be reached at: +855 97 723 7605 or +855 12 237 605

CBT Website: visitbanteaychhmar.org [4]

Get out[edit]

Banteay Torp Temple

A popular half-day trip or a detour on the way to or from Banteay Chhmar is to Banteay Torp Temple. If traveling on your own, look for a red gateway (maybe only a Khmer sign) on the east side of the Sisophon-Banteay Chhmar highway about 7km south of Banteay Chhmar; head east 4.6km on this dirt road and go past a village to a large baray on your left; a faded sign may point the way right (south) 300 meters and you'll see the temple; then turn left 500 meters to parking. The temple consists of three soaring and precarious looking towers teetering on the verge of collapse. The nearby modern temple has some beautiful wall paintings. Frequently, tourists will have a picnic lunch here on their way back to Sisophon. For groups, the CBT will arrange a kuyon for transportation. Otherwise, it is best reached by moto or taxi. You could also bicycle in the dry season.


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