Earth : Asia : Southeast Asia : Cambodia : North-western Cambodia : Koh Ker
Koh Ker was the Capital of the Khmer Empire for a very brief period from the year 928 to 944 AD. In this short time; some very spectacular buildings and immense sculptures were constructed. Left to the jungle for nearly a millennium and mostly un-restored; this great archaeological site has been rarely visited until very recently.
This remote area has no towns and only a small village in cleared forest nearby. The village of Sra Yong is a few kilometres away.
Koh Ker is a relatively easy drive but involves an early start to get a good full days sightseeing and returning to Siem Reap in the same day. The site is 130 km north of Siem Reap and the road, repaired in 2004, is in decent condition (by Cambodian standards) with a black top road as far as Beng Melea temple and a wide new dirt road in good repair from there. There are no public transport for tourists but taxi and cars can be arranged at hotels and guests houses. Two small restaurants provide basic food at the entrance to the the temple complex near Prasat Thom. If you'd like to reach the temple via motorbike, Ride Cambodia Motorbike Tours frequently run trips that stop off at Koh Ker.
There is no transport around the area so you will have to use the car/4wd or Motor bike that took you there.
The ancient Khmer city is in a distant jungle location with up to a hundred ruined temples including a huge stepped pyramid; the largest in the region. More ancient temples are being found in the jungle; so there is a true sense of discovery here. Many of the temples were built in brick using a mortar made from tree sap. It is quite remarkable how well they have stood up to the test of time
The entry fee is $10 payable at the booth near the entrance to Beng Mealea temple 60 km to the south west. If you are heading from Tbeang Meanchey and Preah Vihear there is no means if getting a ticket … but no doubt a facility will be set up in the not too distant future.
There are temples in abundance , most are brick built and all are in a picturesque state of ruin with many being overgrown. The Prang is the largest structure here, it is a 7 stepped pyramid approx 40metres high the views from the top encompass a lonely landscape of forest with the distant Dangrek Mountains on the Thai Border to the north and the Koulen Mountain Range 70 km to the south. Prasat Thom is the name of the temple that lies directly at the bottom of the Prang and one must negotiate this to gain entrance to the pyramid enclosure. In 2007 Prasat Thom was cleared of vegetation and the moats cleaned out by villagers working for the APSARA Authority that now manages the site. Tickets are sold by the Kham Samet Company that built the road to Koh Ker.
There are limited facilities at the Temple for eating, you can get a snack of hot noodle soup and cold drinks at the entrance to Prasat Thom. There are a couple of basic Khmer Cafes in the village of Sray Yong 10 km south.
If you want to stay over night there is a simple guest house at the village of Sray Young 1 km to the south. Camping is not permitted in the temple areas.
Land Mines are a danger here, Most temples have been cleared ; but the areas outside of them have not! The ‘Danger Mines’ signs are no joke. Malaria is a risk here so protection is essential.