Difference between revisions of "Banteay Chhmar"
Revision as of 03:38, 25 June 2012
City name is in Region name.
Banteay Chhmar Temple is 65km north of Sisophon  on Highway 56. The Banteay Chhmar Community-Based Tourism (CBT)  group provides homestays, English-speaking tour guides, meals, activities, booking services and transportation resources for individuals and tour groups. In 2010, Banteay Chhmar won the ‘Hidden Treasures Cambodia’ Destination Award.
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 .
Banteay Chhmar is most easily reached from Sisophon. Sisophon is at the junction of Highway 5 and Highway 6 and is a major highway 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.
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.
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.
The CBT will help you with making your onward travels from Banteay Chhmar.
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 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  within its main enclosure. There are some stunning bas-reliefs of Khmer domestic and military life from the Angkorian era. By far, the most important and spectacular bas-reliefs are the two remaining images of the Avalokitsevara 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.