A photojournal of Ed's travels

Day Seven – Beng Mealea

Allan had read about a ruin called Beng Mealea which is about an hour out of Siem Reap, off the beaten track and relatively new to tourists. It was also on the way to Koh Ker, a really remote site to the north in Preah Vihear province. Carol hadn’t yet been to either place, and the mothers were going to be gone all day birdwatching, so we decided to make a day of it. We piled into her Embassy SUV with Chun Heanh behind the wheel, and set off.

Beng Mealea was opened very recently. A kung fu movie was filmed there in 2004, and the film crew had to build walkways for the the cameras to dolly.

It’s almost completely unrestored and a huge mess, but now it’s got these walkways that go to interesting places. I think they should consider hiring cinematographers to plan more scenic walkways, because at Beng Mealea, they go up and down and all around and lead to a lot of great camera positions!

The place was largely empty. There were the ubiquitous Korean tour groups, but not many and no other Westerners aside from two guys from the World Monuments Fund who Carol was planning to meet the next day to see how they’d been spending their grant at Phnom Bakeng. More on that later… 🙂

Beng Mealea is my favorite temple in Cambodia. The architecture is as interesting as Angkor Wat or Bayon, the jungle has taken it over as thoroughly as Ta Prohm, and you can go wherever you want.

We adventured to our hearts’ content and then adjourned to the little cafe across the road from the ruins for a curry and some beers.  As we passed this tree, it turned out to be full of little girls who chanted, “Cannnnnndy” except for one budding entrepreneur who said “one dollllllllahhhhhh”.

Next up, Koh Ker

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