Day Seven – Koh Ker
Once we’d left Beng Mealea behind, it turned into completely rural, sparsely populated country. No more motos and tuk tuks. Instead, it was all ox carts and these awesome two-wheeled motorized plows people would hitch trailers to and drive.
Koh Ker is very remote – about two hours from Siem Reap on a variety of roads, some paved, some not. It is noted for it’s large pyramid which according to the guide books had a vertigo inducing ladder one could climb to the top.Carol had a guide book for the site, which we conveniently left at the hotel. It is so far out, it doesn’t even get mentioned in the usual Angkor guide books. We weren’t even sure we’d gotten there once we’d gotten there, but we finally deciphered the sign enough to figure it out.
It was good we were there, because we’d run over something on the way in, and Chun Heanh had a wicked flat tire. We decided to take our time in the ruins, feeling more than a little guilty.
It was very definitely not on the main tourist path. The whole time we were there we were the only tourists there. Quiet, birds and monkeys squawking in the trees, wind in the branches. And the signs everywhere telling you who had cleared the mines in this area and that area, and the signs further in the woods telling you that nobody had cleared that area. Welcome to Cambodia. At least the site itself had been demined, and we made sure to stay on trails, just because.
Koh Ker feels very different than other Khmer sites. It almost looks Central American.
When you get through the complex to the temple gate, it really looks Mesoamerican. Look! A stepped pyramid with a central staircase!
The biggest lingam in Cambodia is supposedly at Koh Ker. Allan photographed it.
Chun Heanh was anxious to back in SIem Reap before nightfall, because there are no road lights in the sticks, so off we went round 4:30. The first interesting thing we encountered was this male peacock, standing in the road. He refused to budge for the longest and insisted on walking away from us, going faster and faster as we picked up speed until he finally flew off into the trees. Awesome sauce!