Banteay Chhmar Less Travelled
Built in the 12th Century by King Jayavarman V11, this Banteay (meaning fortress) is located 140km North East of Battambang. While Angkor Wat receives an average of 7000 visitors a day, Banteay Chhmar attracts less than 6 visitors as a daily average. Affording a retro prospect to explore the ruinous site without being disturbed by hoards of tour groups with bullhorn wielding tour guides. Best reached by motorbike along a potholed road from Sisophon. A conservation project is currently working at the site.
|Photo: Eddie Smith https://microlightcambodia.net/|
Discovery of vast ruins 2016
The following is from Cambodia Less Travelled by Ray Zepp, first published in 1998.
Now that Highway 69 north of Sisophon has been improved, the great temple at Banteay Chhmar is now much more accessible than it was a year ago, and many more tourists are taking advantage of the improved situation. I tried to visit Banteay Chhmar in November 1997, but made it only as far as Thmar Puok. Right at the large signboard where the road turns off to Boeung Trakoeun the road north was blocked and there were two large tanks warning that the Banteay Chhmar area was currently a battleground.
Recommendations for Visiting Banteay Chhmar
LOST TEMPLES NORTH OF BANTEAY CHMAR
…a very forested region with only small villages distant one from the other. Several ruins testify that it was clearly much more prosperous at the time when a great city, probably a capital, rose up at Banteai Chhmar.
So in all, I was able to locate temple sites at Prasat Phnom Kedol, Prasat Pong Toeuk, Prasat Ampil, Prasat Tu Ey, and Prasats Saman Tea I and II. My guide told me that a very beautiful temple remains on the mountain of Phnom Ta Moeun. This is apparently very near the former Site B refugee camp, where my guide had spent several years. He said the residents of the camp were all familiar with Prasat Ta Moeun and sometimes went there to pray. But the site in the Dangrek mountains is now difficult to reach, and that border area is still heavily mined, so I decided not to attempt a search for Prasat Ta Moeun.