Banteay Chhmar Temple is one of the greatest landmarks in Banteay Meanchey, Cambodia. It draws tourists all year round with its ancient history paired with a scenic view.
Location and How to Get There
The Banteay Chhmar Temple is located in Banteay Meanchey, a rural province that is targeted to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Specifically, the Banteay Chhmar Temple is in the northwest part of Cambodia and is about 20 kilometers to the east of the border to Thailand. It is quite a remote location that has 14 villages.
The way to get to Banteay Chhmar Temple is by land. You can ride a bus or a taxi. The province of Banteay Meanchey is about a five-hour drive from the Cambodia capital Phnom Penh. From the main district of the province, you will have to take on another journey that will last you another one and a half hours to get to the temple.
What to See There
The best thing about the Banteay Chhmar Temple is the rich history behind it, as told by the displays, the architecture, and its overall appearance. The temple was constructed in 12th century. Unfortunately, due to its very remote location, a huge part of the ruins has been stolen. Statues and temple stones are lacking in some parts of site. Authorities believe that they were sold in Thailand.
Regardless of stolen artifacts, the Banteay Chhmar Temple is still a must-see. There are also numerous activities that you can do on the side. You can have a truly enlightening experience of the Cambodian rural life upon visiting the site. Plus, you can have a gastronomic adventure by having a picnic at the temple, with food prepared by the local women.
The Banteay Chhmar Temple was constructed during the historical reign of King Jar Varman VII. The structure is a complex that is full of sandstones, which are considered the finest in the country. Touring the temple complex will give you an idea of the battles that the Cambodian been into as well as their way of life.
To enter the Banteay Chhmar Temple, you will have to pay a USD5 fee.
The Global Heritage Fund seeks to restore the temple in all its old glory. The California-based organization seeks to fund maintenance and conservation projects that will make the Banteay Chhmar Temple even more alluring. In the next few years, expect a better, well-managed tourist destination that is worth every cent and effort that you will have to spend along the way.