Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Banteay Chmar

Hal and I took a little visit to our friend's site in Banteay Chmar.  It isn't too far from our site and I really wanted to go visit after hearing Trophie, the volunteer who lives there talk about the temple in her town. Everyone hears about Angkor Wat, but tourists don't really know about the tons of temples that exist all over Cambodia. There's a lot of them in different provinces. I'm just lucky enough to have a cool one in my province.

The Banteay Chmar temple was essentially ruined in the aftermath of the Khmer Rouge. There were a lot of Vietnamese and Thai people in Cambodia, and many precious artifacts from the temples were stolen. Some of them have been more recently returned from Thailand. Banteay Chmar is almost all ruins, but they're working really hard to rebuild it.
The temple has a large moat surrounding it that the town actually uses as their main water source during the dry season.

 As you can see above and below, the people who ransacked the temples, usually went after the heads.
Angkor wat, and many other temples have "satellite temples" other complexes not too far from the main temple. The picture below is one of the satellite temples of Banteay Chmar. There's not much left of it's satellite temples, but you can see some of the ruins along the path to what is left.
Warning for those who want to visit Banteay Chmar. Sometimes there are tour buses that go up there and they have homestays where you can stay the night, but if you want to go up for the day, go in the dry season (Nov-mid-april). The road up there (60 from Svay Sisophon) is horrible in the rainy season. Even now, in the height of the dry season the road is still really bumpy. We told our taxi what time we wanted to go back and he seemed to agree, but he left without us, so we were able to stay the night with our friend. So if you're taking a day trip, make sure to arrange a set time with your taxi or you might end up stranded as taxis don't usually go down in the afternoon unless you want to pay a lot.

All in all though, it's worth a visit. We had a lot of fun up there. It's a really small dusty town, but it was great to visit for a day.

1 comment:

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

I'm glad to hear that they are rebuilding it!

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