Backpacking Teacher

Travel, teaching and things in between. Saigon is the focus for now.

Beng Mealea – lots of trees and fallen rocks but not a T-Shirt seller in sight

with 6 comments

img_0716

Angkor Wat, as I previously posted, is spectacular but I found that Beng Mealea, located about 40km’s out of Siem Reap, was far more evocative, peaceful, wild and untamed.

img_0676

Unlike Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom or  Ta Phrohm, Beng Mealea receives relatively few visitors. This makes for a quiet and introspective experience. However this is not the main reason I enjoyed the temple complex. Beng Mealea is evocative because it is surrounded by only paddy fields and small farmers huts. Outside the gates you will find a local village and only a couple of food places that vaguely cater to the tourist. There is not a T-Shirt or statue seller in sight. A solitary old man begging and a couple of kids asking for candy or pens are the only things that herald your entry as you walk past the gigantic seven snake headed statue. Inside the complex is old and worn and, deliberately, not one tiny bit reconstructed. The temple complex is decaying and trees grown through, round and over rocks. Rock walls lay strewn across the ground felled by the forces of nature. As I clambered over rocks and under stone door frames I felt like I had finally seen something similar to the sight which had greeted Henri Mahout the French botanist in 1860.

 img_0689 img_0695

Angkor Wat should definitely be on your bucket list but if you do make it this far don’t give up on Beng Mealea just because it’s another 40km’s out. Far from the maddening crowd of tourists, and for that matter the maddening crowd of reconstructing archaeologists lies the overgrown complex of Beng Mealea. In the middle of a Cambodia far removed from the tourist haven of Siem Reap with it’s bars and T-Shirt shops lies the decaying, tree enveloped beauty of this Hindu temple guarded by Naga the seven headed serpent. Get there soon before the T-Shirt sellers arrive.

img_0671 img_0715

Advertisements

Written by backpackingteacher

February 1, 2009 at 10:48 pm

6 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Thanks for all the photos! I gotta’ get there someday!

    Expatriate Games

    February 7, 2009 at 6:52 am

  2. the pics are not so great …but I don’t like carrying a camera around so i just use my iphone to take photos…

    backpackingteacher

    February 7, 2009 at 12:17 pm

  3. Unfortunately…you can’T find that here in JP….EVERYTHING is so commercialized….

    jyankee

    February 7, 2009 at 4:14 pm

  4. yes it is nice when you can find a place that’s escaped commercialisation (or mostly escaped)

    backpackingteacher

    February 7, 2009 at 4:31 pm

  5. […] one is of the temple of Beng Mealea in Cambodia that I blogged about here. […]

  6. Hi! I’m the Community Manager of Ruba.com. We’re building a website to highlight some of the most interesting places travelers around the world have discovered. We’ve read hundreds of blogs about Cambodia, and we think that yours is awesome! We’d love to highlight excerpts from blogs like yours (assuming it’s OK with you of course) and to discuss other ways of tapping into your expertise if you are interested. I’m at erin@ruba.com.
    Thanks! 🙂

    erinatruba

    February 25, 2009 at 7:58 am


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: