Koh Ker Temple: A Lost Kingdom

Koh Ker Temple: A Lost Kingdom

Swathed in jungle, looted and in ruins, Koh Ker Temple (pronounced Ko – Kaye) is the ancient capital city of the Khmer Empire, an explorers dream and one of the most unusual places to see in Cambodia.


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Despite preceding Angkor Wat by 300 years, these ancient remains have somehow remained hidden from brochures and maps. In the year 928, the ambitious ruler Jayavarman IV moved from Cambodia’s capital Angkor to Koh Ker (over 100 kilometres north east), where he ruled for 20 years before reversing his decision (due to having an inadequate water supply). Under his 20 year reign, 40 impressive temples were built which would later become known for their revolutionary design and creativity; noticeably the temples had the biggest lingam (phallus) and the tallest statue of Shiva to ever be erected (pun intended) in Cambodia. Koh Ker Temple is also the first construction in which brick, sandstone and rusty-red laterite are united to complete one structure.

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Koh Ker Temple, places to see in cambodia

 

Beyond the enchanting remains of houses and walkways, in the centre of this overgrown complex, lies the most impressive piece of architecture. The impending premier temple Prasat Thom, is a 7-tiered sandstone pyramid lording over 35m high. The climb nowadays is easier than the original vertical stone steps jutting out of the cliff face. Steep stairways are a common occurrence in Hindu temples; basically reminding the people who chose to climb them that getting close to the kingdom of the gods is a difficult task.

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Meandering through the ruins you can really capture the essence of the history. Free from the noise of other visitors allow Koh Ker’s charm to envelope you as the jungle has enveloped this once magnificent city. Touch the crumbling walls and ancient carvings and wander amongst the temples that litter the grounds. It is all yours.

 

koh ker temple, Places to see in cambodia

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How to get to Koh Ker Temple:

A day trip costs $100 per car and $10 entrance fee per person. Expect a smooth 2 ½ hour journey from Siem Reap where you can ogle at the stilted houses towering over the green rice fields and bathing caribou or stop to buy tubes of sticky rice. A day trip leaves plenty of time for exploration.

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koh ker temple, Places to see in cambodia

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Return to our destination guide: Places to See in Cambodia

 

 

 

Written by

Rebecca Mayoll is a ‘just turned 30’ freelance writer and photographer from England. She is the co-founder and author of straightondetour.com, a travel website with the mantra ‘find your own adventure.’ Promoting adventurous destinations, independent travel and giving a humorous insight to the World of travel is what Becky does best.

1 Comment
  • […] Koh Ker is unique and virtually tourist free so why not go the extra miles from Siem Reap to see the remains of Cambodia’s ancient capital city, a capital city that predates Angkor Wat by 300years. Mysteriously swathed in jungle these ruins come even more to life thanks to their remote location. for more information about Koh Ker Cambodia and how to get there check out Koh Ker Temple. […]

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Hi we're Prue and Becks, travel writers and photographers who have been travelling the world together since 2012. Without taking ourselves too seriously, we divulge the lesser known, out of the way places and give you the tools to replicate it. Want to know more? Click on our pic.
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