1. Siem Reap: Day Trip to Koh Ker and Beng Mealea Temples
You’ll start out with the 130-kilometer drive through the scenic countryside from Siem Reap to the remote site of the Koh Ker temple group. The temple complex at Koh Kor, located to the north-east of Siem Reap, represents the remnants of the capital of the Khmer empire from 928-944 A.D. Visit Beng Mealea temple next, built at the end of 11th century. This sprawling jungle temple covers an area of more than a square kilometer, and is now largely overrun by vegetation. Constructed in a distinctly Angkor Wat style by the same king, Beng Melea temple may have served as a prototype for Angkor Wat. Although there are some lintel carvings, there are no bas-reliefs and carvings are relatively scarce. When the temple was in active use, its walls may have been covered, painted, or adorned with frescoes. In it time, Beng Melea was at the crossroads of several major routes that ran to Angkor, Koh Ker, and Preah Vihear.