07 Friday Jun 2013

Traveling to Preah Vihear province and Beng Mealea temple

Earlier this week, we traveled to Tbeng Meanchey, the capital city of Preah Vihear province.  We were surprised that the road was well developed.  To get to Tbeng Meanchey from Phnom Penh, the easiest route was to drive along National Road 6 until you reached the capital city of Kompong Thom.   Here the road splited.  Heading left would have led us to Siem Reap.  Steering right led us to Tbeng Meanchey.  The entire trip took us less than 5 five hours.

tbeng meanchey

Although our trip was not intended for sightseeing or a visit to Preah Vihear temple, we managed to see more of the city had to offer.  The town itself was relatively small.  Once you reached the round-about with a man-made statue, you knew that you were in the vicinity of the city.   There were two main roads crossing through the city.  One road would lead you to the local market, where you can find local vegetables and game meats.  A few beer gardens and fruit stands were spread out through out the city.   As for accommodation, we recommended staying at Home Vathanak.  We were surprised how clean this hotel was compared to other guesthouses and hotels that we had stayed in Kratie and Rattanakiri.   Unfortunately Tbeng Meanchey did not have any boutique hotel like those found in Battambang city.  All and all, I found Home Vathanak was a simple and the cleanest accommodation in the city.

photo-17

For lunch and dinner, we ate at those beer garden places, not far from the provincial town hall.  For dessert, we hit up the local market for traditional Khmer desserts.  It was some what questionable how hygienic the place was, but it was manageable.  The local fresh fruits were much cheaper at the market than those fruit stands by the round-about statue.

After spending one night in Tbeng Meanchey, we made our way to Beng Mealea temple, which was on the route heading west toward Siem Reap city.

beang mealea

Beng Mealea temple was one the farthest temple from Siem Reap city.  Luckily for us, we could easily get to the temple from Tbeng Meanchey.  The temple was not seemed to be well known to tourists.  The structure was still in ruin.  A lot of debris were found through the temple.  It was said that this temple has a moat inside.  From the large and old tree grew within the temple, it was somewhat resembled the Bayon temple.  Walking through the temple was easier than I thought.  Wooden planks were setup through out the temple.  The strange part was that the planks setup right above the temple roof; essentially you were practically strolling above the temple and looking down to the structure below.  We highly recommend people to visit this temple.  It is really worth the drive.

photo-18

photo-20