Preah Khan or Bakang Temples, Songkom Thmei District
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Very close to the village of Ta Bos is the Angkorian temple complex of Preah Khan. It is quite an impressive series of temples and I haven’t visited them all. We went for the first time there in 2002 when we first started working in Rovieng. We had three volunteers who helped us out in setting up the office and before they left we took them out there. It was a very rough road and we got bogged a few times – and this was in February (dry season!) Eventually found the place and explored all the tumbled down temple structures. We didn’t have a digital camera then – can’t even remember if we had a camera at all – so I have no pictures of that first trip. We didn’t go back there again until just last year, when another of our volunteers at Jombok Hoas, Phil, was leaving. We went together with the Jombok Hoas team and had a picnic out there. It is a world away from the temples of Siem Reap. The road out there has improved dramatically. A newly graded laterite road – 30 kilometers – takes you from the district town to the temples. There were tourist guards even – collecting money from foreigners. They even had official looking receipts. I think they wanted something like $5 for each foreigner.
The road is being well maintained. Built last year, sitting on the side of the road is a number of pieces of heavy road building equipment – an excavator, steam rollers, dump trucks etc. there just for maintaining the road.. at least for now.
The buildings are in pretty good nic for being in such a remote location. Having just visited Siem Reap’s temples recently, these are pleasantly, wonderfully empty (of tourists!) so quite easy to get pictures without other unknown people walking across the shot.