Banteay Chhmar

Banteay Chhmar Temple is 65 km north of Sisophon on Highway 56. In 2010, Banteay Chhmar won the "Hidden Treasures Cambodia" destination award.

Understand

East entrance to Banteay Chhmar Temple

Banteay Chhmar Temple and its nine satellite temples form one the great temple complexes from the Angkorian era. The temple was constructed by King Jayavarman VII in the late 12th century. The temple complex is one of the largest from the Angkorian era and is one of only two sites outside of Bayon Temple bearing the enigmatic Bayon-style face towers. Banteay Chhmar Temple is currently undergoing a multi-year conservation project by Global Heritage Fund (GHF) and the Cambodian government is in efforts to have Banteay Chhmar listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Get in

Banteay Chhmar is most easily reached from Sisophon. Sisophon is at the junction of Hwy 5 and Hwy 6 and is a major transit hub linking Siem Reap, Battambang, Phnom Penh, and Poipet (Thai border). There are numerous buses and taxis to/from Sisophon all day long. It should not be a problem getting to Sisophon.

From Sisophon, taxis are currently the only practical way to reach Banteay Chhmar. Taxis can be met at the Psaar Thmei (New Market) on Hwy 56 (the road to Banteay Chhmar) in Sisophon. The CBT has taxis with the CBT logo on them at this taxi stand. As of September 2015, the road to Banteay Chhmar is entirely paved.

Shared taxis (6 people – 4 in the back; 2 in front plus driver) are USD5 per person. If you need extra legroom, you can ask to pay for 2 seats. A private taxi is USD25.

In the dry season, it takes approximately 1 hour from Sisophon to Banteay Chhmar. In the rainy season, travel times can be longer depending upon the amount of rain and where it falls. The road is very rarely, if ever, completely closed.

In the unlikely event that the road is closed, Banteay Chhmar can be reached via Samraong, about 50 km north. This road is in better condition, but is a much longer journey than from Sisophon. This road can also take you to the O'Smach/Chong Chom border crossing with Thailand.

The CBT will help you with making your onward travels from Banteay Chhmar.

Other transportation

Get around

Banteay Chhmar village, the main temple and the homestays are all close and can be easily covered on foot. Most of the satellite temples can also be reached on foot, or the CBT has bicycle rentals (USD1.50/day). There are two barays (large water reservoirs). The Meborn Baray can be walked or biked to. The Pol Pot Baray (3 km) is easier to reach by motorbike.

See

32-armed Avalokitesvara at Banteay Chhmar

By far, the most important and spectacular bas-reliefs are the two remaining images of the Avalokitesvara on the west gallery.

The temple has suffered hundreds of years of natural decay, and more recently, was subjected to egregious acts of looting. What remains is still truly spectacular – a remote, deserted temple overgrown with trees and forest. You will experience a sense of mystical aura and have some awesome photographic opportunities.

With fewer than 1,000 visitors a year, you will also most likely have the temple to yourself.

Temple entrance fee is USD5 per person and is good for multi-day entrance to all the satellite temples including Banteay Torp Temple. Children under 12 are free.

Do

Temple Tour
Soieries du Mekong Silk Center

Buy

There is no ATM in Banteay Chhmar. The closest ATM is in Sisophon. US dollars, Thai baht and Khmer riel are all accepted in the market and by the CBT.

Eat

Being so far away from a major city makes dining options somewhat limited. Whatever is available in the market usually becomes the main meal of the day. There are no Tex-Mex, Italian, or nouvelle cuisine here.

The market area starts closing down around 17:00, so eat early or, if you are not eating in the CBT restaurant, ask the Chan Rom to prepare a meal to eat later.

Drink

Needless to say, there are no bars, nightclubs or swinging karaoke joints in Banteay Chhmar. Beer (USD0.50 can) and other drinks can be bought in various shops and there are a couple of ice sellers where you can buy ice to keep your beverages chilled.

Sleep

Homestay bedroom

Connect

There is electricity only from 18:00-23:00 in Banteay Chhmar.

There are no Internet facilities. If you really need to use the Internet you can ask the CBT to borrow one of their computers and/or their USB modems. Please offer some compensation.

Go next

Banteay Torp Temple

The most popular half-day trip is to Banteay Torp Temple. This temple is 9 km south of Banteay Chhmar off of Hwy 56. The temple consists of three soaring and precarious looking towers teetering on the verge of collapse. The nearby pagoda has some beautiful wall paintings. Frequently, tourists will have a picnic lunch here on their way back to Sisophon. For groups, the CBT will arrange a kuyon for transportation. Otherwise, it is best reached by motorbike or taxi. Bicycles are not a good idea, especially in the rainy season.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, October 23, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.