Holy Ruins of Beng MealeaSiem Reap, Cambodia
Forget tourist-heavy Angkor Wat. Some 40 kilometres east you’ll find Beng Mealea, a large unrestored temple that’s completely overrun by nature. Built in the twelfth century, the temple is surrounded by a 45-metre-wide moat (mostly dry) and once marked the centre of an Angkorian-era town.
Now in a state of disrepair, the maze-like ruins are best navigated with a guide. To access the most interesting parts you’ll need to climb over large stones, up walls and around dense foliage. It’s sweaty work but worth the effort.
- Feeling like a kid as you clamber over mossy stones and winding trees while you explore
- Feeling as though you’re stepping into history
- Being away from the hordes of tourists who frequent Angkor Archaeological Park
- It takes a whole day to visit since it’s a quite a long way from Siem Reap
Beng Melea is about 70 kilometres – an hour in a car or two in a tuk-tuk – from the city of Siem Reap.
Admission to Beng Mealea is about US$5.