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Beung Mealea Temple

Beung Mealea temple lies at the foot of Phnom Kulen’s eastern extreme, about 70kilometers from Siem Reap provincial town. It takes two or three hours to get there via either Banteay Srei or Dam Dek on National road 6. It is the most accessible of Angkor’s lost temples, a mirror image of the mighty Angkor Wat, but totally and utterly consumed by jungle. Constructed by King Suryavarman II (AD 1113-1150), the builder of Angkor Wat, nature has triumphed here, and it is hard to get a sense of the monument’s shape amid the daunting ruins.

Like Angkor Wat, Beung Mealea was enclosed by a large moat, which would have measured 1,200 to 900 meters. Once inside the complex, visitors climb over heaps of stones, edge along dark and damp corridors and through dense foliage-this is not one for the fainthearted. The atmosphere, however, is something special.

Beung Mealea can be combined with a visit to Banteay Srei and Kbal Spean or Phnom Kulen. Food and drinks are available near the temple.