Angkor Tuk Tuk Travel

Banteay Chhmar Temple

In the far northwestern corner of Cambodia the Angkorian temple of Banteay Chhmar sits teetering on the brink of a revival. A paved road scheduled to start construction this year is bound to increase visitors.
Commissioned by King Jayavarman VII and situated some 15km from the Thai border, Banteay Chhmar is often compared to Angkor Thom in size and structure. The complex is full of sandstone bas-reliefs that tell stories of ancient Cambodian battles. Witnessing the preservation of the temple and experiencing the beauty of the local community will reward the adventurous traveler.

The bas-reliefs along the surrounding wall of the temple are some of the finest in Cambodia. Yet the stories are incomplete due to sustained looking, which continued as late as 2002. Huge sections of the outer wall have been chiseled away, and are now scattered to the four winds. While the loss is felt as you wander around the massive complex, it also drives home the importance of visitors to this remote site. These tourist dollars lead to the long-run stability of the temple and the surrounding villages.
“Banteay Chhmar is a perfect example of how Global Heritage Fund works with local groups to build sustainable tourist infrastructure.

Hooper wants to create temporary, low-impact viewing platforms, so guests can see the complex from a bird’s eye view. The platforms would allow visitors a safe way to experience the heart of the temple, which currently is inaccessible because of unstable stone structures. Hooper explains that these temporary structures work well because they avoid heavy construction which could do long term damage to the site. For now, visitors walk on the ground amongst the ruins, witnessing the temple as westerners first discovered it.

Future plans include English lessons for the tour guides and home stay families, improving the home stay facilities, establishing a CBT-run restaurant, and simpler transportation around Banteay Chhmar. Hooper has complete faith in his counterparts. “We’ve never questioned their business sense,” he says. “For us, it’s all about training them to be ready for the changes that are coming down the line.”

And change will come. A sealed road is planned to start construction this year with a completion date hovering around 2012, at which point the villages of Banteay Chhmar will be a mere hour-and-a-half drive from Siem Reap or Battambang. This opens the day-trip potential for large groups coming out of Siem Reap.

While more tourists are exactly what the community needs, busloads may be unfortunate. The isolation is what gives Banteay Chhmar its charm – no matter what time of day you visit, you are likely to be the only visitors. For the time being, there is no waiting for the hordes to move so you can snap a photo without people. There are no tuk tuks, no elephants, no mega-buses. There is just the temple, nature and friendly people there to help. All this makes now the right time for a visit.

How to getting Banteay Chhmar

From Phnom Penh Battambang makes a good mid-trip overnight location. Battambang is less than an hour’s drive along the final patch of sealed road to Sisophan, where National Road 5 meets National Road 6 (an hour from Siem Reap). Buses run to Sisophan, but from there you need to hire a taxi on the unsealed Road 56 for the ride up to Banteay Chhmar.

* For more detail please contact us if you would like to visit Banteay Chhmar Temple: Angkor Tuk Tuk Travel

Bookmark and Share
Flag Counter

Recently Guest Booking:

Guest Name: Sherita Shattuck
Country: Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
City: Frederiksberg C
Travel Date:
Arrival By: Other
Tour Name: Angkor Tour 1 Day