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Prasat Banteay Pir Chaon Temple, Koh Ker.

Exploring Prasat Banteay Pir Chaon Temple Koh Ker

Prasat Banteay Pir Chaon Temple, Koh Ker.

June 2020.

Even within the isolated and less visited temple complex of Koh Ker, Prasat Banteay Pir Chaon Temple stands as a particularly ignored structure. In many ways, there is little to set it apart from the more standard temple ruins we’ve seen throughout Cambodia. Nevertheless, there were a few details that persuaded me to include it in my guide to Koh Ker.

Deep in the forest Koh Ker Cambodia

Deep in the forest at Koh Ker.

On arrival, for example, we exited the car to the sound of screeching monkeys. Their chattering was coming from deep within the forest and did a grand job of making us feel like authentic adventurers. Lost in the Cambodian jungle, so to speak. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, neither of us could spot any of the boisterous creatures.

Inside the walled enclosure of Prasat Banteay Pir Chaon Temple

Prasat Banteay Pir Chaon Temple.

Not that much is known about the temple. Like many of Koh Ker’s rambling ruins, it dates back to around 937 and sprang up upon the order of King Jayavarman IV. Surviving inscriptions tell us that he dedicated the place to Prajapatishvara, the so-called lord of the master of creatures. A form of Lord Shiva, historians think.

Within a minute of entering the complex, we found ourselves following the most beautiful eruption of birdsong from across the trees in the outer enclosure. Possibly the most melodic chirping I’ve ever heard. These birds, quite hard to spot as they darted between the trees, utterly consumed the atmosphere.

Prasat Banteay Pir Chaon Temple, Koh Ker.

Drinking in the sound of birdsong Koh Ker Cambodia

Drinking in the glorious sound of birdsong.

It was so delightful I found the sound of our own crunching footsteps almost unbearable. Moreover, the snapping of twigs hampered our efforts to stay undetected as we tried to move closer to the birds for a better look. While they ultimately remained elusive, save for a few glimpses, this definitely stands among our favourite moments that day at Koh Ker.

The isolated Prasat Banteay Pir Chaon Temple

Prasat Banteay Pir Chaon Temple, Koh Ker.

The inner enclosure isn’t much to shout about, mostly rubble and with just one tower remaining from an original eight. For me, the highlight was this fascinating chamber (pictured below) with its parallel cracks running from top to bottom.

Prasat Banteay Pir Chaon Temple at Koh Ker Cambodia

Prasat Banteay Pir Chaon Temple, Koh Ker.

On closer inspection of the inner enclosure, we did find some amazing millipedes crawling around between the slabs. Get too close and they’ll instinctively curl up into a fabulous self-protective ball.

Visit Koh Ker.

Millipedes Koh Ker Cambodia.

Meeting the locals at Prasat Banteay Pir Chaon Temple.

If you want to visit Koh Ker, bear in mind that you can’t gain access with The Angkor Pass. Instead, there’s a separate entry fee before you enter the forest. Tickets go for $15 per person.

A mound of rubble at Prasat Banteay Pir Chaon Temple Koh Ker Cambodia

Prasat Banteay Pir Chaon Temple, Koh Ker.

Check out more of my reports from The Temples of Koh Ker.

You can also read my articles from the amazing Temples of Angkor.

Or maybe delve further afield with my travel reports from all across Cambodia.

I’ve been living, working and traveling all over the world since 2001. So why not check out my huge library of travel reports from over 30 countries.

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  • kagould17

    The shots are even more stunning with the blue sky behind. It is great you heard the monkeys and birds. I am sure they are both wary of humans in this environment. Those millipedes creep me out. Thanks for sharing. Allan

    September 15, 2022 - 3:42 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Indeed there was plenty of wildlife around Prasat Banteay Pir Chaon Temple, even if much of it remained somewhat elusive. Thanks for checking in, Allan.

      September 15, 2022 - 3:59 pm Reply
  • Memo

    Really makes me wonder how long these were maintained after the King was no longer alive. It’s interesting how nature always slowly reclaims its own. More big insects! Is it good or bad to be reincarnated as a large millipede?

    September 15, 2022 - 4:20 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Oh lord, I guess that is down to one’s personal perspective. All I can say is that if reincarnation is a thing and I get brought back as a millipede, I’d be pretty cheesed off.

      September 15, 2022 - 5:04 pm Reply
  • Stan

    the birdsong in that video gives a wonderful sense of the atmosphere during your visit. this is an really modest ruin but still there are details aboundd. surely worth it for the millipede alone. us humans tend to be freaked out by bugs but this fella is clearly the one frightened beyond belief. very curious what tomorrows temple holds

    September 15, 2022 - 5:10 pm Reply
  • Leighton

    Thanks Stan, I’m glad you enjoyed this one, even as a very low-key Koh Ker Temple. The millipedes didn’t bother me much, I’d much rather be around those guys than the spider from Prasat Krachap Temple.

    September 15, 2022 - 5:27 pm Reply
  • grandmisadventures

    I can see why you loved those parallel cracks so much- they just look so intriguing running up along the bricks

    September 15, 2022 - 6:04 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      In a compound that is mostly rubble that was one of just a few whole structures, so to speak. That, the chirping birds and the squirming millipedes made it well worth twenty minutes of our time as we toured the complex.

      September 15, 2022 - 6:11 pm Reply
  • Annie Berger

    Loved your description of the sound effects you found right off the bat at the temple. I almost could hear the 😱 monkeys.

    September 15, 2022 - 6:20 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks Annie, it was one of those pleasant assault on the senses!

      September 16, 2022 - 2:26 pm Reply
  • Lyssy In The City

    Another lovely temple! I could hear the birds chirping and monkeys howling as I read 🙂

    September 16, 2022 - 12:27 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks Lyssy!

      September 16, 2022 - 12:28 am Reply
  • Rebecca

    The birds and millipedes are certainly one with nature at Koh Ker! I can imagine the former’s singing evoking some sort of mystical experience in this less-visited temple!

    September 16, 2022 - 7:04 am Reply
    • Leighton

      It was a lovely moment Rebecca that has stayed with us these last few years. I’m glad I grabbed the video, we can so easily forget these things.

      September 16, 2022 - 9:17 am Reply
  • salsaworldtraveler

    Your description of the chattering of the monkeys and melodious birdsong sets the scene for your visit perfectly.

    September 16, 2022 - 9:48 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for checking in John, it’s been fun sharing these tiny Koh Ker temples.

      September 16, 2022 - 9:51 am Reply
  • Travels Through My Lens

    Looks like another interesting temple, and made extra special to have found the place mostly deserted. I love the singing birds, and would have enjoyed hearing the monkeys. The millipede is really quite beautiful.

    September 16, 2022 - 6:23 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks Tricia, I’m glad that somebody finally had a word in the defence of the millipede 😉

      September 17, 2022 - 9:09 am Reply
  • Mallee Stanley

    What a peaceful setting

    September 16, 2022 - 7:56 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thank you Mallee, appreciate the read and the comment.

      September 16, 2022 - 8:09 pm Reply
  • NortheastAllie

    This is another beautiful temple, and great forest photos as well!

    September 16, 2022 - 11:39 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks Allie!

      September 16, 2022 - 11:44 pm Reply
  • wetanddustyroads

    Great video – love the birds’ chirping/singing … that’s nature in its purest form! Those trees are so high – lovely!! Oh, there’s a temple as well – I almost missed this while enjoying the forest 😉.

    September 19, 2022 - 1:39 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      This was probably the most peaceful spot of the day. The ruin was indeed very much secondary to the greenness and calmness of the compound.

      September 19, 2022 - 3:41 pm Reply
  • WanderingCanadians

    It seems like this temple was all about enjoying the sounds and focusing on the smaller details. And I’d much rather stumble across a millipede than a spider!

    September 21, 2022 - 3:01 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for taking the time to catch up Linda, really appreciate that. Yes, I’m with you on the millipede versus spider question. Never a flicker of doubt.

      September 21, 2022 - 7:55 pm Reply
  • Toonsarah

    I’m glad you managed to capture some of the bird song. It’s not the same as being there but it does help to give a sense of the atmosphere you experienced here.

    October 6, 2022 - 3:20 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      That birdsong felt like a live performance by an orchestra in the Royal Albert Hall. The video indeed fails to do justice to it, but in the moment I just had to press record and try to bottle some of it.

      October 6, 2022 - 8:55 pm Reply

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