Travel Report: Prasat Chrap Temple, Koh Ker.
Prasat Chrap Temple, Koh Ker.
It was mid afternoon by the time we rolled up at Prasat Chrap Temple. This was our eighth ancient structure of what had been a fantastic day exploring the isolated ruins of Koh Ker. Jumping out of the car, we made our way towards the entrance, where the sound of loud, passionate singing was impossible to ignore.
Entering the complex, I saw that the sound was coming from a young girl. She was swinging with gusto in a hammock, her earphones plugged in, perfectly unaware of us.
Hence she continued to belt out the traditional Khmer song she was singing. Until, that is, she suddenly became aware of my presence. It was a bit cheeky of me to film her I suppose, but she took the intrusion with good humour. And then simply went back to her singing as if I weren’t there.
Like so many of Koh Ker’s age-old delights, Prasat Chrap is a small and understated complex. Its main feature is three dark laterite towers, stacked side by side in a pleasingly sinister formation. All have lost their front walls and have blackened interiors, adding to the grisly vibe.
Prasat Chrap Temple, Koh Ker, Cambodia.
Unfortunately, historians are totally in the dark regarding the temple’s backstory and which gods were worshipped here. Indeed there are no surviving inscriptions or lingas of any kind. They say it was almost certainly built in the early 10th century, around the same time as other Koh Ker temples.
Besides its distinctive towers, Prasat Chrap has a number of broken lion statues. You can find them behind the towers, scattered near the back wall of the complex.
Brilliantly, you can even find a few stone bases containing the feet of those lions that toppled long ago.
All in all, I’d say Prasat Chrap is well worth a quick stop as you drive around Koh Ker. It won’t take more than ten minutes to scale the compound and it’s on the way to the fascinating Prasat Neang Khmao, aka The Black Lady.
Koh Ker, Cambodia.
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.
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.
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Too many temples! Arghhhh! I’ll definitely not see all this time around!
Ha ha right enough Anna. I think this string of understated Koh Ker temples is not essential. Only for people who had six months living in the region and time to burn ha ha. Thanks for your readership, I always appreciate your comments.
Another great temple Leighton! And I loved the girl in the video. She was completely in her own little world, until she realised she was being watched ha ha
I should hasten to add that I was already filming when I heard her ha ha. In any case it was a lovely moment and luckily she saw the funny side of it. Thanks for checking in, Natty.
Another interesting temple Leighton and I especially liked the lions feet remains!
Thanks for checking in, Marion. I write this comment from Batumi Botanical Garden in Georgia, an absolutely gorgeous place. Looking forward to publishing this one someday. Hope you are keeping well at this sensitive time in Blighty.
Yet another wonderful cluster of temples to explore and photograph even if they are heavily damaged. The three laterite towers are truly massive in size. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 🙂 Aiva
Thank you Aiva! It is such a simple compound, but I did find those towers arresting in their simplicity.
Ah, a welcoming serenade. Any idea what she was doing there? I noticed the bike but no signs of habitation. The one tower looked like the doorway had been filled with stone blocks. More mystery. And the bodies of the lions not right next to their feet. But no explanation. Hmm.
Yeah these kinds of temples throw up more questions than answers. Which isn’t always a bad thing. Thanks for keeping up with these somewhat self-indulgent articles.
So one could say that your temple tour was “ruined” and that this one was really “Chrap-py” Leighton. Good to catch an unguarded moment with the girl singing as long as she was OK with it. I know in 1982, we were warned about taking photos of the Thai people, as many still believed that a photo would steal their spirit. Out of country travel is such a treasure once you know the local customs. Thanks for sharing. Allan
She was cool with if thankfully. I gave her a few thumbs up signs which she returned and that was that. In Asia photography has always been cool in my experience and indeed I’ve often been on the other side of the lens. I’m thinking back to China specifically in 2009. Excellent puns Allan as always!
You have made the rounds with the temples! They’re all so interesting in their own way. They look like something you’d see in an Indiana Jones movies!
Absolutely, the Indiana Jones observation is one that comes up again and again. Appreciate you keeping up with the Koh Ker temples, Tricia.
It is really neat how the ruins immerse with the landscape here leading up to the temple.
Thanks for the catch up Allie, much appreciated!
Singing without restraint is something that a lot of us ought to learn from that girl; a life without singing to your heart’s content isn’t much of a life at all, haha! All the same, the lion motif at the Prasat Chrap Temple sounds majestic, despite the ruins. Enjoying your posts about the Koh Ker temples as you publish them!
I usually save singing to my heart’s content for the shower, so huge props to this girl, as you say. Thanks for keeping up with the Koh Ker temples, just a few more to come out over the weekend and then I’ll be taking a much deserved one week posting break.
Not singing birds, but a singing girl – that’s cute! Looking at the lion statues, it makes me think that this temple must have been significant (centuries ago).
The singing girl really made this experience for me. Quite unexpected and sweet.
Another intriguing temple! It’s probably refreshing to visit the less well known ones and not have all the crowds to deal with.
Very much so Lyssy, in that respect Koh Ker is a much more authentic experience than Angkor.
I love that you describe them as pleasingly sinister! A perfectly put constrast I think. They definitely give off an off putting feel with the blackened interiors…almost like there were fires within the buildings.
You’re the second person to mention fire, there might be something in that Meg.
I must say, I’m enjoying seeing all these temples and ruins through the lens of your camera. It’s too bad that the history of some of these places is lost though, but I guess we’ll just have to use our imagination.
You’re closing in on the end, just two more Koh Ker temples to go ha ha. And two of the best I’d say. Thanks for the kind comments, we really value your readership these last few years.
You have gone where few tourists have been, visiting all these temples! I liked the birdsong and the hammock singer. But the caressing trees were the best.
Thanks Ruth, Koh Ker remains one of the absolute highlights of our last two and a half years together.
I like the mystery of these blackened towers. Although there is much less to these ruins than Angkor, I can sense how special it would be to have these places to yourselves, without the Angkor crowds
The solitude played a huge part, yes. To be granted a private audience with these ruins is something we’ll always remember.