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Travel Report: Prasat Pram Temple, Koh Ker.

The amazing Prasat Pram Temple Koh Ker Cambodia

Prasat Pram Temple, Koh Ker, Cambodia.

June 2020.

The final stop of our day exploring Koh Ker’s ancient ruins came at Prasat Pram Temple. By this point we were exhausted, hot and thoroughly drenched in our own sweat. Consequently, we felt more than ready to head home, where a cold shower and swimming pool awaited us at Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel. Looking back, I’m glad we didn’t skip this compound, the so-called Five Towers Temple.

An amazingly twisty tree Koh Ker Cambodia

A lovely welcome from our last temple of the day.

In fact, our decision to squeeze in Prasat Pram was immediately vindicated as we entered the complex and came across this stupendously twisty tree. Just wonderful.

Exploring Prasat Pram Koh Ker Cambodia

Prasat Pram Temple.

Pram means five in Khmer and indeed the complex features the ruins of five towers. Historians don’t know much about the temple, although one theory goes that its creators never actually finished building it.

Travel guide to the Koh Ker Temples in Cambodia

Prasat Pram Temple.

A further hypothesis is that the towers here once formed part of a crematorium. This lack of solid historic context certainly doesn’t hold the place back though. Rather, much like many other Koh Ker temples, it simply adds to the overall mystery of the complex.

Visit Prasat Pram Temple Koh Ker Cambodia

Koh Ker, Cambodia.

Something that’s not in doubt is the incredible beauty of the towers. Strangler fig trees have completely overtaken two of them, their invasive branches twisting and turning over, around and even within the brickwork.

Prasat Pram Temple, Koh Ker.

The amazing twisted tree temple at Koh Ker Cambodia

Prasat Pram Temple.

Historians believe all five towers once housed lingas, though today the interiors stand quite empty. The National Museum in Phnom Penh showcases a few pieces discovered here, including a damaged lion statue and a four-armed Vishnu sculpture.

A linga statue at Prasat Pram Temple Koh Ker Cambodia

One of a few surviving lingas.

However, I was happy to see that not all the lingas had been raided for display in the Cambodian capital. Right enough, half a dozen still lie scattered in various states of decay across the complex.

The isolated temple of Prasat Pram at Koh Ker in Cambodia

Prasat Pram Temple.

The entire ruin was so exceptionally mystical and photogenic, we forgot all about how tired we were and spent half an hour wandering around the towers, breathing them all in from different angles.

Twisted tree roots Koh Ker Cambodia

Prasat Pram Temple.

What a terrific end to a memorable day touring the outstanding temples of Koh Ker. “You ready go home?” asked our driver, with a wide grin. Yes, we were definitely ready to make tracks after an unforgettable day touring Koh Ker.

Personal driver and tour guide for the Koh Ker Temples in Cambodia

Ready to roll.

Prasat Pram is just one of many fascinating temples scattered around Koh Ker. If you want to visit, 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 branch infested doorway at Prasat Pram Temple in Cambodia

Prasat Pram Temple.

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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54 Comments

  • Anna

    The trees are insane!!! Love them!!!

    September 18, 2022 - 1:12 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      They are amazing, “instaworthy” as some might say. Thanks for following all of my Angkor and Koh Ker articles, Anna. When do you leave fo Cambodia?

      September 18, 2022 - 3:57 pm Reply
      • Anna

        Next tuesday the 27th…. Can’t wait!!

        September 19, 2022 - 3:04 am
  • kagould17

    OMG. Looks like you saved the best for last Leighton. This place and those shots are amazing. Like a horror show you can’t look away from. The strangler figs are artistic on their chaos. We first saw examples of their work in the Cairns area of Australia. Well done for sticking it out. Now, where’s the nearest beer stand? Thanks for sharing. Have a great Sunday. Allan

    September 18, 2022 - 4:48 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Glad you appreciated the twists and turns of the series, Allan. If you had hated this piece, I may have had to throw my toys out of the (Prasat) Pram. That cold beer was all the way back in our apartment unfortunately, but boy it was worth the wait.

      September 18, 2022 - 5:50 pm Reply
  • Memo

    I just love a temple that is deeply rooted in history. Those strangler fig trees are aptly named. They almost look like they’re moving. An animator’s dream come true.

    September 18, 2022 - 4:55 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      I know what you mean about the illusory nature of some of these photographs. It felt like that in real time too as we viewed these spectacular structures. Thanks, as ever Memo, for your unwavering readership.

      September 18, 2022 - 5:51 pm Reply
  • Stan

    wow, wow, wow. talk about pulling it out of the bag at the end. sublime trees to say the least, a deranged artist couldnt have wrapped them any better around the shrines. a great end to an awesome series

    September 18, 2022 - 5:54 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks Stan, Prasat Pram does feel like a decent series closer. Thanks for your contributions to the various threads.

      September 18, 2022 - 11:44 pm Reply
  • Mallee Stanley

    Wow!

    September 18, 2022 - 6:26 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Short and sweet, thanks for stopping by Mallee.

      September 18, 2022 - 6:28 pm Reply
  • Nic

    This place is simply stunning, amazing photos! So eerie and mysterious… one can only try to imagine what it once was. It also seems so isolated, it looks like you had the place for yourselves!

    September 18, 2022 - 6:36 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      The temples of Koh Ker are really isolated Nic, huddled in a forest region in northern Cambodia. This one, our last structure of a long and tiring but happy day, was an absolute peach. Thanks for checking in!

      September 18, 2022 - 6:42 pm Reply
  • Iman Lily

    Those trees!! Nature is taking back what is hers.

    September 18, 2022 - 9:46 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Glad you like them, it’s great to have you back! Hope all is well with you in your part of the world.

      September 18, 2022 - 9:48 pm Reply
      • Iman Lily

        Thank you. Things are going well. It’s just been really busy with the start of the new academic year.

        September 19, 2022 - 6:26 pm
  • salsaworldtraveler

    I didn’t know about Koh Ker before your wonderful series. I’m glad no one knows (or claims to know) exactly what all of the temples were used for. That way I can make up my own theories about the ancient linga-worshipping civilization that made them. 😉 The amazing strangler figs remind of something form the movie War of the Worlds with Tom Cruise. Thanks for enduring the elements and the jungle to find them and share these intriguing photos.

    September 18, 2022 - 11:24 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks John, that gives a whole new perception to the idea of “Cruise-ing” around Koh Ker. Glad you enjoyed the series, thanks for all your contributions.

      September 18, 2022 - 11:52 pm Reply
  • Rebecca

    Thanks for sharing your adventures in Koh Ker! All of the twisty tree roots at the entrance look so ominous, yet fascinating. Enjoy your short break from blogging, and I can’t wait to see where your adventures take you next!

    September 18, 2022 - 11:51 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks Rebecca, you’re a reading trooper, for sure. Looking forward to the break and indeed to returning to the blogosphere next Sunday.

      September 18, 2022 - 11:54 pm Reply
  • Mike and Kellye Hefner

    The strangler fig roots add to the intrigue of the towers. Another great post, Leighton, but I think the Black Lady temple was my favorite of the last five posts. Something about that one speaks to me. Thanks so much for sharing all of the Koh Ker temples.

    September 19, 2022 - 12:52 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Thank you Kellye for following the series. Brilliant to hear your favourite, I might just agree with you 😉

      September 19, 2022 - 12:56 am Reply
  • thehungrytravellers.blog

    Fabulous how those vines grow around the buildings – well, around anything and everything – particularly when they’ve aged and become so much thicker and more robust. That was a pretty good sweep up of the outlying and lesser known temples.

    September 19, 2022 - 12:46 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Appreciate the catch up Phil, Koh Ker was such an stunning compound and it just felt way more authentic to have everything to ourselves.

      September 19, 2022 - 12:50 pm Reply
  • wetanddustyroads

    Wow, just look at those tree roots! I can see why you were happy to see this temple ruins – fascinating! And I’m sure the shower at the end of the day were equally welcome!

    September 19, 2022 - 2:00 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Corna, what a star you are for ploughing through this marathon catchup of Koh Ker articles. Looking forward to your return to blogging, have a great week.

      September 19, 2022 - 3:48 pm Reply
      • wetanddustyroads

        It was an absolute pleasure … with a cup of tea, it was really enjoyable to read about more of your temple visits! I have a couple of posts up my sleeve … this time of year, Langebaan and its flowers never seems to disappoint!

        September 19, 2022 - 5:08 pm
      • Leighton

        Looking forward to those!

        September 19, 2022 - 5:13 pm
  • Lyssy In The City

    Those trees and roots sure are cool! Definitely worth a stop and prolonging of the cold shower 🙂

    September 19, 2022 - 6:09 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      It was a lovely way to end the day. Thanks for following this Cambodian temple series through, Lyssy.

      September 19, 2022 - 6:11 pm Reply
  • grandmisadventures

    Oh wow, how stunning! What an incredible mix of building and nature! 🙂

    September 19, 2022 - 8:08 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for the catch up Meg, it’s good to have finally finished publishing the ancient ruins of Koh Ker.

      September 19, 2022 - 8:26 pm Reply
  • NortheastAllie

    The Prasat Pram Temple looks so cool with the trees hugging it! Beautiful photos of this very unique region.

    September 19, 2022 - 10:02 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Appreciate you following this Koh Ker series, Allie. You’re right, it is truly a unique corner of the world. We feel privileged to have explored it and had the place to ourselves.

      September 19, 2022 - 10:15 pm Reply
  • Annie Berger

    What a tremendous series of posts you’ve written, Leighton, on the Koh Ker temples. The strangler vines were enough to give one nightmares, though!

    September 20, 2022 - 5:49 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Thank you Annie, your readership is much appreciated. What a journey it has been, both the visits themselves and this somewhat epic run of posts on Siem Reap over the last few months. A break from Cambodia now, I think, before I return to Siem Reap posting with a new focus. Have a great week.

      September 20, 2022 - 9:10 am Reply
  • Lingo in Transit

    The trees wrapping around the Prasat Pram Temple adds a sense of mystery to it and marks how old these temples are. Beautiful!

    September 20, 2022 - 6:50 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks, I’m glad they caught your attention. Appreciate the read and the comment 🙂

      September 20, 2022 - 9:12 am Reply
  • Bama

    I know the strangler fig trees will cause further damage over time to these structures, but I can’t deny the charm they have created. There’s something so photogenic and atmospheric about an ancient structure that is partially reclaimed by Mother Nature. It’s really great that you also visited these lesser-known temples, Leighton. Now I’m also tempted to see them in person! 😀

    September 20, 2022 - 9:18 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey Bama, thanks for checking in. It’s a good point you raise that the very thing that makes these towers such a visual feast is also what is contributing to their demise. It feels good to have gotten these Koh Ker visits out into the blogsphere.

      September 20, 2022 - 9:23 am Reply
  • NattyTravels

    Those strangler fig roots are incredible! You saved the best for last. Fascinating!!! Enjoy your blogging break .

    September 20, 2022 - 2:42 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thank you Natty, it was great to finish this series off with a temple as stunning as Prasat Pram.

      September 20, 2022 - 4:59 pm Reply
  • Travels Through My Lens

    Thank you Leighton, for powering through the heat and discomfort so you could share this with us. Like all your readers; those trees are completely amazing. Thanks for sharing!

    September 21, 2022 - 12:02 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Glad you also like these crazy, twisting trees and their invasive handiwork. Thanks for following my Koh Ker series Tricia, much appreciated.

      September 21, 2022 - 1:13 am Reply
  • Little Miss Traveller

    I’ve enjoyed this series of posts Leighton and in this one the gnarled tree branches are stunning. Hope your week is going well. Have been a bit busy so apologies for slightly later than usual response. M.

    September 21, 2022 - 2:05 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks Marion, I appreciate that. No worries, I totally relate to the busyness, sometimes it feels there aren’t enough hours in the day.

      September 21, 2022 - 2:07 pm Reply
  • Travel Report: Prasat Pram Temple, Koh Ker. - A Little TOO Picture Imperfect

    […] Travel Report: Prasat Pram Temple, Koh Ker. […]

    September 23, 2022 - 6:31 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for the repost!

      September 24, 2022 - 10:02 am Reply
  • ravi

    Combodian govt are doing anything in restoring these temples ?

    September 24, 2022 - 5:48 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey Ravi, that’s a good question. I couldn’t answer with any real authority, but my gut feeling is that they aren’t doing much, if anything at all. Koh Ker just doesn’t get the attention, nor indeed the income of Angkor, so I guess they are just left as they are. It’s clear that Prasat Thom (particularly its Pyramid Temple) had some restoration work done, along with the building of a new staircase for better access. The smaller temples, however, feel very neglected indeed. Which, I have to say, does have its positives when you go exploring across Koh Ker.

      September 24, 2022 - 10:06 am Reply
  • rkrontheroad

    Wow! So amazing. It looks as though the trees are caressing the ruins. The shapes are endless. Loved this one!

    September 28, 2022 - 8:36 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey Ruth, this was the perfect final temple of the day in many respects. Glad you caught this one!

      September 28, 2022 - 8:44 pm Reply
  • Chumkisen

    Loved ur description and photos. The trees look amazing. The best part of this blog is that it is concise and crisp.

    October 2, 2022 - 3:58 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for the kind words, appreciate the read.

      October 2, 2022 - 9:19 am Reply

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