Travel Report: Prasat Pram Temple, Koh Ker.
Prasat Pram Temple, Koh Ker, Cambodia.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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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The trees are insane!!! Love them!!!
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?
Next tuesday the 27th…. Can’t wait!!
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
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.
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.
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.
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
Thanks Stan, Prasat Pram does feel like a decent series closer. Thanks for your contributions to the various threads.
Short and sweet, thanks for stopping by Mallee.
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!
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!
Those trees!! Nature is taking back what is hers.
Glad you like them, it’s great to have you back! Hope all is well with you in your part of the world.
Thank you. Things are going well. It’s just been really busy with the start of the new academic year.
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.
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.
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!
Thanks Rebecca, you’re a reading trooper, for sure. Looking forward to the break and indeed to returning to the blogosphere next Sunday.
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.
Thank you Kellye for following the series. Brilliant to hear your favourite, I might just agree with you 😉
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.
Appreciate the catch up Phil, Koh Ker was such an stunning compound and it just felt way more authentic to have everything to ourselves.
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!
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.
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!
Looking forward to those!
Those trees and roots sure are cool! Definitely worth a stop and prolonging of the cold shower 🙂
It was a lovely way to end the day. Thanks for following this Cambodian temple series through, Lyssy.
Oh wow, how stunning! What an incredible mix of building and nature! 🙂
Thanks for the catch up Meg, it’s good to have finally finished publishing the ancient ruins of Koh Ker.
The Prasat Pram Temple looks so cool with the trees hugging it! Beautiful photos of this very unique region.
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.
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!
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.
The trees wrapping around the Prasat Pram Temple adds a sense of mystery to it and marks how old these temples are. Beautiful!
Thanks, I’m glad they caught your attention. Appreciate the read and the comment 🙂
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! 😀
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.
Those strangler fig roots are incredible! You saved the best for last. Fascinating!!! Enjoy your blogging break .
Thank you Natty, it was great to finish this series off with a temple as stunning as Prasat Pram.
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!
Glad you also like these crazy, twisting trees and their invasive handiwork. Thanks for following my Koh Ker series Tricia, much appreciated.
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.
Thanks Marion, I appreciate that. No worries, I totally relate to the busyness, sometimes it feels there aren’t enough hours in the day.
[…] Travel Report: Prasat Pram Temple, Koh Ker. […]
Thanks for the repost!
Combodian govt are doing anything in restoring these temples ?
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.
Wow! So amazing. It looks as though the trees are caressing the ruins. The shapes are endless. Loved this one!
Hey Ruth, this was the perfect final temple of the day in many respects. Glad you caught this one!
Loved ur description and photos. The trees look amazing. The best part of this blog is that it is concise and crisp.
Thanks for the kind words, appreciate the read.
I enjoyed reading this post, it has brought so many lovely memories of our visit to Siem Reap.
Beautiful photos and writing.
Thank you Gilda, that’s very kind. Appreciate you reading and taking the time to comment.
Oh wow, I love this! Visually it has to be the best of all the Koh Ker temples you’ve taken us to. I’m so glad you squeezed it in 🙂 Those trees hugging the towers are just amazing!
I was anticipating your arrival at this one, ha. In terms of the wow factor, it’s a toss up between this and the Pyramid Temple for me. Thanks for polishing off the Koh Ker temples, Sarah.
Your temple write ups are incredible great work Leighton!
Thanks Emma, I appreciate you reading and leaving a comment!