The Koh Ker Temples
You’d be hard pushed to find someone who hasn’t heard of Angkor Wat. Moreover, most travel enthusiasts can reel off the names of several other Angkor Temples. But very few people, it seems, take the time to visit the temples of Koh Ker.
During our six month stay in Siem Reap, we met plenty of expats who raved about Koh Ker. The more we researched, the more I realised that we couldn’t leave Cambodia without seeing them.
Finally, in June 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 crisis, we took the plunge. After months of predominantly self isolating at our hotel, Sladja and I were in desperate need of a trip. Furthermore, we knew what an incredible opportunity we had to visit this remote collection of temples at a time when there were barely any tourists in the country.
The temples lie deep in the jungle of Northern Cambodia, about 120 kilometres from Siem Reap. With literally zero public transport options and the ferocious June heat to contend with, we decided to hire a driver for the day. Because sometimes a tuk tuk just isn’t going to cut the mustard.
Happily, this extra expense was well worth it. In fact, our experiences exploring the ancient, abandoned structures of Koh Ker will live long in the memory.
Architecturally, these temples have everything. From a stupendous, seven-tiered pyramid and branch-strangled towers, to a fascinating collection of single-chamber shrines home to phallic imagery.
Moving between the sites, we came across screeching monkeys and melodic birdsong. Not to mention some of the most incredible creepy crawlies I’ve ever seen and a couple of genuinely evil spiders.
For the full lowdown, why not dive into my articles on our unforgettable day touring the temples of Koh Ker.