The ruin temple was constructed early 11th century by King Suryavarman II, Hindu, Style Angkor Wat. Beng Mealea is a spectacular sight to behold. It’s one of the most mysterious temples at Angkor , as nature has well and truly run riot. Built to the same floorplan as Angkor Wat, exploring this titanic of temples is Angkor ’s ultimate Indiana Jones experience. Built in the 12th century under Suryavarman II (r 1112-52), Beng Mealea is enclosed by a massive moat measuring 1.2km by 900m, much of which has dried up today.
The temple used to be utterly subsumed by jungle, but some of the dense foliage has been cut back in recent years. Entering from the south, visitors wend their way over piles of masonry, through long dark chambers and between hanging vines to arrive at the central tower, which has completely collapsed. Hidden away among the rubble and foliage are several impressive carvings, as well as a well-preserved library in the northeastern quadrant. The temple is a special place and it is worth taking the time to explore it thoroughly. There is also a large wooden walkway to the centre, originally constructed for the filming of Jean-Jacques Annaud’s Two (2004).
Beng Mealea is at the centre of an ancient Angkorian road connecting Angkor Thom and Preah Khan in Preah Vihear Province . A small Angkorian bridge just west of Chau Srei Vibol temple is the only remaining trace of the old Angkorian road between Beng Mealea and Angkor Thom; between Beng Mealea and Preah Khan there are at least 10 bridges abandoned in the forest. This is a way for extreme adventurers to get to Preah Khan temple ; however, don’t undertake this journey lightly.
It now costs US around US$5 to visit Beng Mealea and there are additional small charges for cars and motorcycles – make sure you work out in advance who is paying this. It is best to undertake a long day trip combining Beng Mealea and Koh Ker.