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Koh Ker

3.9 /5

Weather:

Best Time: October - February Read More

Ideal duration: 2 days

Nearest Airport: Siem Reap International Airport Check Flights

"An Ancient Capital City With a Pyramid Tower "

Koh Ker Tourism

Koh Ker is an ancient capital city of the Khmer empire, located about 3 hours away from Siem Reap in northern Cambodia. This old city is home to many temples, buildings and other monuments, and was a thriving town home to over 20,000 people. Surrounded by thick jungles, many of these monuments have been invaded by forests. 

Due to its remote location amidst this canopy, Koh Ker's ruins are well-preserved and have avoided invasion and destruction. It is surprisingly not well-known to the tourists who bypass Koh Ker enroute Angkor.  The city of Koh Ker is known for its pyramid tower structure Prasat Thom or Prang. It looks similar to a Mayan civilization monument at 36 metres high, with their seven tiers offering splendid views of the surrounding jungle.

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Places to Visit

Prasat Thom and Prang - The central pyramid temple complex with towers Rahal - A large ancient Baray or a Khmer reservoir, which was the primary source of water for irrigation in the nearby areas during the Khmer period. The water was fed by the nearby Sen River. Trapeang Andong Preng - A large basin with laterite steps located close to the location where a Royal Palace made of wood stood. It is believed to be a Royal Bath. Moat and Outer enclosure - Although not much of these two remain, the outer ring consists of two levels of walls separated a large moat several hundred meters deep. Palaces - Two storey buildings close to the parking area, which were places of worship for the members of the royal family. Pavillion and Laterite towers - The Pavillion leading to the main complex is an attraction not to be missed because of the grand sculptures and carvings in stone. The intricately designed towers had a large entrance gate in between. Temples on the way to Koh Ker - Prasat Pram, known for its five grand towers, Prasat Bak - a temple dedicated to Hindu God Ganesha and Prasat Chen, known for the relics depicting scenes from Hindu epic Ramayana. Other monuments like Prasat Balang, known for large Linga shrines, Prasat Thneng, Leung Bye and Prasat Damrei, a sanctuary famous for its elephant carvings.

Tickets

10 USD per person for foreign travelers. Tickets need to be bought at the Beng Mealea ticket centre. An additional 5 USD if you want a tour with an English speaking guide.

History & Significance

Koh Ker was the capital of the Angkorian Khmer Empire from AD 928 to AD 944. Inscriptions found in the monuments state that the city was known as Lingapaura - the town of Lingams or Chok Gargyar - A town of iron tree forest. The foundations for the establishment of Koh Ker was laid out by the King Jayavarman IV, who undertook a large-scale construction of the city. The city was continuously developed until the reign of Harshavarman II. It prospered as the capital and the centre of administration during this period. Koh Ker stretches for about 9km wide and 4km long, and is home to more than 182 sanctuaries, out of which 42 structures have been successfully excavated so far. But only about two dozen of these monuments are open to tourists as the others are not de-mined.

Architecture

All the structures were intricately sculpted, developing into a benchmark style of art and architecture during his period. The most significant temple‑complex among the city's attractions is Prasat Thom, a double sanctuary, built in a tapered or a pyramid-style of architecture. It is a unique structure as there are no other temples found in Cambodia following this Khmer style. The 36-metre tall, seven-tiered pyramid functioned as the state temple, which also houses shrines consisting of large Lingas. Among the other structures of architectural importance in Koh Ker is Prasat Krahom. It is the second-largest structure at Koh Ker, named after the red bricks and the lion statues that once stood around the complex. The temple is known for its Naga balustrades in the causeway, many galleries consisting of bas reliefs, libraries and moats next to ponds. The characteristic feature about these structures is that mostly laterite, sandstone and bricks were used in their construction.

Tips

It is recommended to book your accommodation in advance in Seyiong village if you plan to stay overnight or a couple of days to explore Koh Ker. Due to limited availability, the guesthouses get full during the high season and local holidays. There are a few options in restaurants for food and drinks within the site so that you can have your food at the premises. But the restroom facilities are not good.

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FAQs on Koh Ker

What is the best way to reach Koh ker?

The best way to reach Koh Ker is to hire a cab if traveling from Siem Reap. It takes about 3 hours to reach and costs about 75 USD for a round trip, which costs a little less if shared. You can also reach the nearest village Seyiong by renting a cab or a motorbike, from where there are many Tuk-Tuks available on rent to get to Koh Ker.
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What are the places near Koh ker?

The top places near to Koh ker are Phnom penh which is 160 km from Koh ker, Kep which is located 146 km from Koh ker, Siem reap which is located 214 km from Koh ker, Koh kong which is located 0 km from Koh ker, Koh rong which is located 58 km from Koh ker

What is the best time to visit Koh ker?

The best time to visit Koh Ker is between October to February, when the weather is not hot, and the humidity is manageable. Since there is a lot of walking to be done, it's best to travel there during this high season. Go in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the hot sun and for pleasant sunrise and sunset views of the surrounding landscape. 
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What is not so good about Koh ker?

Owing to its vast size consisting of more than 20 attractions within the site itself, travelers need at least two days to explore Koh Ker comfortably. Accommodation and other amenities are fundamental as the region receives fewer tourists.

What is famous about Koh ker?

Prasat Thom, the central attraction of Koh Ker offering excellent views of the Cambodian jungles along with its impressive architecture, is one of the main reasons to visit Koh Ker.

Who should visit Koh ker?

Koh Ker is a fantastic place to explore if you love architecture and history. 'It's not for senior travelers or those that can't walk around a lot.

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