Banteay Chhmar is a historical and archaeological gem tucked away in the remote northwest region of Cambodia. This ancient temple complex is located in the Banteay Meanchey Province, not far from the border with Thailand.
While not as famous as Angkor Wat or some of Cambodia’s other renowned temples, Banteay Chhmar is equally captivating, offering visitors a chance to explore its rich history and intricate carvings in a tranquil and less-visited setting.
There are many things and activities that visitors can explore in Banteay Chhmar.
Here, Hanoi Voyages helps you have useful information about Banteay Chhmar. Let’s find out!
The main attraction in Banteay Chhmar is the temple itself. It’s a sprawling temple complex with intricately carved galleries, stunning bas-reliefs, and towers.
This massive temple city complex is one of the most intriguing in the Khmer empire, both for its size and its remote location. Never excavated, Banteay Chhmar fits the picture of a lost Khmer city with its ruined face-towers, carvings, forest surroundings and bird life flying through the temple. It has a romantic and discovery feel to it.
Like Preah Khan, Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom, Banteay Chhmar originally enclosed a city with the temple at the heart. There are no traces of the city that surrounded the temple.
Prasat Yeay Kom is a Hindu temple in Cambodia. Prasat Yeay Kom is situated North of the center of Banteay Chhmar, near the Banteay Chhmar Temple. Little remains save the central sanctuary atop a pile of collapsed masonry. Some trees still stand, their roots slowly creeping their way between the stones and some notable bas-relief work remains on the site. Look for the very well-preserved carving of what looks like two fighting parrots entwined.
Prasat Ta Nem can be found on the way back to Banteay Chmmar, facing the causeway of giants across the western moat. Despite the fact that only two of the original four faces remain, Ta Nem is widely regarded as the most important representation of face towers in Banteay Chhmar. It is distinguished and preserved by a row of praying figures added directly below the faces in the form of a necklace.
The next place is the forest-clad Prasat Samnang Tasok (Lucky Old Hill Temple) to the west of Banteay Chhmar. This is quite a beautiful site, with the main approach straightforward with perhaps the remnants of libraries to the left and right as you walk towards the central sanctuary. The Bayon faces on top of the central tower are visible, and the surrounding forest creates an evocative atmosphere.
Prasat Ta Prohm, located south of Banteay Chhmar, offers a peaceful jungle scene. Set within a sacred lake, which even in the dry season was filled with water, this is a location that invites serene contemplation. The tower, which is surrounded by vegetation, is in good condition. A broken relief on the ground in front of the tower depicts a multi-armed Avalokiteshvara holding a book and a bottle, and is most likely the entity to whom the temple was dedicated.
Banteay Chhmar is a remote and less-visited Cambodian destination, known for its historical temple complex and serene countryside. While it offers a more off-the-beaten-path experience, accommodation options in the area are limited compared to more popular tourist destinations in Cambodia. However, there are a few choices for lodging in and around Banteay Chhmar, including homestays and guesthouses.
Staying with a local family in a homestay is one of the most authentic ways to experience Banteay Chhmar and its surroundings. You’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in Cambodian culture and enjoy traditional Khmer meals. Local homestays often include basic amenities and a warm welcome.
Banteay Chhmar Homestay, like the others in the surrounding villages, is part of a community-based tourism project. It allows visitors to live like locals in rural Cambodia while also providing income for the families involved and a pool of funds for village development.
There are a few guesthouses in the vicinity of Banteay Chhmar that offer basic accommodations. These guesthouses typically provide simple rooms with essential amenities.
There are bus services that connect Siem Reap to Banteay Chhmar, usually with stops in Sisophon along the way. Some bus companies operate this route. However, schedules and services may vary, so it’s advisable to check with local bus companies or travel agencies for the latest information on bus services to Banteay Chhmar.
The distance between Banteay Chhmar and Siem Reap is around 163km (101 miles) and you can get there by taxi which takes around 2 hours and 50 minutes.
The fastest, most direct, and most comfortable way of getting to Banteay Chhmar is by private taxi from Siem Reap, Battambang or Poipet for 100-135 USD return.