Day trip out to Prasat Beng Melea and a ride along the Ancient Angkorean Highway

Beng Melea Travel Blog

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Prasat Beng Melea
The most adventurous aspect of my Siemreap journey would have to be the Prasat Beng Melea day trip. The trip out to Prasat Beng Melea itself was a pretty standard long journey (we did come across a small ancient bridge on the way, and later did I realize there were many more on this modern/ancient highway) but the continuation from Beng Melea was an absolutely nut cracker (literally speaking, "absolute nut cracker").

Well the ruins of Prasat Beng Melea were an absolute wonder. Almost totally covered in shades of green from the trees, leaves and fungi, walking through the massive complex was truly a Tomb Raider experience. As I arrived early in the morning, I was lucky to have the whole complex all to myself, clambering through the ruinous hallways and climbing on top of the temple structure and sitting peacefully on the rooftop admiring the scenery.
Royal Ancient Angkorian Highway


My personal Beng Melea tour guide was a young policeman named Kak, who was very helpful in guiding me through the complex to the easier paths and also the lesser known paths. Kak informed me that he knew the road to Prasat Preah Kahn well, and that he knew where the 5 ancient bridges are located, and where the 3 ancient ruins on the way were.

After quickly discussing the next part of the journey with my Motodop (unfortunately I can't remember his name, as I always called him Pou - uncle), he declined my suggestion of staying behind and letting Kak take me personal. So off we went 3 to the one motorbike.

As we set off, it wasn't long till the ancient highway started to show its true form of ancient, as roads became rough, waterlogged, broken, muddy, and narrow and an absolute nightmare.
Kids far out in the jungle where they rarely see outsiders
I then wandered, if the locals called this road "good" what would their definition of a "bad" road be!!

The journey was very picturesque as we passed through forests, very very rural disparsed villages, and an array of friendly, smiling, waving children.

We stopped at every ancient bridge that we came across; coming to a total of 5, most had a Naga bulastrade in different states of disrepair.
- Spean Khmeng I
- Spean Khmeng II
- Spean Japon
- Spean Ta Ong
- Unknown Name

Quickly taking a few snapshots and recording it into my GPS unit, and continuing our journey to the next bridge.

Spean Ta Ong, was an absolutely amazing bridge, as it was the biggest one of the journey, and a massive river was still flowing through the many arches of the bridge.
Monk @ Prasat Beng Melea
The bridge was probably 25+ metres long!

We did not set out all the way to Prasat Preah Kahn as it would of required us to stay the night and it was getting late, so we turned around after visiting the biggest bridge along the journey and on the way back we stopped off near a village and asked for a few guides to show us to the ancient ruins located deep in the thick forest.

Two villagers offered, one with a Machete in his hand, ready to clear the path for us to get through. The hike through the forest was a very hot and sweaty journey, but it was a great experience and possibly my 1 year’s worth of exercise HAHAHA. We came upon what the locals called Prasat Thom, and we did a quick tour of the bush covered ruin and then set off to another ruin known locally as Prasat Tooch, which was again a further hike into the forest.
At one of the ruins along the Royal Ancient Highway
(I'll have to get back with the true names of the bridges and ruins I visited as they are all in my note book and I didn't bring it along with me)

We then headed back to the village, and I gave the locals some money and thanked them for their help. About 2km from reaching Prasat Beng Melea, we stopped on the side of the road and I wondered where the hell we were headed as there were no villages or people around. Kak quickly informed me that if you looked carefully to the right I'll see some stone blocks under the thick bush. He was right, what do you know; right beside the ancient highway was one of Jayavarman VII's ancient hospitals or pit stops. We made our way through the thick bush and did a quick tour of the ancient ruin and then quickly headed back to our place of origin.

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Prasat Beng Melea
Prasat Beng Melea
Royal Ancient Angkorian Highway
Royal Ancient Angkorian Highway
Kids far out in the jungle where t…
Kids far out in the jungle where …
Monk @ Prasat Beng Melea
Monk @ Prasat Beng Melea
At one of the ruins along the Roya…
At one of the ruins along the Roy…
Hut in the middle of no where
Hut in the middle of no where
Rural Village
Rural Village
A struggle to travel along the anc…
A struggle to travel along the an…
My Policeguard, Guide and Friend N…
My Policeguard, Guide and Friend …
My motodup, (dont know his name a…
My motodup, (don't know his name …
Prasat Thom
Prasat Thom
Prasat Thom
Prasat Thom
Prasat Thom
Prasat Thom
Ontop of Prasat Beng Melea
Ontop of Prasat Beng Melea
Prasat Beng Melea
Prasat Beng Melea
Broken Roads
Broken Roads
Scared as I approached to take a p…
Scared as I approached to take a …
One of the smaller bridges along t…
One of the smaller bridges along …
Muddy Roads along the Ancient High…
Muddy Roads along the Ancient Hig…
The largest bridge along the Beng …
The largest bridge along the Beng…
Midday swim to keep cool
Midday swim to keep cool
Trekking through the bush to Prasa…
Trekking through the bush to Pras…
Beng Melea
photo by: droonsta