Yet another wondrous temple built by the great king Jayavarman VII. One day, this king decided to start building temples left and right. He built Ta Prohm to honor his mother, Preah Khan to honor his father, and Bayon to honor the most important person in a man’s life, hi
s wife ..mself. I have to admit that when I first went to Cambodia, Preah Khan was my least favorite of the four main temples. I originally felt like I had wasted my time since I was so exhausted and it was the farthest temple we visited from Siem Reap. It is amazing how a person’s state of mind can affect how they feel about a place.
After talking to a few other travelers, I was surprised by how many picked this ‘pile of rubble’ as their favorite. As the least reconstructed of the major temples, they made me realize that it gives you a true sense of antiquity by NOT being restored. Also, as it is more out of the way than Bayon, Angkor Wat or Ta Prohm, many tourists who try to visit all of the temples in a single day skip this one all together, leading to a far more intimate encounter.
Much like Ta Prohm, Preah Khan also has trees growing everywhere, even on top of the temple.
So, why visit Preah Khan?
There are three features that I found particularly interesting in this site. First, the entrance has quite the bridge. I must say that I have never seen anything quite like it.
Second, the entire temple is at ground level and all of the central doors align. So, by looking at the front door, you can see all the way to the back door exit. Just hope that no one gets in your way of that super cool shot!
Finally, exiting the back door, you realize you are in a jungle. There is intense forest all around every temple in Angkor, but it is in Preah Khan where you really notice it, away from all the crowds. Many monkeys hang around here too, bathing in the nearby pools.
Don’t skip this temple thinking it is a waste of time, but don’t over exert yourself or a clever monkey might steal that precious final water bottle you’ve been saving!