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Temple watch: Back road to Beng Mealea

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Continuing our trek along Route 66 from Preah Khan to Beng Mealea, we searched for the Triple Earth Banks of the Temple City. On previous visits I had never seen these jungle-hidden boundary markers, but using GPS mapping we were able to locate them quite easily, as the track climbed steeply over the three banks, which are about 50 metres apart. We then took the ancient highway toward the jungle temple of Beng Mealea. Route 66 lived up to its reputation as being one of the worst roads in Cambodia. Chest-high grass and bushes grew in the centre of the tracks, which meandered through semi-open jungle. Many times we had to reverse from fallen trees. The deeply-rutted track dropped to a river that was not particularly deep, but the steep, muddy bank on the opposite side proved a major obstacle - we resorted to using the winch around a tree to haul the Land Cruiser up. After three hours of deeply-rutted jungle tracks and several dry rivers, we emerged at Kvau village, which is little more than a crossroads, but has a new road linking it to Kampong Kdei and Route 6. We continued along the new route passing over a number of ancient bridges. The most impressive bridge along this route is Ta Ohm, crossing the Chikreng River. It's a marvellous structure with about 15 arches and appeared to be more than 50 metres long. 

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