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Ancient capital of Koh Ker

Ancient capital of Koh Ker

The ancient Khmer city of Koh Ker is set in a distant jungle location with up to a hundred ruined temples including a huge stepped pyramid, Prasat Thom.

Koh Ker was the capital of Angkor from AD 928 to 9a44, hence it is a very important Khmer archaeological site.

There are about 30 temples that can be visited, and they are all in an un-restored condition. Some contain large lingas over a metre high. The temples have been badly damaged by looters, and fragments of statues are scattered in the area. The jungle is still littered with land mines, but the main temples have been made safe by CMAC mine clearance teams, who are still operating in the area.  

The most important site, the pyramid of Prasat Thom, was closed for safety reasons in March 2008. Up until 2005 the roads were extremely difficult, but the new road linking Beng Mealea is mostly paved. To travel to Koh Ker now takes about two-and-a-half hours from Siem Reap via Damdek on Route 6.  Facilities for visitors include a clean new WC block and sheltered eating places at Prasat Thom. Accommodation in the village of Sray Yong, ten kilometres to the south is basic, but new guesthouses are due to open for the peak season.

The tourism development has benefits for some locals, but I am not convinced that it will become a major tourism destination, as there are so many temples at Angkor to visit.


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