Subscribe Search

Search form

Temple watch: Angkor's ancient Route 66

Temple watch: Angkor's ancient Route 66


An ancient highway known as Route 66 links Angkor with the temples of Beng Mealea and the vast temple of Preah Khan Kampong Svay. We used the recently improved route for the first time on a 4WD tour to this temple in December. Preah Khan is best approached from Kampong Thom, passing by the ancient city of Sambor Prei Kuk.

The temples in the ancient city of Ishanapura are among the oldest, predating Angkor Wat by more than 600 years. Approximately 100 brick-built temples sit in an attractive jungle setting, and many are of an unusual octagonal design with impressive reliefs. The Flying Palace representations of the abode of the gods are among the most interesting.

Reproductions of the Durga and Harihara statues give an idea of what was here before the magnificent statuary was either damaged or removed for safe-keeping.  Some of the temples are in remarkable condition considering they are 1,400 years old. Locals say several temples were damaged by US bombs during the American war in Vietnam, and the bomb craters are a testament to this illegal incursion into Cambodia by the US forces.

We returned to Kompong Thom and stayed at the Arunas Hotel. It has excellent rooms and a wealthy Khmer clientele, whose SUVs parked outside are not likely to be used on the bush and oxcart trails that we were going to use the next few days.


  • Kak Channthy, Cambodian Space Project frontwoman, killed in crash at 38 [Updated]

    Updated 5:05pm, Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Kak Channthy, frontwoman of popular The Cambodian Space Project, was killed Tuesday morning in a traffic accident in Phnom Penh. She was 38. Channthy, the internationally recognised singer-songwriter also known as “Srey Thy”, was reportedly travelling in a tuk-tuk on the city's

  • Australian police investigating death threat against Kem Ley's widow

    Updated: 10:17am, Friday March 23, 2018 Australian authorities on Thursday confirmed they have launched an investigation into a crudely written death threat sent tothe family of slain political analyst Kem Ley and Victoria state MP Hong Lim. The typed letter, reported to Victoria police last week, is

  • Apparel groups including H&M and Gap urge Cambodia garment industry reform, seek meeting with Hun Sen

    A group representing some of the largest apparel brands in the US and Europe – including Gap, H&M and ASOS – expressed “growing concern” on Tuesday over several controversial labour laws and ongoing court cases against unionists described as restrictive and unjust. In an open letter

  • Cambodia, states clash at UN session

    Cambodia traded shots with the international community in a heated exchange at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Thursday evening, with states condemning the Kingdom’s ongoing crackdown on the political opposition and civil society, and an increasingly agitated Cambodia accusing member states