Wondering what else is there to see in Siem Reap aside from Angkor Wat? Well, more temples.😆 Beng Mealea is one of them temples. This one’s not within the Angkor complex. It’s actually farther than that. How far? About an hour and a half travel by tuktuk from the city. I didn’t really mind much despite the heat. It’s a scenic route to the temple and one that made me feel like I was traveling to a Philippine province with all the farms and nipa hut houses we passed by.
We booked this temple tour through Klook as well. Compared to the Angkor Sunrise Tour, this one is a bit more expensive (it cost us each about Php1700+). Also, unlike the Angkor tour, this doesn’t come with an English speaking tour guide. So I played the role with a little help from Google, bringing amusement to my friends as I attempted to speak with a local’s accent since they wanted an “authentic” guided experience. I quickly dropped that act though as Ver said I sounded more French (go figure!) than Cambodian.
Anyway, there’s not a lot to say about Beng Mealea. From what I read, it’s built with the same floor plan as Angkor Wat and built during the 12th century under King Suryavarman II. At first, it might give you the same feels as that of Ta Prohm aka Tomb Raider temple because of the giant trees and foliage surrounding the place. But you’d soon see that Ta Prohm looks more manicured than Beng Mealea. Also unlike Ta Prohm, there’s not a lot of tourists here. We think that’s probably because this is farther and also not as popular as the Angkor temples.
This temple while it does remain largely unrestored as there are a lot of ruins in the area, some of the overgrown trees have been cut. Also there are these wooden bridges now that you can walk on – something built because there was a movie that used this as the location. Nope it’s not any of the Indiana Jones movies although I do love that movie franchise and that’s actually why I suggested going to this temple! The movie was called Two Brothers by Jean-Jacques Annaud.
But yeah, Beng Mealea looks like a scene straight out of that popular Harrison Ford adventure film! Like maybe Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom!
There’s a lot of moss covered rubble on site aside that you’d have to walk on. This one I climbed up on for ‘the Gram. Luckily, I’m a little more balanced now than I used to be with stronger legs so I avoided falling down and getting wounded. That’s not a good souvenir to take home.
Not all rubble in this temple are safe to climb mind you! There are signages around the place that warns visitors which parts to avoid.
Although smaller than Angkor Wat, it’s still pretty big and you could get lost exploring this temple. For a brief period of time when we were here, we thought we were already going in circles. Not to worry though. There are guards roaming the area and also maps to tell you where you are exactly.
Also very much like that of an Indiana Jones movie, we got to enter a dark and narrow passageway. We had to use our smartphones’ flashlight so we could see the way. Don’t worry if you’re scared of the dark. It’s not a long passageway!
And this right here is my favorite photo. I feel like a Queen in the jungle! Not an easy feat to sit on this low hanging branch. But hey I can haul myself up now. Strong arms from all the hours I’ve put in to working out!💪 2016 me wouldn’t have been able to do this at all.
Should you get a guide when you explore Beng Mealea? Maybe. Maybe not. Judging from our experience, even though we only explored for a couple of hours, I think we were able to cover the bases anyhow. We got good photos too.
If you’re also visiting this temple in Siem Reap, here are a couple of tips I would share:
1. Wear lots of sun screen! The sun is seriously unforgivable in Siem Reap. I wore sunscreen on my face and body and still I got a little burned – you might notice that from some of my photos.
2. Wear sneakers. Good thing I wore my Skechers Go Walk for this trip. You’ll need sturdy shoes when you walk here. As you could see from the photos, the walkways are not all smooth.
3. Bring water! Lots of water! You don’t want to pass out from dehydration.
4. Wear shades or a hat!
5. Wear a light and comfy outfit. My Zalora floral dress is exactly that! Comfy but also fashionable.😄
and most importantly since this is really a jungle kind of temple, be careful! We’re lucky we got out of there without a scratch from the rocks; a splinter from the woods and we didn’t get bitten by an insect ‘cos I saw a photo of a poisonous spider from one of the blogs I read on Beng Mealea.
This temple was a lot of fun to visit! It’ll bring you such a different experience. It’ll make you feel like an explorer. That’s why they say it’s an Indiana Jones’ adventure. If you’re up for that kind of adventure, go to Beng Mealea.