- Place or Religious Monument
- Place or Historical Monument
- Unesco World Heritage
Phnom Bakeng is an immense temple not far from Angkor Wat, on the top of a phnom - a hill - which you reach via a small path. The temple is famous for its view over the region of Angkor and is most often visited at sun set, a bit too much for my taste... The view is absolutely beautiful, and the temple itself is just as beautiful.
The temple is shaped like a pyramid with several levels which you get to by staircases that are quite steep and slippery. There are still some beautiful sculptures and some of the 109 towers its originally had. It's a temple you should not miss during your trip to Cambodia! If you don't feel able to do the climb on foot, there are elephants waiting at the foot of the hill to carry you up.
It was the second time that I had been to Phnom Bakheng. This time, I did not go for the sunset, but in the middle of the afternoon. There were very few people around, and I liked that. The ascent to the temple was achieved by a pathway lined with trees. We passed an ancient stairway that allowed you to crest the little hill, today out-of-bounds as it was not well looked after. It's a shame, even if it was a steep incline, because there were loads of steps!
When I arrived at the summit, I saw the temple again but this time in daylight, and I noticed that the Phnom Bakheng is being restored. The overwhelming heat forced me into the shade for a bit, where I had the time to admire the landscape and the views of the plains surrounding the hill. I noticed the Angkor Wat temple in the distance. Even if it does not boast the most impressive of architecture, I had the feeling that not seeing this temple would be like coming to Cambodia and not seeing Angkor Wat: unthinkable.