I am an American pediatrician who has worked in Siem Reap yearly for the past ten years, staying for one month at the Angkor Hospital for Children. I have visited most of the temple ruins in the country, and biked around Angkor Wat many many times. I was looking forward to visiting Banteay Chhmar after reading some travel magazines and your reviews.
They are absolutely not true.
It is a 200 miles, 6+ hours round trip from Siem Reap. Half of this is over poor to terrible roads.
There are only three parts of this temple complex that are interesting, few paths, lots of climbing over fallen temple stones, reconstruction scaffolds around the more interesting part, and they can all be seen in 30 minutes. Yes, the bas relief is great, but it is only 30-40 feet long.
This site will take years to re-construct so that visitors can appreciate it. Beng Melea is similar and closer to Siem Reap.
Banteay Chhmar is not worth all the time spent driving and the gasoline expense.
Santa Fe, NM
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