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5 of 5 bubbles Review of Banteay Chhmar

Banteay Chhmar
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Banteay Chhmar (the “Citadel of the Cat”) has been called the "second Angkor Wat” and was constructed by King Jayavarman VII, who also built Angkor Thom, Ta Prohm and Preah Khan. This remote and vast site is currently under restoration and visitors find a stunning interplay of temple and jungle.
Berlin, Germany
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 9, 2013

If you want to see temples and meet some Cambodians this is the place to be. It is not perfectly comfortable. Its hot, sweaty, and out of the usual comfort zone of Siem Reap. But it is real. Go in the dry season and you will be invited into the homes of locals for their extravagant weddings! Everything about this visit was our favorite thing in SE Asia. If you want something that is protected from over tourism I highly recommend this.

You will not have A.C. (The best part) but your guide will be from Banteay Chhmar and he will be as accommodating as possible in a place that has electricity for 4-5 hours per evening and limited refrigeration. I cannot exaggerate this feeling enough! This place is just raw and makes traveling interesting. I would recommend that you learn a respectful gestures when visiting though. Try http://wikitravel.org/en/Khmer_phrasebook

Stay for a few days in the home stays and get to know some locals. Chop some cassava with the old ladies or just bring a couple toys and play with the kids.

Visited March 2013
1 Thank Mark L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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85 reviews from our community

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Siem Reap, Cambodia
Level Contributor
49 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Unforgettable temples”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 8, 2013

After you finished your trip in Angkor, Banteay Chhmar temple is a must see. This temple locates to Thai border and during the civil war between Communist Government and Khmer Rouge Guerrillas, this temple was destroyed and all the statues were stolen. It is completely ruined by human and nature, most of the towers and galleries collapsed...but it is still hiding the smiling faces in the jungle. It was built by the most famous king Jayavarman VII, who built Anhkor Thom (Bayon), the same style of Bayon.
Nobody disturbs you to see this temple, very quiet, peaceful site, you will be addicted to it, especially the Amazing Lord Lokesvara with multi-arms. You will fall in love with this one.

Visited November 2012
Thank Sopanha Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tallahassee, Florida
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“A real " Indiana Jones " Adventure!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 2, 2013

I have visited many temple areas in Cambodia, and I think Banteay Chhmar is a must see. If you want to get away from the tourists, it is a great place to go, but when I was there for 2 days on a homestay in February, 2013, they were busy working on the road from Sisophon to Bantey Chhmar, so I think the buses will be soon be going there, full of people. For now, it is necessary to hire a car ( warning! don't go by motorbike unless you want to be covered in dust, and have a jarred spine!). It is, I think, about the last chance you will be able to have to go there and see the quiet, peaceful place. When I was there, I saw ( briefly) one other tourist taking pictures. All the locals stared, because I was almost the only foreigner there, but everyone smiled, and were very friendly. I was even invited that night to a " circle dance" at the Baray.

The main temple takes about half a day to see, at a good pace. The outer wall is wonderful! The pictures are magnificent! Don't pass it by. There is a road completely around it, so access to the wall is very good.

The inner temple area itself is a jumble of fallen rocks, and half- fallen buildings. Take sturdy shoes! I nearly twisted my ankle a couple times, and there are no medical facilities to speak of there at all. I would go with a guide, because the temple is in such a bad condition, it is hard to make sense of it. There are many great pictures on the remaining structures, though.

Around the temple are 9 other satellite temples. I could not access the small temple in the East Baray, but I was able to visit the other ones . It took about 5-6 hours to visit them all, by bicycle. I had a map of the temple area, which you can get from the CBT website. It is a very necessary thing, if you go alone, as I did. As it was, I got lost twice, and had to ask directions from the locals ( no one speaks English!!!. Learn some useful phrases in Cambodian!!!) A couple of the temples are really in the woods, along goat paths, and many have no signs. Just finding them is a great adventure. Most of them are fallen ruins, but a few have " Bayon Faces", or some other surprises, and if you are inquisitive, you can see some really nice things hidden away.

Take a compass, a good camera with plenty of gig space, a map! and a couple bottles of water. I did not see any snakes in the piles of rubble, but I know they are around, and I was concerned also about UXO. Be careful if you wander around, in the woods, there are no people... period, so if you get hurt, or lost, you are in REAL trouble. Take a cell phone, so at least you can call CBT for help, if you need it.

Plan to spend at least 2 days... 3 is better. And don't forget to visit Banteay Top! Have a driver take you there, it is about 30-45 minutes South of B. C. It look like it is about to fall completely. There is no ongoing restoration there at all. The modern wat next to the site is worth a look too. Beautiful paintings inside. You also get to drive by the Pol Pot Baray on the way there. It is beautiful.

Bantey Chhmar, for the moment, is for the adventurous, and daring. See it while you can, before the crowds come, because they will!

Visited February 2013
1 Thank Butakun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Berlin, Germany
Level Contributor
129 reviews
49 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 79 helpful votes
“"Banteay Chhmar - you must see it"”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 20, 2013

Last year I read about Banteay Chhmar and I said to me, I must visit it.
It is very easy to travel from Bangkok by bus to Aranyaprathet Border Market, walking through the border (20 US$ for the Visa) to Poipet and take a Bus 1 hour to Sisophon.
On the next day we chartered a Taxi for 60 US$ for the whole day.
We drove an unpaved, dusty and bumpy road to Banteay Chhmar, but the road is under construction.
It is a big area and many buildings are fallen together, but with a good imagination it is a very interesting and fantastic place. We walked some hours alone through the ruins and our taxidriver explained the location very well. You get although very good information from the web.
Since 2000 we have been several times in Angkor Wat, which is now overcrowded, and we are happy to visited now Banteay Chhmar.

On the way back you should stop and see Banteay Top. It was very interesting, too. We are glad to did it.

We make the reservation for the Taxi with the english speaking driver/guide in the Phnom Svay Hotel in the morning of our visit.

Visited February 2013
Thank Siegbert M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Siem Reap, Cambodia
2 reviews
“Beautiful Temple and friendly community”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 12, 2013

I have been to Banteay Chhmar temple in Jan 2013 with my first time and I like it very much all the carving and the forest around is so beautiful. More over I have spend sometime with the community near the temple who welcome the guests who want to visit their community with their best services.

On the way back to Siem Reap I pass by the big water reservoir build in Khmer Rouge time and see plenty of beautiful birds in the reservoir and as well as around the rice field near by. I seen plenty of birds including a endanger species of sarus crane and many storks.

Visited January 2013
Thank Sopheap C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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