Phumi Boeng Mealea Things to Do

  • Texting to Find Which Way to Go?
    Texting to Find Which Way to Go?
    by AlbuqRay
  • Collapsed Central Sanctuary
    Collapsed Central Sanctuary
    by AlbuqRay
  • Boardwalk Construction (NE Side Inner Gallery)
    Boardwalk Construction (NE Side Inner...
    by AlbuqRay

Best Rated Things to Do in Phumi Boeng Mealea

  • Walk around the Temple's outer walls

    by Bonobo2005 Updated Aug 31, 2006

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    A good idea is to start with a hike around the Temple for first impression and to observe the outer walls and entrances. There is a little path.

    In the case of Beng Mealea (around 1 km2) I recommend to go around clock wise from the main access route, and you will come across the most convenient passage to the inner complex at about three quarters. Expect to take about 45 minutes as you walk slowly around.

    The atmosphere is breath taking.

    Collapsed Western entrance

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    Best Place to Start a Walking Tour

    by AlbuqRay Updated Jul 18, 2010

    Wikipedia has a drawing that outlines a walking tour, but we added more locations on the east side, back (north) and west side. The beginning of the tour is a set of wooden stairs to the right of the unrestored, impassable south gate. The walking tour mostly follows a boardwalk that was originally constructed during the filming of the movie, Two Brothers, in 2004, and is still being expanded. There are licensed guides at the top of the stairs if you would like to have an escorted tour; however, it's actually not difficult to find your own way along the boardwalk.

    Trail from the South Gate to the Boardwalk Up These Stairs Start of the Boardwalk Part of the Boardwalk Texting to Find Which Way to Go?
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    South Walkway to Beng Mealea

    by AlbuqRay Updated Jul 17, 2010

    From the parking area near the market, you cross a stone bridge over the moat and approach Beng Mealea along a dirt walkway to the unrestored, impassable south gate. There are public restrooms on the right just before you get to the ruins. See also a videoclip.

    Start of the South Walkway Naga and Moat at the Start of the Walkway Middle of the Walkway Public Restrooms South Gate
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    Scenes from the Boardwalk

    by AlbuqRay Updated Jul 17, 2010

    Most of Beng Mealea is unrestored making it even more interesting. New areas of the temple are still being added to the boardwalk. The boardwalk is definitely not handicapped accessible. It winds up and down with many steep stairs and ramps. It also goes through the collapsed Turtle Carving Library on the northeast side of the inner gallery. See also a videoclip.

    Collapsed Central Sanctuary Boardwalk Construction (NE Side Inner Gallery) Rubble Everywhere in Northeast Inner Gallery Steep Stairs Up North Side of Inner Gallery Boardwalk through Collapsed Turtle Carving Library
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    Normal End to the Walking Tour

    by AlbuqRay Updated Jul 17, 2010

    The normal way to finish the Beng Mealea walking tour is to head directly south from the Northeast Library toward the Southeast Library, then back to the original boardwalk. In the picture that is through the hole in the wall on the left. Instead, we went over the north outside wall, then west toward the North Gate.

    Regular Walking Tour Goes Back Via Opening on Left Library in Southeast Outer Gallery
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    West Gate of Outer Wall

    by AlbuqRay Updated Jul 17, 2010

    We did not try to go inside through the West Gate. We just went under its platform and continued south. Actually there was a huge building just to the west of the platform. From the Beng Mealea diagram it is the same shape as a structure on the east side. The East Gate was the main entrance in ancient times but is now closed due to dangerous rubble. We did not go to the East Gate, but evidently you can enter the outer gallery through a small door just to the right of the gate and see carvings of the god of fire in the lintel over the first door by the first ramp, and an image of a three-headed elephant.

    West Gate of Outside Wall and Platform Platform for West Gate (North Side of It) Closeup of West Platform (South Side of It) West Platform and West Gate Large Building West of the Platform
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    Three-Corridor Building in Southwest Corner

    by AlbuqRay Updated Jul 17, 2010

    This building was next to the south outside wall and had some really nice carvings on the three doors facing west. These blind doors, lintels and pediments are the style found at Angkor Wat. Notice the large stone hand or foot lying on the ground by the south door.

    South Door Middle and South Doors North and Middle Doors North Door Closeup of South Door Pediment Carving
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    Must Cut Some Trees

    by AlbuqRay Updated Jul 17, 2010

    Many trees (e.g. strangler figs) grow on the ruins in Cambodia. When they get too large and their weight starts to crack the building or wall, they must be cut down. This is an example on the south outside wall of Beng Mealea next to the three-corridor building. The tree had already been cut down but you can get the idea.

    Remains of a Large Tree Cracked Wall Base Still Looks Okay Headed on East
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    Maze of Buildings, Galleries, Rubble and Tunnel

    by AlbuqRay Updated Jul 17, 2010

    The guide led us from the southwest corner of the outer gallery through a maze of buildings and rubble to another "tunnel," and then back to where we started the walking tour. I am sure glad that I did not have to find the way myself. Also, a mysterious energy tried to capture me in the "tunnel" (see the Warnings and Danger tip).

    Rubble with Beautiful Carvings Arched Corridor South Side of Middle Gallery? I Was Really There Must Duck to Get Through Some Doors
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    East Side of Beng Mealea Outer Gallery

    by AlbuqRay Updated Jul 17, 2010

    The east side of Beng Mealea's outer gallery is off the boardwalk so there are fewer people. To get there you must walk along a ledge overgrown with roots. See also a videoclip.

    Outer Gallery on Northeast Side of Beng Mealea Walking Along a Ledge Northeast Library in Outer Gallery Dragon or Snake Carving? I Guess Snake
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    Back (North) Side of Beng Mealea

    by AlbuqRay Updated Jul 15, 2010

    Normally you are pretty much on your own back here. Actually one of the guides was bored and showed us around for free. See also a videoclip.

    Inside of Back (North) Wall Northeast Corner from Outside the North Wall Outside Back (North) Wall Looking West Near the North Gate North Gate and Platform
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    North Walkway

    by AlbuqRay Updated Jul 16, 2010

    There is much more to Beng Mealea to the north but we did not have time to explore it. Instead we went west along the back wall.

    Platform that Starts North Walkway North Walkway to Where? Climbing Down the West Side of North Platform West Side of North Walkway Platform West Side of North Gate
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    Turtle Carving

    by AlbuqRay Updated Jul 17, 2010

    Inside the collapsed Turtle Carving Library in the northeast corner of the inner gallery there is a large rectangular stone lintel with a carving of the churning of the ocean of milk with a turtle.

    Location of Turtle Carving Turtle Carving Churning of the Ocean of Milk with Turtle Churning of the Ocean of Milk with Turtle Closeup of Turtle Carving
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    "Tunnel" to the East

    by AlbuqRay Updated Jul 17, 2010

    From the platform at the top of the steep stairs on the north side of the inner gallery the path goes down and through a dark "tunnel" toward the Northeast Library in the outer gallery.

    Start Down Here Keeping Going This Way Going Through the East End of the
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    Northwest Corner of Outside Wall

    by AlbuqRay Written Jul 16, 2010

    We just walked around the outside of this corner. It was totally unrestored but had some interesting carvings.

    Northwest Corner from the East Northwest Corner from the North Closeup of North Lintel West Door of Northwest Corner Closeup of West Door of Northwest Corner
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