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Prasat Bakan or Preak Khan of Kampong Svai

Hidden Cambodia offers guest the opportunity to travel to this remote temple complex in Kampong Thom Province by powerful 4WD or dirt bike. This is the largest ancient enclosure of Ancient Cambodia and also the least know. A full days travel is involved from Siem Reap.

It is located east of Beng Melea temple on the old ancient Angkorian Highway but more often our route there takes us on the main roads and then turning in to head north to the magical location. 

There are actually a number of routes in and out of this location and this will depend on your mode of transport and group. 

Surrounded by forests and accessed by ancient paths and roads through small villages and remote communities, this temple complex possibly dates back to the 9th Century. The Preah Khan group consists of a central sanctuary and four enclosures with many other buildings, moats, basins and temples. It is thought to have been established by Suryvarman I, who established his capital here and built the inner central sanctuary here before 1006. It is also thought that he was the first Buddhist King of the Khmer Empire.
Various walls or enclosures are thought to be have built by various kings, the second enclosure thought to have been built by Suryarvarman II and the third during the reign of  Jayavarman VII. This is surrounded by a magnificent moat and the a fourth enclosure. This is truly a massive temple complex and time is needed to wander through it, thus the requirement to  stay in the vicinity for  the night. 
A massive baray or artificial lake is also located there and has a island with a small temple also on it, Prasat Thokol. Morning tours, prior to departing,  normally involve visiting other temples in the area such as  Prasat Domri, meaning elephant temple, on the other side , overlooking the waters of the  Baray. This is though to date back to the 10th century and feature life size lions and elephants.   
Many of the temples within this complex have been looted,  recently and going back 100 years, with the spoils of this looting being found in private and public collections in Europe and America.
Great pilgrimages were made the this temple occupies. The enormous size and character of the monument indicates that it played an important and as yet not thoroughly understood  part in the religious life of the Kambuja which ended with the reign of Jayavarman VII.
Accommodation:

We bring all food supplies and equipment with us to this remote location and sleep over in the temple complex in a wooden cabana with camp beds or hammocks. There are no facilities such as toilets or showers here . Alternatively, we stay in a prominent family house in the village who now have a bathroom, Again limited facilities are available .  This sleep out,  if sufficient numbers , for many,  is the highlight of the their trip and experience.

 

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