The drive to the lost city of Koh Ker takes just over 2 hours, and passes through pleasant countryside to Beng Mealea village, where you’ll make a brief stop before continuing on to the first temple complex.
When you arrive you’ll drive on a clockwise circuit around the temples to take advantage of the morning light.
The first temple you’ll see on this full-day tour is Prasat Pram, with its 5 towers, some of which are draped in tree roots. Prasat Chin, or the Chinese temple, is in a state of ruin and its blackened laterite tower is open to the sky.
Visit the small reservoir of Andong Preng (the sacred well of oil) before finishing the morning part of the tour at Prasat Thom. See the large moat, the 37-meter-high Prasat Thom pyramid, and numerous thousand-year-old brick temples and shrines.
Take a break for lunch in the temple area before heading out on the eastern part of the circuit, which features some of the largest temple lingas of the Khmer Empire. Prasat Krachap and Banteay Pichean are surrounded by forest, and you may see birds of prey, including eagles, circling overhead.
The tour now moves south to the jungle temple of Beng Mealea, situated behind huge walls and dripping with vegetation. Marvel at the huge trees growing out of the ruins. This temple was built 30 years before Angkor Wat, in a similar style and with a similar layout.
You’ll have time for an in-depth exploration of this temple, taking an unusual route to see parts of this ruins seldom visited. New ramps and steps have made access easier, but in some areas you’ll be scrambling over tumbled blocks, and traversing high walls.