Things to See and Do - Siem Reap, Cambodia
East Mebon - Siem Reap
You need to use quite a bit of imagination when visiting the East Mebon temple. It's not that the temple is badly ruined. The imagination is needed to think of the temple as it originally existed, as an island in the middle of a large artificial lake, the Eastern Baray.
On arriving at the temple, one of the first things you'll notice is are the large elephants standing at each corner of the lowest tier. The elephants are carved from a single block of stone. Gateways in the center of each side lead up to the second and third platforms.
It was realised during the reign of Yasovarman towards the end of the 9th century and supplied by waters from the Siem Reap river. This vast reservoir served to regulate the flow of the river and to irrigate the surrounding plain, is today given over to rice fields. To judge by the laterite steps that surround the small island of the Mebon, the original depth of water contained was approximately three metres and its volume must have been some 40 million cubic metres.
The Mebon has all the characteristics of a 'temple-mountain' symbolising Mount Meru - here there is a three-metre high central platform carrying the quincunx of towers. Originally the Mebon temple stood on an island surrounded entirely by the waters of the Eastern Baray - accessible only by boat. The centre of the baray was marked by this small island of 120 metres across on which the temple stands. The main entry pavilion of the Royal Palace and the Victory Gate of Angkor Thom were subsequently aligned along this axis.
Several inscriptions found in the vicinity as well as the foundation stele - dated 952 (only nine years prior to Pre- Rup) describe the placing in the various sanctuaries of the linga Sri Rajendresvara, of several gods - notably Shiva and Parvati "in the likeness of the mother and the father" of King Rajendravarman in addition to Vishnu with Brahma. Eight linga of the god in eight forms were also placed in the eight small towers of the surrounding court. The Mebon belongs to a group of temples consecrated to the memory of deified parents.
According to an inscription, the walls were originally covered externally with a lime-based plaster coating (as evident at Pre Rup temple) with the pitted hammer marks in the brickwork to adhere the stucco onto the towers, the only remaining evidence. Most lintels remain in place on this monument and are of excellent craftsmanship. On the central tower to the east, Indra on a three-headed elephant with flights of figures disgorged by makara, under a small frieze of figures in meditation; to the west, Skanda the god of war on his peacock with a line of figures holding lotus flowers; and to the south, Shiva on the sacred bull Nandin.
East Mebon, a 10th century Hindu temple, erected by Rajendravarman II, would have been on an islet in the centre of the Eastern Baray, but is now very much on dry land. This temple is like a smaller version of Pre Rup, which was built 15 to 20 years later and lies to the south. The temple-mountain form is topped off by the now familiar quincuncial arrangement of towers. The elaborate brick shrines are dotted with neatly arranged holes, which attached the original plasterwork. The base of the temple is guarded at its corners by perfectly carved stone figures of harnessed elephants, many of which are still in a very good state of preservation.
East Mebon is a small temple built in the reign of king Rajendravarman, who named the temple 'Yashodharatataka' (the reservoir of Yashodhara). King Rajendravarman greatly admired King Yashovarman I, who ruled from 889-900 AD and built the East Baray (reservoir). Out of respect, King Rajendravarman built East Mebon at the center of the baray. Its main god was Rajendreshvara, a linga of the present king.
The lovely temple of Mebon, a pyramid of receding terraces on which are placed many detached edifices, the most effective being the five towers which crown the top Could any conception be lovelier, a vast expanse of sky-tinted water as wetting for a perfectly ordered temple. The East Mebon is 500metre (1,640feet) north of Pre Rup. A enter and leave the temple from the east entrance. It was built in the second half of the tenth century (952) by king Rajendravarman II, dedicated to Siva (Hindu), an ancestor temple in memory of the parents of the king with following the Pre Rup style art.
The East Mebon is a temple with five towers arranged like the numbers on a die atop a base with three tiers. The whole is surrounded by three enclosures. The towers represent the five peaks of the mythical Mount Meru.
The stairways of the tiered base are flanked by lions (6). Beautiful monolithic elephants stand majestically at the corners of the first and second tiers (7). They are depicted naturalistically with fine detail such as harnessing. Tip: The elephant in the best condition, and the most complete, is in the southwest corner.
The large inner courtyard contains eight small brick towers (8)-two on each side opening to the East. Each one has octagonal columns and finely worked lintels with figures amongst leaf decorations. On the East Side of the courtyard there are three rectangular laterite buildings (9) without windows opening to the west. The two on the left of the entrance are decorated with either scenes of the stories of the nine planets or the seven ascetics. Vestiges of bricks above the cornices suggest they were vaulted. There are two more buildings (without windows) of similar form at the northwest and southwest (9) comers of the courtyard.
Map of East Mebon
Other Attractions in Siem Reap
Angkor Zoo How to go: 5 km (10mn) From Provincial Town. Location: Description: Nature Wildlife and Preserves, Location: Mondol Chon Pika, Angkor Compound.The Angkor Zoo, Siem Reap is one of the most visited and popular tourist attractions in the town. Tourists coming to the town make it a point to visit this zoo in their pass time.... read more
Bakong is located at Roluos south of Preah Ko. Enter and leave the temple at the east. A modern Buddhist temple is situated to the right of the east entrance to Bakong. It was build in late ninth century (881) by king Indravarman I dedicated to Siva (Hindu) followed Prah Ko art style. BACKGROUNDBakong was the center of the town of... read more
BackgroundSrok Yeung or Our Ecotourism Site is a community-based recreational area located at the foot of Phnom Krom mountain near the Tonle Sap Lake, the largest lake in Southeast Asia and also home to theworld's most productive inland fishery. Situated on the northwest Cambodian floodplain, the 100-hectare rural property is owned... read more
Location: 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) north-east of East MebonAccess: enter and leave the temple by the east entranceDate: second half of the 10th century (967) King: Rajendravarman II (reigned 944-968) and Jayavarman V (reigned 968-1001)Religion: Hindu (dedicated to Shiva)Art style: Banteay SreiThe tenth century temple of Banteay... read more
Kampong Pluk is about 20 Km locates on the Southeast of Siem Reap Town. Two ways are accessible to Kompong Pluk, a charter boat ride from Chong Kneas takes one and a half hour and the other by overland just one hour by car, upon arrival at dock meet a boatman drives a long a small stream to the village. In dry period we can drive... read more
Kampong Khleang is located on the northern lake-edge about 55 km east of Siem Reap town, more remote and less tourist than Kampong Pluk. Visitors to Kampong Khleang during the dry season are universally awestruck by the forest of stilted houses rising up to 10 meters in the air. In wet season the waters rise up to one or two meters... read more
The War Museum in Siem Reap is the only War Museum in Cambodia. It offers visitors a unique and insightful view of the perils that Cambodia faced during the last 3 decades of the 20th century. It gives also visitors an excellent opportunity to learn more about what actually occured during Cambodia’s ‘war years’. read more
East Mebon How to go: Location: Description: Also built in the 10th Century by Rajendravarman, this temple was situated on a small island in the middle of the Oriental, or Eastern, Baray. It has all the characteristics of the mountain temple but was accessible by boat only. From the inscriptions found close to it, we know that... read more
Five provinces circled the area of Tonle Sap Lake, more than three million of population inhabited around the bank of the Lake and 90% of them earn a living by catching fish and making agricultures. As you can see on the map of Cambodia It stretches across the northwest section of the country.The Lake is the largest fresh water in... read more
The citadel of the cells . In the ruin and confusion of Banteay Kdei the carvings take one's interest. They are piquant, exquisite, not too frequent... they seem meant.. to make adorable a human habitation.Banteay Kdei is located south of Ta Prohm. A enter the monument from the west and leave at the west or vice versa, either way,... read more
This temple built by Udayadityarvarman II was the most poorly constructed of all the temples in Angkor. From the remaining ruins, it is possible to see how imposing it was. This temple hill was dedicated to Shiva, but in its reliefs many motives from the Vishnu epic can be seen. Restoration work continues to be carried out on the... read more
The bird that shelters under its wings. This little temple with its four square tiers of laterite, crowned by a brick sanctuary, might serve for a model in miniature of some of its giant neighbors, and is almost as perfect as perfect as the day it was built... Prasat Baksei Chamkrong is located 150 meters (492 feel) north of Phnom... read more
The Siem Reap River parkways and the big park in front of the Hotel Grand d'Angkor are nice for a jog, stroll and people watching, especially in the early evening hours when the locals are out in numbers. The river area is pleasant and the park is nicely landscaped. There are plenty of drink and snack vendors around. The king's Siem... read more
This is the big hill that you see near the landing if you head to Siem Reap by bullet boat. The hilltop area provides magnificent panoramic views of the Great Lake Tonle Sap, the surrounding countryside and Siem Reap town. The commanding view of the lake was used for a more practical, albeit more deadly, purpose in the fairly recent... read more
There are few places anywhere on earth to match the splendour of Angkor Wat. The temple is one of the largest monuments to religion ever built and is truly one the wonders of the world. Believed to have been constructed as a temple and mausoleum for King Suryavarman II at the peak of the Khmer empire in the first half of the 12th... read more
There is a crocodile farm on the south end of Siem Reap and they have about 300 crocodiles of various sizes and dispositions.They charge US$ 1 admission for foreigners and 1,000 riel for Cambodians. You can buy stuffed crocs on the premises. Just head south on Sivutha Street, cross the bridge and it's down another km from there. read more
The Cambodian Landmine Museum was established in 1997 by ex-child soldier Aki Ra. After years of fighting he returned to the villages in which he planted thousands of mines and began removing them, by hand, and defusing them with homemade tools. In 2008 he established a formal demining NGO, Cambodian Self Help Demining (CSHD). ... read more
Thmat Boey is located in Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary in the North of Cambodia. Thmat Boey is about 4 hours away from Siem Reap Town or 7 hours from Phnom Penh. During the dry season Thmat Boey can be reached by 4-wheel drive vehicles. During the rain season motorbikes have to be used for the last 2km. read more
Banteay Sam Re located at Preah Dak commune, Bon Tiey Srey District by Charles De Gaulle Road via Angkor Wat in 16-kilometer distance from the provincial town of Siem Reap.This temple is somewhat islocated, and you should be vigiland of your possessions and travel with a local guide. The temple is worth the extra effort to... read more
Beng Mealea was built in middle of the 12th century, with later additions in the reing of the SuryavarmanII with the style of Agnkor Wat and dedicated to Hinduism.40 km due east from Angkor Wat. Take the road to Banteay Srie, but at the fork 2 km before Banteay Srei (31 km from the Grand Hotel, Siem Reap and 17.5 km from the village... read more
Kbal Spean is an ancient Angkor ruin that is a 90-minute bumpy ride from Siem Reap, on the same route to Banteay Srei. The tarred road ends at Banteay Srei, after which the roads become either very muddy or very dusty, depending on the time of the year. Upon your arrival at the foothills, get ready for another 45 minutes of... read more
Preah Khan temple is located 2 kilometers north-east of Angkor Thorn on the Grand Circuit. The temple was built in the second half of the 12th century in AD 1191 by King Jaya-varman VII, dedicating to his father Dharanindravarman. The Buddhist complex covers 56 hectares served as the nucleus of a group that includes Neak Pean and... read more
Kunlen mount is situated at north east of Angkor Complex about 50 Km, it takes approximately 2 hours drive up to the hill top with 487 meters height and plateau stretches 30 km long, it is opened for tourists in 1999 by private owned and charged for $20 toll per foreign visitors. The company developed road up to the peak. It is only... read more
Phnom Bakheng is a temple built on a hill of the same name, where the first city at Angkor was established. This gives its state temple on Phnom Bakheng special significance. It was to here that Yasovarman I moved his capital from Roluos. His capital city, called Yasodharapura, was larger than Angkor Thom, which came later, and was... read more
Boat trip to Prek Toal takes about two hours from Chong Kneas boat dock, upon arrival meet Prek Toal Environmental Research Station for guiding tour to birds sanctuary. The Research Station has information on the area's flora and fauna. There are also basic overnight accommodations at the Research Station if you want to stay the... read more
Not far from the ancient temples of Angkor, in the heart of Cambodia, lies the huge Tonle Sap lake, the largest in Southeast Asia. The Tonle Sap is connected to the Mekong by a short river also called Tonle Sap. During the rainy season, from May to October, the river reverses its flow into the lake causing it to expand to more than... read more
Visiting the Angkor National Museum was an eerie, surreal experience. For the first 45 minutes of our trip through the mammoth, 20,000-square-metre building, we didn't spot another visitor. The museum opened in November 2007, and its freshly painted, shopping mall-like feel contrasts with the thousands-year-old artefacts contained... read more