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Review of Phnom Bakheng

Phnom Bakheng
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Private Tour: Angkor Wat Ancient Temples Full-Day Tour from Siem Reap
Ranked #60 of 180 things to do in Siem Reap
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Owner description: Phnom Bakheng served as the temple mountain of the first city of Angkor. Elephants can take you from the bottom to the top of Phnom Bakheng Mountain.
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
85 reviews
45 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 April 2014

We visited this place during the eastern holiday which made the tourist even more. We hiked up about 20 minutes with thousands of people and to find a very long queue to enter the temple. We were there at about 5pm. Looking from outside the temple does not look really interesting, but I might be wrong. I think this place is over-rated.

Visited April 2014
1 Thank martinmetal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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533 reviews from our community

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Budapest, Hungary
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Try the elephats!”
Reviewed 13 April 2014 via mobile

Very nice elephats for 20$. They ride to the mountain, but come back by foot - there are some nice view points from the hill on the way.

Visited April 2014
Thank Dani K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
1,189 reviews
422 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 727 helpful votes
“Temple With A View”
Reviewed 5 April 2014

After you've seen half a dozen temples, they all start to look the same. Bahkeng is different in that it sits atop a hill, and you have to climb maybe a thousand feet up a dirt path to reach it. Tour guides recommend this temple for viewing sunsets.

We were highly entertained by the wild monkeys, which are not intimidated by tourists. We'd asked another visitor if she'd take our photo on the viewing deck just below the temple entrance and, while we were posing, a monkey jumped on her shoulders. She wasn't aware he'd been climbing toward her, and she startled, screamed, and ran to her boyfriend, who consoled her. Fortunately she brought us back our camera, and didn't drop it in her panic.

Bahkeng is much smaller than the other temples, and a maximum of 300 people are allowed on top at any given time. Dress code is strictly enforced. A young lady ahead of us was provided a red checkered shoulder wrap and a stern lecture by one of the staff after she arrived wearing a fitted top with spaghett straps. (No bare shoulders, no cleavage, etc)

We didn't get much of a sunset view, as it clouded over late afternoon. We waited about half an hour for the sun to start setting and got a couple of photos where red streaks were poking through the gray sky. Then abruptly one of the staff began barking at the crowd, "Time to leave, no sunset tonight! I want to go home."

That was pretty amusing too. I didn't blame her - she must have sweltered all day in the heat, supervising tourists climbing around, for about two dollars pay. Dutifully, we all arose and started climbing our way back down. All in all a very enjoyable experience, but not for the reasons you'd think.

Visited April 2014
1 Thank FancyFree55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dallas, Texas USA
Level Contributor
128 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 146 helpful votes
“Go for/after sunrise instead of at sunset”
Reviewed 2 April 2014

This temple gets poor reviews because of the crowds at sunset. I would recommend going after sunrise; at that time, we were the only people there. It is a great place to get some elevation and see around the park (including a shot of angkor wat from a distance), get photos at a temple without anyone around, and get some exercise by doing a hike/run on the hill to escape the flat lands around siem reap.

Visited March 2014
1 Thank tdsbu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Quezon City, Philippines
Level Contributor
199 reviews
115 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 128 helpful votes
“Fantastic sunset!”
Reviewed 20 March 2014

Like anybody who has researched on the Internet, I expected a circus on top of Phnom Bakheng. Fortunately, we came in a bit earlier. We stopped at the foot of the monumental staircase but that is no longer the way up - it is now overgrown and I can hardly make out the steps. Instead we took the path up - and my, it was very exhausting! I should have rented the elephant. Upon reaching the top of the mountain, I was shown a small shed with a stone with a shallow depression. A footprint of the Buddha, they said.

There were guards at the foot of the temple-mountain of Phnom Bakheng, due to restrictions on the number of visitors allowed on top. It was still early and the sunlight was still intense so I climbed up to the top.

The view was quite impressive. Rendered toy-like in the distance was Angkor Wat, bathed in the golden yellow sunlight. Turn a bit to the right lay the city of Siem Reap. And then there was this immense body of water that stretched all the way to the horizon - the West Baray. It was magical, really. The tourists are coming up already. I explore the central prasat, which was in a ruined state. Badly-eroded apsaras decorate the walls. Incense burned within, a reminder that this temple - as well as many others in the Angkor area - is an active religious site. There were smaller shrines all around, some well-preserved, some held together by wood supports. In one corner was a linga, its shrine long since destroyed.

Since the skies were somewhat overcast, I didn't wait for the sunset. Satisfied and in fact impressed with what I saw, I went down the opposite stair, and took pictures of the guardian lions. Then, as I turned to leave, I took a shot at the gathering crowd on top of Phnom Bakheng.

Certainly worth the visit - highly recommended! If you're not fit, take the elephant though.

Visited November 2013
Thank Ermaximum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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