Sra Em: February 3-4, 2020

We took a private car ($100) from BeTreed to Sra Em, which is the closest town to the Prasat Preah Vihear temple.  This temple sits very near the Thai border and has a long history of conflict between the Cambodians and Thais, most recently in 2011.  It is a Hindu temple built between around 900 to 1150, and is situated at the top of a 625 meter hill. We took a motorcycle driven by Cambodians up the steep hill as the engines screamed up the hill.

The temple is mostly in ruins due to the ravages of time and armed conflict.  It’s high location would afford great views of the surrounding countryside, but this being the dry season there were lots of fires in the rice fields and jungles so views were very obscured.  Fortunately, air quality on the mountain top was much better so we got a couple of hours of breathing relatively clean and cooler air.  This temple is pretty far out of the way from anything else of interest, and not impressive enough to be worth the several hours detour and overnight in Sra Em.  Our accommodations in Sra Em were cheap ($14/night) but reasonably clean and comfortable.

The following photos are of Preah Vihear, the temple highly contested over the years due the proximity to the Thai border. There were so many fires around that the long buried land mines would occasionally explode according to our guide. These land mines would often start new fires. The entire area had a smoky mysterious appearance.

Looking up into a tower and trees are infiltrating the inner sanctum.




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