Koh Ker Treks and Guesthouse

We spent the night up in Koh Ker and while we were there we did a tour with Koh Ker Treks. This organization is run by two PLF graduates from Koh Ker School, Dieb and Ty. They grew up in Koh Ker village among all the local ruins and know the area intimately. Before going out with them, I didn’t even know there were ruins beyond Koh Ker temple itself. They don’t have a web site, but they do have a Facebook Page and are reviewed on Trip Advisor.

Of course we visited Koh Ker Temple, the main tourist draw in the area. This is one of the few pyramid shaped Khmer temples. I’ve been before, but chickened out on the climb on the rickety wood ladder only a few steps from the top. This time, I was determined to make it and fortunately for me, there are now sturdy wide wooden stairs on the back of the temple and getting to the top is much safer and easier.

Koh Ker Temple
Koh Ker Temple
Koh Ker Temple
Koh Ker Temple
Koh Ker Temple
Koh Ker Temple
Koh Ker Temple
Koh Ker Temple
Koh ker Temple
Koh Ker Temple
Koh Ker Temple
Koh Ker Temple; the old ladder (now closed).
View from the top of Koh Ker Temple.
View from the top of Koh Ker Temple.

After visiting the temple and hearing about its history, we walked through the jungle to Koh Ker Village, where most of the kids at Koh Ker School live and where Dieb and Ty’s families live.

Koh Ker Village
On the way to Koh Ker Village
Koh Ker Village
Koh Ker Village
Koh Ker Village
Koh Ker Village
Koh Ker Village
Kitten in Koh Ker Village
Koh Ker Village
David and Dieb on the way to Koh Ker Village
Koh Ker Village
Child in Koh Ker Village; she’s awfully sassy, isn’t she?

After the village, we got in the van (you can travel by car, van, or tuk tuk with them) and drove out to some of the more remote ruins out the jungle. At each, we were the only people there save a few guards, or in one case, archaeologists doing research. It was an amazing opportunity to get off the beaten path and see something most tourists never see.

Koh Ker Trek
Koh Ker Trek
Koh Ker Trek
Koh Ker Trek-Prasat Kra Chap
Koh Ker Trek
Koh Ker Trek-Prasat Kra Chap
Koh Ker Trek
Koh Ker Trek
Koh Ker Trek
Koh Ker Trek-Prasat Kra Chap
Koh Ker Trek
Koh Ker Trek
Koh Ker Trek
Koh Ker Trek -Prasat Boeung Khna
Koh Ker Trek
Koh Ker Trek-Prasat Boeung Khna
Koh ker Trek
Koh Ker Trek

In addition to the trek, we had lunch at one of the restaurants outside of the Koh Ker temple. I’ve eaten here in the past, and each time, the food has been delicious. They have cold beer too!

Koh Ker Trek
Love the ingenuity of making a toy with 3 oranges and some sticks! He was pushing that thing all over.
Lunch at the open air restaurant in front of Koh Ker Temple.
Lunch at the open air restaurant in front of Koh Ker Temple with Lori and David.

While in the area, we spent the night at Mom Morokod Guesthouse, outside Srayang (the closest town to Koh Ker and where the PLF’s middle school dorm is located). As far as I know, this is one of the few places to stay in the area and they don’t have a web site. The volunteers and staff of the PLF stay here often enough so they are used to Western tourists. However, there are some things to keep in mind if you want to stay here. When we were there in 2014, there was electricity powered by a generator only at night to run lights and fans in the rooms. There’s no hot water or A/C. But the food coming out of the kitchen is really good and there’s plenty of cold beer and sodas in the cooler box. And there are kitties, lots of kitties!

Koh Ker Guesthouse
Koh Ker Guesthouse
View from Koh Ker Guesthouse
View from Koh Ker Guesthouse
View from Koh Ker Guesthouse
View from Koh Ker Guesthouse
Kittens at Koh Ker Guesthouse
Kittens at Koh Ker Guesthouse
Kitten at Koh Ker Guesthouse
Kitten at Koh Ker Guesthouse

On the drive back from Koh Ker, Dieb and Ty were in the van with us going to Siem Reap, and we stopped at my all time favorite Khmer temple, Beng Mealea. Again, I’ve been before, but David had not, and surprisingly, neither had Dieb or Ty. They knew about it of course, and because they are familiar with many of the legends, could interpret the stories portrayed on some of the stones, but it was still fun to see it new through their eyes.

Feet at Beng Mealea
Feet at Beng Mealea
Apsara at Beng Mealea
Apsara at Beng Mealea
Beng Mealea
Beng Mealea
Beng Mealea
Beng Mealea
Beng Mealea
Lori Carlson at Beng Mealea
Beng Mealea
Beng Mealea

If you’re interested in booking a tour with Koh Ker Treks or staying at the guesthouse in Srayang (or both) you can contact the Seven Candles Guesthouse in Siem Reap and they can hook you up.

Disclaimer: As always, we received no compensation for this post and we always pay for our accommodations and tours ourselves.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. lucy says:

    I can’t say enough good things about these temple tours. It’s not quite on the level of Indiana Jones, but with the exception of the main temple, we saw no one else the two times we went out here. Depending on your fitness level and the weather, you can choose to tour by car, treking or motorbike. Well worth the time to go out here!

  2. Lynn says:

    Yay! Another post!! Stunning photos as usual. I admittedly am not really a cat person, but especially LOVE the picture of the wide-eyed kitten. The temples are fascinating. A friend of mine is an archeologist, and we’re both intrigued by ancient architecture. Though, um, yeah … I would not have climbed that old ladder either! Looking forward to more!

    1. If you can, you should go! It’s totally fascinating. Shhhh… little known fact; my first major was Archaeology (needless to say, that didn’t happen).

  3. Clare says:

    What a beautiful place! Thanks for sharing your photos.

    I’m not sure I could cope with leaving such beautiful kittens though 🙁

    1. It was really difficult!

  4. Kathe Jervis says:

    Kristina,

    Am on your site to see what you have to say about Budapest and Vienna. So I just booked with Austrian Airlines!

    Your pictures and text are so special. (Loved the detail about how to read a newspaper and drink coffee at the same time.) Will definitely stay on the more active side of Budapest. Reading your Travel Tyrant post and all the rest reminds me how important your blog has been over the years started with Rome and then onto connecting me with Lori. The two weeks teaching at Tchey and staying at Seven Candles was a highlight.

    Hope all is well. Can’t wait to read your Shanghai post. (Had the chance to go this January but the long flight for a short trip deterred me. Maybe you’ll convince me to reinstate.)

    Kathe

    1. Thanks Kathe! I admit I am woefully behind on my blog posts, but I’ll get them done someday! I did enjoy Shanghai for what it’s worth. 🙂

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