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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.