Angkor is the main symbol of Cambodia. You can see it on the national flag and represents legendary ancient capital of the kingdom. Movies about Indiana Jones and Lara Croft were shot there. It's protected under UNESCO world heritage and as a consequence of everything mentioned you have to spend 20$ per a day of visit.
Price sounds a bit excessive and after some research we found alternative. There is a temple, which was also a part of massive complex of Angkor. But because of it's remoteness (it's located 40 km eastern of main objects) you have to visit it separately. Separately you have to pay also the entrance fee and it's just $5. It's called Beng Mealea and unless you consider yourself a proffesional historian I think this option gives beter ratio between offer and price.
This article explains how to get to Beng Mealea temple.
Beng Mealea is located 31km away from main road 6 which connects Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. The easiest way is to take a turn in Dam Daek. If you go by bus from Phnom Penh or Siem Reap it will drop you of at that same crossroads. There you can take a tuk tuk which should cost around $5 or try your luck with hitchhiking. We choosed the last option, so I can say it's possible. But expect it's easier to get a ride to Beng Mealea in the morning and the opposite way in the afternoon.
I don't know the reason why, but the ticket selling booth is about one kilometer before the temple. So, if you're hitchhiking you must ask your driver to stop there. If you're taking tuk tuk it will stop anyway.
But for those a bit more adventurous type there might be an option to get inside the temple for free. It's described later in the text and those don't need to buy tickets at this point of course :)
There are two official entrances to the temple. One is from the west. But main entrance is from the south. If you take a tuk tuk it will probably drop you of in front of this one (blue dotted line.) From there you can just go straight over the bridge, show your ticket and start your Indiana Jones experience (green line.)
But there is also another option which we discovered when exploring surroundings. There is also third entrance, which was not supervised at the time of me being there. To find it just go straight from the main entrance, following the road to the east (orange line.) You will get to the Y-crossroads where you should turn left (photo below left.) The road will get more a jungle path but it will get you to the eastern entrance. There is also another path which even more narrow and cuts the long turn (red line.) Photo below right shows the turn from orange marked road.
If you decide to stay in Beng Mealea overnight there are unmarked home stays available. If you go to any house and ask for rooms they will at least be able to show where you have to go. Most of such guesthouses are located by the main road just before the left turn for Svay Leu on the right side looking towards the temple. Don't expect commodity. There is no WiFi and electricity is available only for a couple of hours after the sunset when they turn on generators.
Expected price should be around $5 / person / night. But we managed to bargain down to $12 altogether for two persons and two nights.
Street food is available near the main entrance and by the road between ticket booth and the temple.
1. Go to the turn for Svay Leu in Dam Daek on the main road 6 (Phnom Penh - Siem Reap)
2. Take tuk tuk or hitchhike to Beng Mealea (tuk tuk = $5)
3. 1km before the temple there is a ticket selling booth
4. The temple is located just after the left turn for Svay Leu.
5. Main entrance is just a couple of meters after the turn.
5. If you feel more adventurous try to find the eastern entrance through the jungle :)
Last update on: 10/3/2016