We’ll pick you up from your hotel in the morning and head out of town towards the Rolous group, located about 13km from Siem Reap’s Pub Street. It was the first capital of Khmer Empire, Hariharalaya. After, king Jayavarman II established his capital on Mount Kulen in 802, he then moved his capital to Hariharalaya, perhaps for better source of food or for defence purposes.
There are some of the earliest khmer-built temples which mark the beginning of classical period of Khmer civilization, dating back to the late 9th century. The Rolous temple group includes Bakong, Lolei, Preah Ko and other small temples. In most buildings of Rolous group, towers were built from bricks, and carved areas such as columns, lintels and decorative niches were made from sandstones.
Then, we’ll continue our tour northeast to Beng Mealea temple that is about 50km from the Rolous Group. The history of the temple is not clear. Many archaeologists assume that this temple was built during the Angkor Wat period in the early 12th century because its style of architecture looks exactly the same as Angkor Wat. Thus, this temple was built during king Suryavarman II’s reign who also constructed Angkor Wat temple.
In 1992, Beng Mealea became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is known as “the sister of Angkor Wat” due to its identical design. The temple has collapsed because of the growth of trees and a long period of civil war. As a result, there are blocks of sandstones lying on the ground. Many tourists don’t make their way to Beng Mealea due to the distance. Thus, it becomes a mysterious and peaceful temple among many other temples in Siem Reap.