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Banteay Meanchey Province

Situated in northwestern Cambodia, Banteay Meanchey--“Fortress of Victory” in Khmer--is a charming province that offers a wide selection of natural and historical attractions, including ancient temple complexes, wildlife reserves, and a crane sanctuary. Though primarily known to visitors for its Thai-Cambodian border crossing in Poipet, Banteay Meanchey is much more than just a passing-through spot. Adventurous travelers will find the province presents plenty of opportunities to sample authentic Khmer culture and take in the stunning natural beauty Cambodia has to offer. Banteay Meanchey's capital is Serei Sophon (also known as Sisophon).
The main attraction in Banteay Meanchey is the 12th century temple of Banteay Chhmar.
Built under Jayavarman VII between the 12th and 13th centuries, the Banteay Chhmar Temple complex is a lesser-known, but equally magnificent, alternative to the Angkor Wat temples. Just two hours from Siem Reap, Banteay Chhmar is a unique historical treasure: a massive, sprawling temple complex tucked away in a largely-untouched location, surrounded by lush vegetation. Banteay Chhmar Temple is one of the two temple complexes outside of Angkor that feature massive stone “face-towers” bearing Bayon-style enigmatic smiles. Abundant sandstone bas-reliefs in the temples depict images of mythical Cambodian battles along with scenes from daily life.
The enormous complex of Banteay Chhmar is perhaps one of the most intriguing in the Khmer empire, both in terms of its scale and its relative seclusion. This mysterious temple complex embodies perfectly the image of a lost Khmer city; ruined structures with exotic carvings are strewn about in dense forest surroundings, while the occasional bird call echoes through the temple walls to break the stillness. Those who visit the temple will find many beautiful carvings hidden amongst the ruins and broken colonnades.
In the vicinity, there are at least a dozen smaller temples, all in ruinous state. These include Prasat Mebon, Ta Prohm, Prom Muk Buon, Yeay Choun, Pranang Ta Sok and Prasat Ciem Trey.
Banteay Chhmar is not on the tourist map, but a trip to this exotic site is one adventure you will harbor in your memory for a long time.

Places of Interest:

Phnom Bak and Phnom Chenh Chiang
Phnom Bak and Phnom Chenh Chiang are natural and cultural sites located in Serei Sopoan district along Natioanl Road 5, about 5 kilometers west of Banteay Meanchey provincial town. The two mountains are near one another. The vertical faces of the muntains are like a wall.

At the flank, there is a place for visitors te relax. At the foot of the mountain is a large well, 10 square meters and 12 meters deep. Some stone statues are sculptured there. There are also a number of vendors selling stone sculptures.

Laang Phnom Touch
Laang Phnom Touch is a natural and cultural site located in Monko Borei district along Natioanl Road5, about 28 kilometers south of the provincial town. The site features natural wells and big and small mountains with large stone faces and surfaces. From the mountaintops, visitors have a spectacular view of the natural forests and a pagoda on the mountainside. The site is popular wit local people on festival days.

Kang Va Basin
Kang Va basin is located in Serei Sopoan district along the National Road 69A, about 4kilometers northeast of the provincial town. This is a natural site where visitors can breathe fresh air, view beautiful scenery, swim, fish and ride boats. Kang Va basin bas built from 1976 to 1978, during the Khmer Rouge regime, as a water reservoir for dry season rice cultivation.

Trapiang Tma
Trapiang Tma is located in Phnom Srok district, about 56 kilometers east of the provincial town. It is a natural site similar to Kangva basin, but larger. There are fewer activities for tourists, however, because Trapiang Tma is farther from the provincial town.

Trapiang Tma is rich in gray cranes, an endangered species. Gray cranes migrate to Rattanakiri annually to aly their eggs. When their offspring are big enough, the cranes return to Trapiang Tma, because there is more food there.

Banteay Chhmar temple
Banteay Chhmar temple is a historical site located in Tma Puok district along National Road 69A , about 59 kilometers north of the provincial town. A temple was built in the 12th  and 13th centuries, during the reign of King Jayavarman VII. But years of war have laid waste to the temple, and thieves and villagers have removed the statues and sculptures for sale in Thailand.

There are other temples in Banteay Meanchey province beside the Banteay Chhmar temple, including Banteay Toap, Preah Chhor and Pram temples. These temples, however, have not been conserved. Today, Banteay Chhmar temple is an important site in Banteay Meanchey province the development of international tourism.