Your first minutes at Beng Mealea feel like you're stepping onto the set of an Indiana Jones movie. Vines and tree branches have taken over and transformed the temple into an adventurer's fantasy world. As I climbed through the outer wall of the temple and into a quiet inner courtyard I felt like an ancient explorer making the discovery of a lifetime.
This was my favorite of Angkor's temples - partly because it is one of the least-visited, and partly because of the adventure it provides. There are heaps of rocks to climb over, vines to swing on, and incredible visions of nature taking over man-made structures around every corner. As I crawled and climbed my way all over the temple, I marveled at nature's power to assert itself, no matter the circumstances.
If you want to act out your explorer fantasies, this amazing temple is definitely worth the trip. This temple is less than an hour's drive from Siem Riep, and it goes without saying that the picture-taking opportunities at this overgrown site are fantastic. The heat is oppressive so I recommend an early morning visit.