Prasat Bakong, also known as Bakong Temple, is a significant historical site located near modern Siem Reap in Cambodia. It is the first Khmer temple mountain constructed by rulers of the Khmer Empire in Angkor. Built in the 9th century, Prasat Bakong served as the official state temple of King Indravarman I in the ancient city of Hariharalaya. The temple’s design and structure bear resemblance to the Borobudur temple in Java, suggesting that Borobudur may have served as its prototype.
Situated about 15km from Siem Reap town, Prasat Bakong attracts a considerable number of tourists. Although it is not as crowded as the main temples at Angkor, it still receives a fair share of visitors seeking to explore its historical and architectural significance. There are various transportation options available to reach the temple, and tours often include other temples in the Roluos Group, to which Prasat Bakong belongs.
The temple’s layout comprises three concentric enclosures separated by two moats. Within this structure, visitors can explore the central temple pyramid and several smaller buildings. The pyramid itself consists of five levels adorned with intricate carvings, although some have unfortunately been lost over time. The temple’s design and the presence of carvings and statues make it a captivating destination for those interested in Khmer architecture and art.
While there are some accommodation options near Prasat Bakong, most tourists prefer to stay in Siem Reap, where a wider range of facilities and services are available. Despite this, Prasat Bakong is worth visiting due to its historical importance and its relatively less crowded environment compared to the main temples at Angkor Wat. It provides a unique opportunity to explore the architectural wonders of the Khmer Empire and immerse oneself in the rich history of Cambodia.