Prasat Preah Khan Kampong Svay (also known as Prasat Bakan by locals) is about 290 kilometers from Phnom Penh and 170 kilometers from Siem Reap. Bakan Temple (or Preah Khan Temple, Kampong Svay) is located in Bakan Village, Ranasir Commune, Sangkum Thmei District, Preah Vihear Province, 105 kilometers from Angkor City. Sdao commune is bounded on the south by Sakream commune, Prasat Balang district, Kampong Thom province, on the west by Khvav commune, Chi Kreng district, Siem Reap province, and on the east by Romtom commune, Rovieng district, Preah Vihear province. This temple sits on a 25-square-kilometer plot of land.
Bakan or Preah Khan, Kampong Svay, was built during the Angkorian period, between the mid-11th and early 12th centuries, in the Angkor Wat style. The surrounding temples were built in the late 12th and early 13th centuries in the Bayon style, and another in the 11th century was dedicated to Hinduism, but not yet completed. Most of the Bakan temples are dedicated to Buddhism.
Jayavarman VII built the temple of Preah Khan Kampong Svay in order to commemorate the victory over the Champa army invading the Angkorian kingdom. The Preah Khan temple area of Kampong Svay has military-strategic features during the reign of Jayavarman VII, because before this area was a deep forest surrounded by the Barays, rivers, and streams, springs falling from the Dangrek mountain. In addition, the temple is located next to an iron ore mine that could be used as a weapon of war for the army in the past.
From 1177 to 1181, Jayavarman VII used the geography of the Preah Khan temple area of Kampong Svay as a training ground for the army before leaving the army to pursue the Champa army and successfully invade Angkor. Following his victory, Jayavarman VII organized the construction of numerous temples throughout the country, strengthening the Kingdom of Cambodia in ancient times. To commemorate his victory at the time, he also built ancient temples and bridges in the Preah Khan area of Kampong Svay.
Due to the road conditions at the time, I recommend motorbikes before other vehicles.
No, it’s free
Since it’s a temple group you’ll have a chance to visit multiple temples and you’ll be spending at least a couple of hours there. Besides the different temple building structures, you’ll learn that each temple has a uniqueness and different dedications or purposes. You might need to be there early as possible otherwise you can be late to return due to the road condition, especially in the rainy season. Surely, there are a lot of photo spots.