If you've thought about seeing the temples at Angkor, then Beng Mealea is the temple you dream about seeing. This one has it all, folks: ancient culture, jungle, and very few tourists. And best of all, where the paths at the other temples get roped off when the reconstruction ends, at Beng Mealea you can climb over it all.
This was the third stop on our long excursion day. And if it didn't take so long to get here, I would recommend a separate trip so you could take a few hours to explore. But being that our time was rather tight, we couldn't've done it any other way.
We arrived late in the day and the sun shone low through the jungle. The ruins were dark and the humid air took away all of the advantages of the shade. The tricky footing caught one guy unawares, and he took a tumble and got scraped up. A group of girls followed us all throughout the visit -- don't imagine there's much else to do. And heck, what a cool place to hang out in as a kid. And that's pretty much the way the ruins make you feel -- like a kid exploring.
And even though there's been tour groups, archaeologists, landmine removers, and all sorts of other people exploring the ruins for years now, you still feel like you're the first one. And that's the magic of Beng Mealea.