The heavily templed-area surrounding the village of Choam Khsan
I wanted to give you a flavour of the Carte Archeologique du Cambodge maps that I picked up from the Carnets d'Asie bookshop last night on Street 184. They are incredibly detailed and are a must have for any temple explorer bent on re-discovering some of the Angkorean gems that are to be found in the Cambodian countryside. For example, I have been to the northern village of Choam Khsan in Preah Vihear province, very close to the Thai border, on a couple of occasions looking for temples. My first trip was to unravel the mystery of Prasat Neak Buos and remains one of my most memorable forays to-date. I've visited eight temples so far but the map of the area, reproduced above, shows there are at least thirty temple sites in close proximity to the village, waiting to be seen. What the map doesn't tell me of course is how damn difficult it is to find some of these sites, especially in areas which are sparsely populated or where the inhabitants are newcomers to the locale. Often people have no idea what's literally in their own backyard. And without locating someone who knows where the temple site is, you can spend hours aimlessly searching the scrub and undergrowth, notwithstanding the real threat of landmines in a location like this. The maps are produced by the Ministry of Culture and EFEO, they provide details of all the major and minor temple sites and locations of archaeological interest, in both Khmer and French versions. There are 16 provincial maps and a few more besides, for example detailed maps of the Koh Ker complex and Sambor Prei Kuk, etc. They cost $3 each or $5 for the Siem Reap province map. I have been waiting years for a resource such as this. Get them today!