Chau Say Vibol
Chau Say Vibol, usually spelt Chau Srei Vibol, sometimes Chao Srey Vibhol or Chaw Srei Vibol, is pronounced with an open "o".
Chai Say Vibol is the vastest temple complex in the Angkor plains that is situated outside the Archaeological Park. It lies to the east of Angkor and to the north-east of Roluos. It is an "off the beaten track" monument. A visitor should neither expect intact buildings nor delicious works of art, because Chau Say Vibol is unrestored. Even the original structure was not at all luxurously decorated, though constructed in Angkor's heydays in the 12th century. It is most probably from the Angkor Wat period in the first half of the century.
Chau Say Vibol was not a remote temple in its time, since it was actually located on the old main route from Angkor to the northeast, halfway to Beng Melea and the Phnom Kulen sandstone quarries. But not much is known about Chau Say Vibol, because of the lack of inscriptions.
At the basis of Chau Say Vibol there is a new pagoda belonging to a Buddhist monastery. It is situated within the medieval temple compound, but you will scarcely notice that: The original outer enclosure wall and the moat are not visible any more. What you see at the car park - and what seems to be large enough for an outer temple wall of considerable length - , indeed, is only the second enclosure. It is a laterite wall with sandstone Gopuram gates at the cardinal points. Some lintels are preserved. (Lintels are horizontal beams spanning the gap between two posts.)
Inside this vast compound there are two completely different structures worth a visit, one is on the top of the natural hillock in the very centre, the other one is at its southern basis. Both are in ruins, but well recognizable.
The function of the latter one is unknown. It is a kind of cloisture, a courtyard surrounded by galleries, with a Gopuram to the west. Strangely enough, there is no Prasat inside this court. Rather, another gallery running west-east is the central structure of the ensemble. Mind your steps, don't expect the chunks to be a sound basis. But if you enjoy climbing in ruins and crossing dark aisles, this is your site. And you will not have to share it with other visitors.
On the top of the hill there is an ensemble of sandstone edifices with a more common layout. An enclosure gallery surrounds a central Prasat and a library, which is one of the few intact buildings. Locals claim the temple complex was smashed by Siamese invaders. The north gallery is surmounted by a tree with its rootes strangling the stone, making Chau Say Vibol a typical Angkor jungletemple. A modern pagoda hall (Vihan) nearby, here on top of the hill, is a striking contrast to the original temple in ruins.
Afternoon hours are slightly more recommendable than morning hours for a visit of Chau Say Vibol. But it doesn't matter much. A ticket is not required at this remote temple.