Wat Hat Nokor is a small rural pagoda with tranquil, well-tended grounds surrounding a simple, charming laterite-and-sandstone eleventh-century temple built by Suryavarman I. The temple was never finished, and it’s assumed that either the architect died or war intervened during its construction. A single gopura on the eastern side of the temple gives access to the courtyard enclosing a cruciform sanctuary, Prasat Kuk Nokor, which once contained a linga and niches housing statues of Shiva and his wives. The central section of the south wall has collapsed, but you can still see a chamber built into the wall, where the sick came to be cured using holy water blessed by flowing over the linga in the central sanctuary. The library in the southeast corner of the courtyard was formerly used as a prison by the Khmer Rouge. The achar has a visitors’ book that he’ll no doubt get you to sign, and it’s polite to leave a donation.
The wat is about 2km west of the village of TAING KOK. Public transport will drop you either in the village or at the turning for the pagoda; motos are readily available at the turning for the journey to the temple (8000 riel including waiting time). If you’re using public transport on to Kompong Thom, you’ll need to flag down a taxi or minibus, best done from Taing Kok’s small market.