Attraction Places


Capital of Cambodia from AD. 921. Likely called Lingapura (City of Lingas). Jayavarman IV moved capital to Koh Ker.

In AD 802, King Jayavaman II declared himself the king of kings on the Kulen Mountains near Siem Reap. From this time onward Cambodia’s rulers centered their capitals in the area of Siem Reap. The first major capital on the Tonle Sap Plain was Hariharalaya (now known as Rolous) outsite of Siem Reap.
The capital shifted from Hariharalaya to the area where most of the temples now stand in the late 9th century. This new capital was called Yasodharapura in honour of the founding King Yasovarman I.
The capital of Angkor was to remain in this area for the next half millennium except for a brief interregnum when the capital shifted to Koh Ker.

Koh Ker is a massive site and appropriate time must be taken if the visitor is to see as many temples as possible. The largest feature at the site is the ancient baray (a large man- made lake), the Rahal. These reservoirs are often interpreted as representing the cosmic ocean of Hindo lore. A line of temples run a long the eastern side of the baray. To northwest of the baray lies the most significant monument at Koh Ker, the Prang or stepped pyramid. There are three temples on the west side of the road leading south. To the east of the road, south of the baray, there are four temples, Prasat Damrei, Prasat Ang Khna, Prasat Andong and Prasat Khmau. There is also a carved wet -season riverbed near Prasat damrei called Kbal Damrei.

Visitors to Koh Ker will be pleased by the pleasant surroundings and especially to find themselves in an exclusive group as a few people are currently visiting the temples. There some engaging activities to partake of including an ox-cart tour of the site. The proceeds from this go to help the local villagers improve their incomes and to protect the temple from further looting.
Take a day to visit Koh Ker and take home a very special memory of Cambodia, one that few others have and be sure to take a ride in an ox cart or to try the traditional palm sugar candies!!!


Built by King Jayavarman VII. Dates to 12th Century A.D. Fabulous reliefs decorate exterior similar to Bayon.
A remote and ruined temple with massive face-towers and intricate carvings shrouded in mist and jungle vegetation conjures up all the romanticism of a lost Khmer city. One such place where this is a reality is Banteay Chhmar in the northwestern corner of Cambodia, close to the border with near neighbor Thailand. Located in Banteay Meanchey Province. It is 165 kilometres from Angkor, Siem Reap.

Never fully excavated and inaccessible for decades due to Khmer Rouge activity in the area, Banteay Chhmar (”Narrow Fortress”) was constructed late in the 12th century, allegedly as the funerary temple of King Jayarvarman VII’s son, the Crown Prince Indravarman and four generals killed in the war against the Chams. Other scholars have suggested it was built following the death of Rajapatindralakshmi, the paternal grandmother of the King.

The temple complex lies sixty kilometres north of Sisophon along Route 69 and just thirteen kilometres from the Thai border. From Sisophon, it takes around 2.5 hours on a motorbike to travel the 43 kilometres to the village of Thmar Puok or 1 hour by taxi and then another seventeen kilometres to the south-west corner of the moat surrounding Banteay Chhmar. The road follows the moat around to the east side and a broad causeway, flanked by the baray, signals the entrance to the temple-city. Foreign visitors have so far been few and far between, although the improved security situation in the area will one day make the temple a popular diversion for those taking the overland route from Thailand into Cambodia via Poipet.

Banteay Chhmar originally covered an area of 2.5 x 2km (in comparison, Angkor Thom is 3km square) and contained the main sandstone temple, a number of other religious structures and a baray (1500 x 700m) to the east of the temple. Lying outside the moat-enclosed main temple’s eastern entrance is an isolated stone rest-house, known as a dharmasala (similar to the one found at Preah Khan in Angkor). A wall measuring 250 x 190 metres surrounds the temple proper, with four gopuras in the middle of each side. Its outer face carries bas-reliefs on three tiers showing alternating military and religious scenes, recalling those of the outer gallery of the Bayon, including battle scenes featuring the Chams (left). Although some parts of the wall have collapsed, the best of the reliefs are south of the gopura on the west wall and include a series of eight colossal standing, multi-armed Lokitesvaras, facing west.


Preah Vihear temple is 405 Km from Phnom Penh, and 108 Km from the provincial town of Preah Vihea. Preah Vihear temple was known as ” Sekhari Svarak ” ( Power of mountain ) in ancient time. It was built in the late 9th and early 10th centuries.

The temple that I was really keen to visit was Preah Vihear, technically located in the northernmost tip of Cambodia but only easily accessible from northeast Thailand. Since it re-opened to visitors in 1998, this mainly 11th century site has been a magnet for Thai nationals, keen to see a jewel of Khmer history that they feel was mistakenly awarded to Cambodia by an International Court ruling in 1962. Without doubt, the temple has the most remarkable setting of all the Khmer sites either within Cambodia or the northeastern region of Thailand, known as Isaan. Perched high on a cliff edge of the Dongrek Escarpment overlooking Cambodia some 600 metres below, Preah Vihear or Khao Phra Viharn (as its known in Thai) was closed for decades because of its strategic location and the civil war raging in Cambodia, although it opened briefly between 1991 and 1993.

The 1½ to 2 hour hike takes you through a piece of the beautiful Dangrek Mountains, but never forget the hidden danger that is right nearby as you are walking - landmines, but nowadays the mines were cleared already. That aside, it is a scenic and peaceful walk through a former battle zone. Before you see the temple, you will be surprised to see a clearing off to the left that has a beautifully paved road in the distance. It’s not much further beyond that you come to the temple gateway and ancient stairway leading to the temple and the gorgeous views of where you just came from.


When the visitors had visited the reclining Buddha, waterfalls and riverbed carvings (1000 Lingas) on Phnom Kulen, they never forget what they have seen and they always want to come again. But the isolated 9th century brick temples, built by Jayavarman II, on a separate part of the Kulen mountain range and the ‘River of a Thousand Lingas’, Waterfall, active pagoda and other ruin temples, proved to be a double adventure worthy of the time and discomfort we had to endure.
How long does it take to drive? It takes 2 hours drive from town to the waterfall because we drive through jungle on the top of mountain range.

The plateau is well wooded and due to its almost 500 meters in height the temperature is characterized by cool evenings and crisp mornings. For a long time well off the beaten-track, some tour companies now run trekking and camping trips to Phnom Kulen.
There is a separate entrance fee of $20 per person for Kulen Mountain national park.


Date: 11th - 13th century. Hindu/Buddhist. King Suryavarman I.
Kbal Spean is known as the Valley of a 1000 lingas and is set deep in the jungle. A 45- minutes uphill walk through the wood takes you to the river and waterfall where innumerable stone phalluses are carved on the riverbed. These were fertility symbols designed to bless the water. Kbal Spean is a spectacularly carved riverbed, set deep in the jungle to the northeast of Angkor . More commonly referred to in English as the ‘River of a Thousand Lingas’, the name actually means ‘bridgehead’, a reference to the natural rock bridge at the site. Lingas have been elaborately carved into the riverbed, and images of Hindu deities are dotted about the area.

It is a 2km uphill walk to the carvings, along a pretty path that winds its way up into the jungle, passing by some interesting boulder formations along the way. Carry plenty of water up the hill, as there is none available beyond the parking area. The path eventually splits to the waterfall or the river carvings. There is an impressive carving of Vishnu on the upper section of the river, followed by a series of carvings at the bridgehead itself, many of which have been tragically hacked off in the past few years. This area is now roped off to protect the carvings from further damage.

Following the river down, there are several more impressive carvings of Vishnu, and Shiva with his consort Uma, and further downstream hundreds of linga appear on the riverbed. At the top of the waterfall, there are many animal images, including a cow and a frog, and a path winds around the boulders to a wooden staircase leading down to the base of the falls. Visitors between January and June will be disappointed to see very little water here. The best time to visit is between September and January.

Kbal Spean is about 50km northeast of Siem Reap or about 18km beyond the temple of Banteay Srei . The road is good now, but it should be surfaced in the near future because it continues north to Anlong Veng near the Thai border. Drivers will no doubt want a bit of extra money to take you here - a few extra dollars should do, including a trip to Banteay Srei. Admission to Kbal Spean is included in the general Angkor pass and the last entry to the site is at 15:30.


The ruin temple was constructed early 11th century by King Suryavarman II, Hindu, Style Angkor Wat. Beng Mealea is a spectacular sight to behold. It’s one of the most mysterious temples at Angkor , as nature has well and truly run riot. Built to the same floorplan as Angkor Wat, exploring this titanic of temples is Angkor ’s ultimate Indiana Jones experience. Built in the 12th century under Suryavarman II (r 1112-52), Beng Mealea is enclosed by a massive moat measuring 1.2km by 900m, much of which has dried up today.

The temple used to be utterly subsumed by jungle, but some of the dense foliage has been cut back in recent years. Entering from the south, visitors wend their way over piles of masonry, through long dark chambers and between hanging vines to arrive at the central tower, which has completely collapsed. Hidden away among the rubble and foliage are several impressive carvings, as well as a well-preserved library in the northeastern quadrant. The temple is a special place and it is worth taking the time to explore it thoroughly. There is also a large wooden walkway to the centre, originally constructed for the filming of Jean-Jacques Annaud’s Two (2004).

Beng Mealea is at the centre of an ancient Angkorian road connecting Angkor Thom and Preah Khan in Preah Vihear Province . A small Angkorian bridge just west of Chau Srei Vibol temple is the only remaining trace of the old Angkorian road between Beng Mealea and Angkor Thom; between Beng Mealea and Preah Khan there are at least 10 bridges abandoned in the forest. This is a way for extreme adventurers to get to Preah Khan temple ; however, don’t undertake this journey lightly.

It now costs US around US$5 to visit Beng Mealea and there are additional small charges for cars and motorcycles - make sure you work out in advance who is paying this. It is best to undertake a long day trip combining Beng Mealea and Koh Ker.