Cambodia’s One Of The Most Sacred Mountains, Phnom Kulen

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Phnom Kulen is one of the most sacred mountains in Cambodia. The literal meaning of it is Mountain of the Lychees. To put it concisely, we can say that Phnom Kulen was a treasure to Khmer people as it was known as the birthplace of the Khmer empire. It happened in 804 CE when King Jayavarman II announced publicly about Cambodia independence from Java. Fascinatingly, people from ancient times even called Phnom Kulen “Mahendraparvata” which means “Mountain of Indra, the king of the Gods”. Back to the present day, people still highly value and give so much respect to this mountain.

Above that, Phnom Kulen has also become an attraction for tourists both national and international. It is about 45km away from Siem Reap province. Plus, visitors can access to this mountain by car, van, motorbike, bike, and Tok Tok. Moreover, it only takes 1,5 to 2 hours to reach Phnom Kulen and you will feel blessed with what the site has to offer. In order to make it easy for tourists who want to visit this site, we have listed down the most well-known attractions in Phnom Kulen area for you.

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Visit Cambodia’s one of the most sacred Mountains, Phnom Kulen


The Waterfall (Main Attraction) – Phnom Kulen

Phnom Kulen National Park
Source: wikipedia
  • Location: 45km northeast of Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, inside Phnom Kulen national park
  • Ticket price: There will be local people who are in charge of ticketing waiting for you at the entrance. After you pay, you can access to most of the places in Phnom Kulen site without having to pay again.
    • National tourists: $2+
    • International tourists: $20
  • Environment

Phnom Kulen National Park
Source: silversmithresidence

Phnom Kulen is well-known for its undeniably breathtaking waterfall. Being the main attraction in Phnom Kulen, the waterfall does not disappoint the tourists. Once you are on your way up to the mountain, you will be able to detect the sound of the water flowing if you listen attentively. Additionally, the views along the road to the top and the relaxing sound of the water are wonderfully peaceful that it could get you to feel the tranquility. When you arrive, all the worries and stresses that you have will be gone. Precisely, the beauty of the waterfall in Phnom Kulen seems to have this power to make us feel stress-free and lively.

You can play in the water since most of the places are not that deep; however, we suggest you have at least a bit of knowledge about swimming to fully enjoy your time. In addition, the water is very clear that you can see all the small groups of fishes moving inside. Not only that, the astonishing scenery of the waterfall is exquisitely beautiful. So, if you happen to come to Phnom Kulen, visiting the waterfall is a must. However, if you go by bus, van, car, or motorbike, you need to get there before 11am since the road in Phnom Kulen is one-way traffic.

Kbal Spean

Kbal Spean - Phnom Kulen
Source: exoticmyanmartravel
  • Location: southwest slopes of the Kulen Hills to the northeast of Angkor in Siem Reap District, Siem Reap province
  • Ticket price: for international tourists, you need to get Angkor Pass which is about $20
  • Environment

Kbal Spean is one of the spectacular sites in Phnom Kulen national park that visitors should never miss. Since it sets deep in the jungle, people have to walk for about 1.5km to witness a waterfall and water flow of the thousand lingas. Although it sounds tiring for some people, we highly recommend you to take this challenge and walk. The reason is when you get to see how beautiful and splendid the waterfall look, you will not regret walking this far to the top.

Moreover, the view along the way is also very tranquil which you will not feel bored or tired of seeing such a, without doubt, one of the prettiest waterfalls in the site. Plus, many other carvings on the stone of the water that makes us wonder why the Khmer ancestors carved those stones into different designs like that. In order to completely understand, we suggest you to bring a tour guide with you for they might be able to answer this question.

Thousand Linga

Thousand Linga
Source: incrediblesights
  • Location: within Kbal Spean area
  • Ticket price: included in the admission fee of Angkor Pass
  • Environment:

Ancient Khmer people believe strongly in Buddhism and Hinduism. Therefore, we could witness a lot of statues to represent the Gods in which they believed. It only takes you 2 minutes to access this place once you are at Kbal Spean. You will see the cavings of a thousand Lingas that Khmer people built to show their respect towards the Gods. This spot in Kbal Spean within Phnom Kulen national site is also famous among tourists and local people.

First, it is the skill in creating something so uniquely beautiful of ancient Khmer people. Secondly, because of its uniqueness, tourists want to witness how the carvings actually look like. On the other hand, local people hold a strong belief that the water that flow passes these carvings has the power to provide peace and happiness to them. As a result, local people would take the water to wash their faces for a more prosperous life. This belief also brought many national and international tourists to visit this place when they come to Phnom Kulen too.

Preah Ang Thom Pagoda – Phnom Kulen

Preah Ang Thom Pagoda - Phnom Kulen
Source: travelblog
  • Location: Phnom Kulen, Siem Reap
  • Ticket price: included in the admission fee of Phnom Kulen national park
  • Environment

Preah Ang Thom Pagoda has received a lot of recognition for its state of being a religious place for Khmer people. When going to site, it is a must to visit this pagoda. When you are done from playing with the waterfall, you can just walk or hire a motor-taxi to reach this pagoda in Phnom Kulen. On top of that, the religious design of this pagoda can provide visitors a new side of the ancient pagoda in Cambodia. Furthermore, Kulen mountain has become famous because of its cultural and historical background.

Hence, visiting the pagoda to enhance your experience about Khmer history should be a key factor to make your trip in Kulen mountain feel complete. Inside this pagoda, visitors will have to walk on quite a long stair to reach the top. However, it does not take so long if you have good stamina. When you arrive, you will see a lot of people paying respect to the statues of buddhas and monks. Along with the beautiful scenery surrounding the pagoda, this place in Phnom Kulen site can offer visitors a different kind of enjoyment when they are here.

Srah Domrei

Srah Domrei
Source: youtube | Lao Haklao
  • Location: Phnom Kulen, Siem Reap
  • Ticket price: included in the admission fee of Phnom Kulen national park
  • Environment

Once reaching the waterfall in Phnom Kulen, you will have to walk to arrive at Srah Domrei (elephant ponds). This attraction in Phnom Kulen national park locates deep in the jungle; therefore, you might need a local guide to lead you the way. What you will see are huge statues of elephants and lions that will spark your interest as you will wonder why ancient Khmer people build these statues in such a deep forest. Hence, the local tour guide will be able to explain to you the history of this place. Most importantly, the mystical statues that locate inside the jungle are like a guard to make us feel safe while being inside this place. Visitors can spend their time exploring nature while hiking to this place in the area.

Reclining Budha – Phnom Kulen

Reclining Budha - Phnom Kulen
Source: theculturetrip
  • Location: inside Preah Ang Thom pagoda
  • Ticket: included in the admission fee of Phnom Kulen national park
  • Environment:

For those who are interested in religion, visiting this huge statue of Buddha reclining will be an enjoyable experience for you. Interestingly, this statue of the Buddha is in Phnom Kulen site inside Preah Ang Thom pagoda. It locates on top of the mountain. Therefore, while you are on your way to visit the statue, you can take your time to enjoy the pleasant smell of nature as well as the peacefulness of the view from the top of the mountain.

On top of that, while you are seeing the statue of the Buddha reclining in the site, you can also take this opportunity to pray for the safety of your loved ones, as well as the happiness to come to your family. Every year, a large number of visitors who go to Phnom Kulen national park always take their time to come here and pray. Due to the accompany of the beautiful scenery, this statue also gets a lot of recognition from visitors as well.


In conclusion, Phnom Kulen plays a really essential role in Khmer people’s life in both the cultural and tourism aspects. For tourism, it has brought a lot of income to the nation’s GNP that makes the economy in Cambodia rose. Interestingly, Phnom Kulen is the most suitable place in Siem Reap for travelers who prefer to spend their time with nature during their holiday. With all the astonishing and spectacular views of nature surrounding Kulen mountain, tourists will never disappoint to spend their time in this place with their loved ones. In short, if you want to have fun with a uniquely amazing experience of Cambodia’s nature and culture, Phnom Kulen is the best place for you.

 

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