Everyone in Cambodia must be familiar with Sambor Prei Kuk temple. After the UNESCO declared this temple as the world heritage site on July 8th, 2017, this mysterious temple has been able to catch the attention of the people from many nations. This temple located only 25 kilometers northeast of Kompong Thom city in Prasat Sambor district. Interestingly, the temple has a literal name “the temple in the richness of the forest” built in the 7th century during the reign of King Isanavarman I.
Moreover, most of the Khmer ancestors during the reign of the said king were Shaivism, which refers to the belief of Hinduism with Shiva as the supreme god. Therefore, in the past, Sambor Prei Kuk temple was the place for people to pray and worship their god. Nowadays, it has become one of the biggest attractions in Cambodia that everyone is curious about. Although the is quite far from the city, it does not stop visitors from wanting to find out more about the greatness of this temple.
Sambor Prei Kuk
It is an understatement to say that Sambor Prei Kuk temple can provide a unique experience to visitors. With how magnificent it looks like from afar, tourists will be in awe when they first spot the temple. Additionally, as soon as you are close to the temple, you will understand why UNESCO chose to declare Sambor Prei Kuk as the world heritage site. First of all, the art developed in this temple was in the Angkor period of Khmer style.
As we all have known how great of Khmer ancestors’ artistic talent was, you will have no problem to imagine how astonishing it looks like. The special solid bricks, laterite, and sandstone made Sambor Prei Kuk temple standing tall for such a long period of time enable tourists to fall in love with the style of it. Despite having brick as the main material in constructing the temple, the Khmer ancestors also used for sandstone for some particular structures.
On top of that, most parts of the temple like the pillars, door frames and lintel were also built from sandstone. Some of the elements used to build this temple were true masterpieces. These materials such as colonnades and pediments had to be chosen very carefully to create this beautiful monument. You can see how dedicated the ancient Khmer people were when they were this temple. Each statue was very detailed that you cannot help but admire the handwork of the Khmer people. Over and above that, each carving on the walls of the temple illustrated the specific pictures that can make the tourists feel satisfied with the astounding artwork.
Where Sambor Prei Kuk situates is in the forest and surrounded by enormous trees. Hence, some tourists find it difficult to access to Sambor this temple. However, we strongly suggest you give yourself a try and visit Sambor Prei Kuk temple. The road to this striking monument only makes the journey even more enjoyable. A variety of greenish trees allow visitors to feel at ease. Moreover, the peaceful atmosphere along the way until you reach the destination can calm the mood of tourists to be in a sense of tranquility.
Plus, nature enables you to feel protected and secured that you cannot help but love the ambiance of Sambor Prei Kuk. Above that, when you reach to Sambor Prei Kuk temple, the eye-pleasing beauty of this masterpiece will amaze you in a way that you cannot explain. What attracts tourists the most is how dazzling Sambor Prei Kuk looks when you first catch a glimpse of it. Standing so strong even after a long period of time of existence, Sambor Prei Kuk is like a lonely majestic monument located in the middle of the jungle, waiting for visitors to discover all the greatness that it has to offer. Not only that, but it also presents a mysterious type of beauty that makes one wants to stay there to discover all the hidden stories behind this transcendent temple.
One fascinating fact about Sambor Prei Kuk’s site is the fact that it used to be the capital of the Khmer empire during the Chenla era during King Isanavarman I. Most importantly, Sambor Prei Kuk archaeological site has one temple named Prasat Yeah Poun which bore the carving of 12 men. Nevertheless, the features of the men in the carvings look different from the Khmer people. They look more like a foreigner which raised speculation that ancient people in Sambor Prei Kuk site during Chenla era had a connection with foreigners.
However, it was only a rumor that people came up with. To, believe it or not, it depends on you. Thus, this makes it another reason to visit Sambor Prei Kuk site to see the impressive temples there with your own eyes. Not only is the capital of Chenla in the early 7th century, but it also continued to act as a crucial learning center for Khmer people during the Angkorian era as well.
What you can do at Sambor Prei Kuk is sightseeing the surroundings and the inside of the temple. The environment is extremely tranquil due to the surrounding forest, Sambor Prei Kuk offers visitors a quality time there with their loved ones, family or friends. Additionally, travelers can take their time just walking around the site and observing all kinds of styles at Sambor Prei Kuk archaeological site. We can assure that the time you spend enjoying the views will be worthwhile.
On the other hand, you can also hire local people to be your own personal tour guide to make the experience even more enjoyable. Above that, the local tour guide allows you to know more about the history of Sambor Prei Kuk site and other temples located in the said place as well. By doing so, tourists can help the local people gaining more income to support their family and improving their living standards while also having the best time at Sambor Prei Kuk.
On top of that, when you get inside the temple, there were Sanskrit writings on the walls which will definitely spark your interest. Furthermore, the elegantly decoration and architecture that the ancient Khmer people used in building this temple is really something that should gain the compliment from everyone. Therefore, to find out more about this, you should really consider visiting this monumental masterpiece of Sambor Prei Kuk site when you come to Kampong Thom province.
Additionally, it is very easy to get to Sambor Prei Kuk temple regardless of the surrounded forest. You can either use your own car, hire a bus, or ride a motorcycle to reach the destination. First, you have to go straight to NH62 road. Then, you have turn right after 11 kilometers of driving at the laterite sign. Lastly, you will see the new entrance of the temple after you continue for 14 more kilometers.
For those who prefer adventurous road can use their own motorcycle. Also, you are likely to feel the fresh air that nature provides to you. On the other hand, it can take quite long to reach Sambor Prei Kuk site; hence, driving a car or a bus seems to be a good idea for tourists who prefer fewer hardships. Both types of vehicles will provide you a different type of experience that you will never forget.
Last but not least, by having completed all the criteria in the list, Sambor Prei Kuk temple has finally been declared as UNESCO’s world heritage site on the 8th of July 2017. Most importantly, Sambor Prei Kuk temple becomes more popular among local people and foreigners after it got listed as the world heritage property. This leads more tourists to visit Cambodia, especially Kampong Thom province. Additionally, the news got everyone in Cambodia feeling so delighted that the ancient treasure in the country finally got the recognition it deserved.
In short, the Sambor Prei Kuk temple never fails to make visitors feel mesmerizing with what it has to offer. Starting with the views of the surrounding forest to the actual building of the temple, visitors can spend their whole day at this temple without feeling bored at all. Moreover, the artistic design of the temple can bring you back to experience the of going back to the past and witness the prosperous lifestyle of ancient Khmer people.
On top of that, the striking scenery inside and outside of the temple can make the tourists feel like a few hours will not be enough to spend exploring the site. In short, you will want to spend your time discovering the temple again and again with how pretty it looks which is very well-deserved to be in UNESCO’s world heritage list.