TBJ TRAVELS CAMBODIA 2: Phnom Kulen National Park + Travel Guide + Itinerary + Travel Cost


If you want to maximize your Siem Reap vacation or want an alternative to Temple hopping - because really, this is the main thing you can only do in this place- head up to Phnom Kulen.

Phnom Kulen is a mountain range that is located 30 kms. north of Angkor Wat, about an hour and a half ride from the city; it's as significant as Siem Reap's temples because it is considered as religious, historical, and symbolical by Cambodians due to the many important events that took place in it: 1. Buddhists and Hindus consider it as a 'Holy Mountain' as they come here for pilgrimage. 2. It is considered by Cambodians as the origin of the Khmer Empire when King Jayavarman II announced the country's freedom from Java on the same mountain range. 3. It served as the last fortress of the Khmer Rouge before their fall in 1979.

In here, you will find Phnom Kulen National Park, Preah Ang Thom, and Kbal Spean.

HOW TO GET TO PHNOM KULEN NATIONAL PARK

1. You must hire either a car or van; the road is rough, bumpy, and sandy, and no tuktuk can take you there. Inquire car or van rentals in your hotel.
2. Entrance to Phnom Kulen National Park is 20USD (approximately P800.00+). Entrance is good for the whole day and for the Kbal Spean and Preah Ang Thom areas.
3. You will pass by a ticketing office to claim your ticket to the national park. You cannot purchase ticket at the site.

KBAL SPEAN

After an hour and a half, we reached Phnom Kulen National Park. First order of business is Kbal Spean or more popularly known as the "Valley of 1000 Lingas". It's a temple carved on the valleys and riverbed, and is dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu; the square tiles you're seeing on the photo are the 1000 lingas and they're phallic representations of Vishnu; for religious reasons, the temple and its fertility symbols were placed at the riverbed as the water flows directly to Tonle Sap lake and the rice fields at the foot of the mountain for the Cambodians believed that they bless the water, making the land and lake even more fertile, and their harvests, more abundant. You can approach Kbal Spean from Banteay Srei and Phnom Kulen National Park; the part near Banteay Srei is where the carvings of various Hindu gods and icons were carved on the valleys and boulders, and the part near Phnom Kulen is where you will see the 1000 Lingas.

PREAH ANG THOM

Preah Ang Thom is a temple with the reclining Buddha carved on a sandstone; it is a sacred area where monks stay and pilgrims visit to pray and meditate.

.Altar below the Buddha's area.

What makes this Buddha sculpture unique is it's lying on its left side; all the reclining Buddha statues are reclining on the right side.

TIP: You have to remove your shoes before going up the temple. Pay one of the ladies at the entrance of the temple a dollar to guard your shoes.

On our way down Preah Ang Thom, we spotted a local vendor bringing a tub of what seemed like strips of coconut drenched in milk with tubes of ice; a young Cambodian girl told us that it was good so we bought one; we found out that it's called Lotte Svett, a Cambodian dessert. Reminds me of Buko Pandan!

Medicine, herbs, and various healing articles for sale; that included goat innards, head, and horns, and monkey skin on a stick.

PHNOM KULEN WATERFALLS

Last destination at Phnom Kulen National Park is the waterfalls. First, we went to the big falls; it's quite a trek all the way to it, but it's pretty worth it as this beauty awaits you at the bottom:

Here's the big waterfalls; the water looks pretty murky as the mountain sand is brownish/pinkish in color. There are also small fishes in here and methinks they're the ones used in Fish Spas because they love giving your feet a peck!

My favorite spot at the big falls.

Last stop is the small falls, which is at the top of the big falls; it actually leads to the latter and it's nice to take a shower in here after visiting Preah Ang Thom and Kbal Spean.

There are a couple of restaurants around the national park, but they pretty much serve the same thing and that is Cambodian/Thai food.

TIP: Please don't litter! Keep your trash in your bag, look for a garbage bin, or ask the restaurant to dispose your trash for you.

ANGKOR NATIONAL MUSEUM

Angkor National Museum is located in the city; it's a great way to kill time as you await for your flight back home or if you want to know more about the Khmer empire. No cameras allowed inside so I wasn't able to take any photos. Entrance to the museum is 12 USD and if you want a guided audio tour, you must add around 3 USD, I believe, for a pair of headphones and MP4 that will serve as your tour guide for the visit.

That's it for diary 2! Tomorrow, let's go shopping around Siem Reap!

 Sharing with you our itinerary.

Sharing with you the cost of our Siem Reap tours including the major transportation expenses. Please note that this may vary depending on the current exchange rate.

Check out my other Siem Reap, Cambodia diaries:

TBJ TRAVELS CAMBODIA 1: Hello, Siem Reap + Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom Tour  + Travel Guide
TBJ TRAVELS CAMBODIA 3: Shopping in Cambodia + Travel Guide + Itinerary + Cost

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Beauty. Fitness. Fashion. Food. Travel. Unicorns. World Peace. Digify Corporation.

13 Lovely Thoughts

  1. Whoa amazing hope you could blog about their food :D

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  2. Great! It seems like you're not a tourist anymore but a tour guide hihi. Thanks for sharing this valuable information as a reference for future travels :)))))

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  3. Ang dame din palang tourist. Kala ko onti lang, kase sa ig post mo Ms. Martha parang kayo lang ang tao eh. Ang sarap maligo sa falls lalo na nung summer. Pati na din ang Lotte Svett pampalamig sa init ng panahon. Thank you for sharing your travel blog, complete with itinerary and expenses.

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  4. Waterfalls are soooo amazing! Pampapawi talaga ng pagod ang pagkain!

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  5. That looks like a really refreshing sight! :) It's great how much Cambodia has to offer. You can go four days doing entirely different things! Can't wait for the other diary entries :) There's definitely something for everyone in Cambodia. :)

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    1. Indeed there is. Everyone will enjoy Cambodia, most especially if you're a lover of culture. :)

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  6. Why Buddha's are in reclining position?

    I've noticed that Cambodians are very detailed with the sculptures and feels like they are very organized re ticketing system and buti pa doon strict with trash, they really know how to maintain and preserve the place

    Have you tried their herbal medicines?

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    1. If I'm not mistaken, the reclining Buddha is Buddha about to enter Nirvana, at the last days of his life. :)

      Nope, I have not. Wouldn't dare though hehe.

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  7. Lovely!!! I like seeing and reading about historical places... glad you shared it here in your blog..

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Thank you for your comments!