This complex of over forty buildings is considered the nation’s Buddhist headquarters. Founded in 1443, this lovely, ornate collection of Pagodas and relic-filled stupas is fun to explore. It is the home of the head of the Cambodian Buddhist brotherhood, as well as a number of other orange-clad monks. Higher accesses offer chances to see lesser-viewed artworks, and lovely views of the Mekong that few take the time to discover. Though damaged by the Khmer Rouge, much of the temple’s statuary has been restored and continues to be visited in holy pilgrimages. Of special note is the stupa containing an eyebrow hair of the Buddha himself, and an inscription in the ancient language of Pali.
With its classic Khmer roofs and lavish decoration, the Royal Palace dominates the skyline of Phnom Penh. Located near the riverfront, it bears a remarkable likeness to its counterpart in Bangkok. The palace has been the home for the royal family during peace times since the 1860’s, when the capital city was moved from Oudong. This complex of buildings has 4 main structures, the Silver Pagoda, the Khemarin Palace, the Throne Hall and the Inner Court. Though half of the compound is considered the king’s residence and is closed to the public, the Silver Pagoda and Throne Hall compounds are popular attractions in Phnom Penh and can be explored freely.
Though Phnom Penh’s most famed foreign occupation was that of the French, there is a notable Russian component to the city that came here during the cold war era of the early eighties. The Russian Market is a notable place to buy many discounted (though often not authentic) designer items at a tenth of US prices. Its handicrafts are equally impressive, and include jewelry, silk and other fabrics, woodcarvings, musical instruments and much more. It is a great place to learn to haggle, as the expected asking price is often much less than the first offer.
Prek Ampil is located on the coast in Koh Toch commune, Kampot district, about 18 kilometers west of the provincial town. Prek Ampil features a white sand beach with thousands of mangrove and coconut trees growing nearby, making the site ideal for visitors looking for a pleasant place to relax.
In addition, there is an array of fresh seafood such as crab, cuttlefish, lobster and snails, as well abundant coconut juice. The waters off of Prek Ampil are rich in corals, a natural attraction that could attract tourists who enjoy snorkeling or scuba diving. With the exception of Teuk Chhu, none of the sites listed above have been developed for tourism, although efforts have been made to stop further destruction at the sites. Today, locals and some foreigners visit the sites to do research.
Visiting the Angkor National Museum was an eerie, surreal experience. For the first 45 minutes of our trip through the mammoth, 20,000-square-metre building, we didn't spot another visitor. The museum opened in November 2007, and its freshly painted, shopping mall-like feel contrasts with the thousands-year-old artefacts contained within it. A visit is a comfortable, air-con alternative to visiting the temples themselves, and a nice educational supplement to the history of Angkor if you visit the park without a tour guide. It's composed of eight separate galleries, all connected by a vaulted corridor with a series of fountains and lined with what seems like all the Angkorian limestone lion and demon heads missing from statues at the temples. After an explanatory film screening called Story behind the legend, you're pointed toward the galleries:
Gallery 1: 1,000 Buddha Images
This is the only gallery that's just one large room, rather than a series of maze-like alcoves, and the sight of all these Buddhas at once is striking. Hundreds of small and miniature Buddha figurines, made of metals, jewels and wood, all individually illuminated, line the walls here, identified according to the period they were made during and where they were discovered. In the centre, life-size and larger Buddha characters are displayed. The display includes Buddhas from Banteay Kdei, Bayon, Angkor Wat and Preah Vihear.
Gallery 2: Pre-Angkor Period: Khmer Civilisation
This gallery and all the subsequent ones combine mural-size explanations and short films through maze-like rooms explaining Angkorian history. The styles of figurines precede the trademark Angkor style, and there's a large collection of lingas, lintels and colonnettes.
Gallery 3: Religion and Beliefs
This room explains several of the most significant Hindu and Buddhist religious stories and folk tales depicted on Angkorian temples, including the most memorable Churning of the Sea of Milk carved into the rear wall at Angkor Wat. Carvings of Buddhist and Hindu religious figures are concentrated here as well.
Gallery 4: The Great Khmer Kings
The gallery focuses on King Jayavarman II, Yasovarman I, Soryavarman II and Jayavarman VII, those most responsible for Angkor's greatest constructions. Figures of the kings and relics from the temples they commissioned abound.
Gallery 5: Angkor Wat
There's a large film gallery inside this section of the museum. It features beautiful, panoramic images of the temple and explanations of how it was constructed. There are also many restored figures from the temple itself as well as post-Angkorian wooden statues used for worship at the temple until several hundred years ago.
Gallery 6: Angkor Thom
In addition to recovered artefacts from Angkor Thom, this gallery includes a history of and artefacts from the vast irrigation projects commissioned by the king who built Angkor Thom with his smiling face looking out from every tower: Jayavarman VII.
Gallery 7: Story From Stones
This room is one of the most interesting. It's a collection of stone pallets with ancient Khmer and Sanskrit inscriptions. The writing on each slate is explained on placards below. The writing on them includes the declaration of the construction of a new hospital, lists of slave names, mediations of land disputes and adulations of kings and gods.
Gallery 8: Ancient Costume
From Apsaras and kings to princesses and warriors, this room contains the busts and statues of distinct fashions and styles as they evolved throughout Angkor time. There's also a collection of ancient jewellery and headdresses. It's a clever segue to the final room -- the gift shop -- where upscale imitations of these fashions abound.
It's $12 to enter the museum, plus another $3 if you want to bring in your camera and another $3 for an educational headset. Sadly, like ticketing and management of the Angkor park, the museum is owned and run by a private company, so little of your admission money goes to Cambodia or to temple restoration (though what the company paid for the concession might). Still, it's perhaps better than these artefacts remaining in the hands of private collectors. A connected mall is still under construction but has a few open stores, including a Blue Pumpkin satellite, several souvenir shops and the sure sign of apocalypse.
Phnom Bak and Phnom Chenh Chiang are the natural and cultural resort locating at Se Rey Sa Phoan District, along the National Road No 5, about 5kilometers west of Banteay Meanchey provincial town. The two mountains are near one another. The vertical faces of the mountains a like a wall. At the flank, there is a place for visitors to relax. At the foot of the mountain is a large well, 10 squar meters and 12 meters deep. Some stone statues are sculptured there. There are also a number of vendors selling stone sculptures.
Neang Khmao temple is located in Rovieng commune, Samrong district, off National Road 2, about 27 kilometers north of Takeo provincial town or about 52 kilometers south of Phnom Penh. This temple is inside Wat Neang Khmao.
Constructed of sandstone and brick in the style of Koh Ker, the temple was built by King Jayavarman IV (AD 921-941) in the 10th century for the worship of Brahmanism. The site originally consisted of three temples built side by side, however, only two are still standing, and both are heavily damaged.
The Neang Khmao Temple, Takeo is considered among the most popular tourist attractions in Takeo. Takeo is a beautiful province in Cambodia, specked with several places of interest that are natural or manmade. There are a number of grand temples in Takeo. Among these temples, the Neang Khmao Temple, Takeo is certainly worth a visit on your tour to Takeo.
The Neang Khmao Temple, Takeo is also known as the temple of the Black Virgin. According to legends, this temple might once have been the haven to Kali, the Dark Goddess of Destruction. It is positioned in the yard of Neang Khmao pagoda at Ro Vieng Commune of Sam Roung District in Takeo province. This magnificent temple was built by King Jarman IV during the 10th century. The temple is made of sandstone and brick, following the style of Thmor Koh Keo. However, most parts of the Neang Khmao Temple in Takeo have been damaged over the years.
There is a tale related to the Neang Khmao Temple in Takeo. Long time ago, there was a powerful king named Preah Bat Sorya Teyong, who stayed on the Chiso Mountain. One day, his 16-year-old daughter, Neang Khmao, went to Tonle Protron. Present over there was a handsome man, Bandit Srey, who instantly fell in love with her. He exhibited some magic, which made the princess fall in love with him. When the king came to know about this, he ordered that the princess be exiled, for which he built two temples. After being exiled, she met a monk named Keo, and fell in love with him. Later, Keo gave up being a monk to live happily with the princess in the temple. Since then this temple has been called the Neang Khmao Temple, Takeo. The Neang Khmao Temple, Takeo is located 52 kilometer south of Phnom Penh and is at a distance of 26 kilometers from the provincial town of Takeo. Hence, reaching this temple is not a problem at all.
Prasat Neang Khmao is located in Rovieng commune, Samrong district, Takeo province. The tale related to this temple is as the following: Then he told his daughter, Neang Khmao to live there. Since then, Princess Neang Khmao was very sad because of exiling and living alone and she never met her sweetheart who she heard nothing. At that time, there was a monk, Keo, who left home land to study magic. He was highly educated. He came back to home land and stayed in a place in Takeo province. The villagers digged a pond for him which was later called Srah Keo ( Keo's pond ) until nowadays. He stayed so long that he became well known in all villages and districts.
Having heard that, princess Neang Khmao wanted to meet him in order to know about her sadness and happiness. So she asked the servants to arrange royal seat on elephant's back to salute the teacher Keo. When she arrived she entered to salute the teacher Keo traditionally and she saw all appearances of teacher Keo so she forgot her old sweetheart and fell in love with teacher Keo. Since then the relationship between Princess Neang Khmao and teacher Keo was getting closer and closer that teacher Keo decided to leave from being a monk in order to be a layman to share happiness and pain with princess in the temple. Because of such a tale that it was called Neang Khmao temple until now.
There are lots of small and big islands in Cambodia and Koh Rong is one of the most important of them. It is replete with white sands, pristine waters, palm groves, resorts, hotels and small villages which are inhabited by local Cambodians who blow away tourists with their local lifestyle and cuisine.
Highlights – There are close to 4 villages and over 12 guesthouses and bungalow style accommodations here to cater to tourists who come here in large numbers. This is a perfect spot for vacationing as you will not be disturbed by traffic or internet here. Enjoy relaxing moments and bask in nature’s glory at its best when you come here. It is the second biggest island in Cambodia.
Location – 25km from the Sihanoukville Coast in the Gulf of Thailand.
Timings – Can be visited anytime during the year.
Price – Costs around USD10 for a boat ride to Koh Rong from Sihanoukville.
Waves of beaches have the uncanny skill of invoking the child within anybody. This is why almost everybody loves the vast expanses of beaches with milky-white waves. One such beautiful beach is the South western beach of Koh Rong, a serene island in Cambodia.
Highlights - The shores of this island are nicely embedded within tropical forests, which makes it all the more beautiful. This island has its own calmness, as there are not much people out there in the villages of this island. Peace lovers would eternally stay there for the serenity which this place offers. It is the second largest island in the coast of Cambodia and is located in the Gulf of Thailand. It is also the biggest island in the coast of Sihanoukville.
The National Museum of Cambodia not only is the nation’s premier collection of the Cambodian cultural history, it also serves as the largest architectural and historical museum as well. Before visitors enter the building, they are greeted with spectacular, rich gardens and the vibrant terracotta pavilion which stretches into four wings full of treasure to discover. Specially featured is the collection of art from Cambodia’s largest ethnic group, the Khmer. It also contains prominent and important statuary pieces for both the Buddhist and Hindu faiths.
Koh Ker was once an ancient capital of Cambodia, located in Srayong Cheung village, Srayong commune, Kulen district, about 49 kilometers west of the provincial town. The Koh Ker complex is on the Chhork Koki highland. It was built by King Jayavaraman IV (AD 928-942). Koh Ker temple is 35 meters high, and its design resembles a seven-stepped stupa. The temple faces west toward Angkor city. It was built to worship Treypuvanesvara, the god of happiness.
So far, 96 temples have been found in Koh Ker: Dav, Rumlum Bey, Beung Veng, Trapiang Prey, Dey Chhnang, Srok Srolao, Lingam, Kuk Srakum, Trapiang Ta, Sophy, Krahom, Andoung, Ang Khna, Teuk Krahom, Damrei Sar, Krarab, Banteay Pichoan, Kuk, Kmao, Thneung, Thorn Balang, Rohal, Chamneh, Sampich, Trapiang Svay, Neang Kmao, Pram, Bat, Khnar Chen, Klum, Chrab, Dangtung, Prang, Kampiang.... These temples were not constructed near each other. Today, many of them are no longer standing, and some are buried in the ground. The followings are locations and descriptions of some of the Koh Ker temples:
. Neang Khmao Temple
The Koh Ker complex is along a trail that is about 3 kilometers long. The first temple, Neang Khmao sits atop a small hill on the east side of the trail. The temple, which faces west toward Angkor city, is made of sandstone. It is 20 meters high and resembles a stupa. The temple terrace is 2 meters high and divided into three decks. The temple is surrounded by a laterite rampart, 44 meters square and 2 meters high. The rampart has only two openings; one on the east side, and the other on the west. The temple once housed lingam and yoni, but only yoni remains. The lintel sculpture has been damaged, but otherwise, most of the temple is in good condition, while nearly three-quarters of the rampart is good condition.
. Pram Temple
About 700 to 800 meters north of Neang Khmao temple is another temple called Pram temple. Constructed of laterite and sandstone, it sits on a small hill surrounded by bushes that block the lingam and the lintel. The main body of the temple is in good condition.
. Chen Temple
Farther down the trail is a three-peak temple made of laterite and sandstone. It faces east and is called Chen temple. Inside the temple there is a piece of lingam and remnants of a statue of King Jayavarman IV. A sculpture of garuda's head on the south lintel is missing. The temple is overgrown by forest.
. Preng Well
About 800 to 900 meters farther, there is the Preng well, which is similar to a pond. Surrounded by stone, it is 20 meters square. The terrace is about 8 centimeters high. The water in the pond is clear, and a nearby tree provides shade for weary visitors looking for a place to relax.
. Rampart of Koh Ker Temple
Another kilometer down the trail is the rampart of Koh Ker temple. 1 kilometer long and 2 kilometers high, it is made of laterite. Koh Ker temple is the middle of a rampart, surrounded by 20 more temples. Some of the temples are:
. Kuk Temple or Gopura
Kuk temple or Gopura is made of sandstone and has a sculpture of lotus petals on the temple fronton. Although the door frame is damaged, most of the temple is in good condition. A Shiva lingam that once was housed inside has been looted. . Prang Temple
Prang temple is constructed of sandstone and bricks. There are five separate parts of this temple. About 70 percent of the temple is still standing.
. Krahom Temple
About 10 meters farther is Kramhom temple (The red temple). Constructed of brick and shaped like a seven-level pyramid, the temple is decorated with a 20-meter-tall sculpture of lotus petals. Inside the temple, there is a 3-meter-tall statue of Shiva with eight arms and four heads. The statue is supported by a l-square-meter base. The statue is seriously damaged, only some parts remain.
. Khmao Temple
Farther down is Khmao temple. On the wall and door frame of the temple, there is a partially damaged inscription. Near the temple is a rampart gateway to Kampiang temple. The gateway is a 2-meter staircase. Some sculptures of lotus petals, seven-headed nagas and garudas remain.
. Koh Ker Temple
About 300 meters farther to the west is Kampiang or Koh Ker temple. From a distance, the temple looks like a small hill, because it is covered by forest. Up close, however, it is actually a 35-meter-high stupa made of sandstone. It has seven levels, each level about 5 meters above the other. Each deck has a 2-meter-wide terrace, and there is a 55- step staircase to the top. At the top of the temple, there are large statues of garudas supporting Shiva lingam Treypuvanesvara. Nearby, there is a 4-meter square well, now completely covered by grass. According to local villagers, if a coconut is dropped into this well, it will appear in the pond near Neang Khmao temple. There is vegetation growing on top of the temple, and from there visitors have an excellent view of the surrounding landscape, in particular, Phnom Dangrek, Phnom Tbeng, and Kulen district.To the north of Koh Ker temple is another temple, Damrei Sar temple, but it is heavily damaged. To the northeast, is Iingam temple. This temple once housed three Shiva lingams, but some are now damaged.
Battambang is one of those places in Cambodia which gives importance to art and culture. Sammaki Art Space is a venue which promotes and documents free art forms from budding and famous artists from all over the world.
Highlights – In the Khmer language, Sammaki means unity. If you are a art lover visit Battambang during the times of Angkor Art Expo. This is a single platform where you will get to witness art forms of all types. Come here to witness the developing relationship between local and international artisans in Battambang. The art scene in Battambang witnesses various galleries featuring exhibitions from local and international artisans.
Location – Battambang.
Timings – Any time through the year. Entry fee – Depends on the art galleries.
Serendipity beach is one of the popular beaches of Cambodia and a must- visit place for anyone who happens to visit Cambodia during their vacation. Like many other beaches, this too has restaurants bordering it through the length. Capitalising on its popularity, many restaurant owners have strategically placed their restaurants here in order to improve business, attract more tourists and thereby mint more money.
Location – Sihanoukville, Cambodia.
Special features - The beach has really fine sand that goes well with the colour of the crystal clear water. The restaurants that are bordering the beach have their beach beds lined up in the shores of the beach where their own customers can rest and enjoy the beach and its scenic view and also the breezy weather that prevails in the beach.
The tenth century temple of Banteay Srei is renowned for its intricate decoration carved in pinkish sandstone that covers the walls like tapestry. This site warrants as much time as your schedule allows. The roads have been recently repaired and it takes about 30 minutes from Siem Reap to get to the temple.
To reach Banteay Srei, follow the main road north out of Siem Reap, turn right at Angkor Wat and follow the road to Srah Srang where you turn right past Preah Rup. At the East Mebon there is a check post where you need to obtain clearnce. Turn right again at the road before the East Mebon; pass through the village of Phoum Pradak, where there is a junctions (if you continue straight, after about 5 minutes, you will reach Banteay Samre). At this point, you come to a fork; take the road on the left and follow it to Batneay Srei which you will reach shortly after crossing two rivers - on your left hand side.
Banteay Srei is an exquisite miniature; a fairy palace in the heart of an immense and mysterious forest; the very thing that Grimm delighted to imagine, and that every child
It is about 11 km from provincial town. It takes 20mns by car to reach there. There are several historical sites and colonial buildings. It is located in Road No. 69A of Banteay Chhmar Village, Banteay Chhmar Commune, Tmar Puok District.
Located 48 kilometers from Svay Rieng provincial town is the international border with Vietname. The Bavet checkpoint is the main international border crossing for people traveling between Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh City.Bavet's main attractions are two casinos that are within short walking distance of the border. This casinos are very popular with foreigners crossing the border. There is also a market, Psar Nat, where goods are transferred between Cambodia and Vietnam.