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SEA 2014

South East Asia again!

We were there for 2 months, with Burma and Cambodia as our main destinations.

This was our first time in Burma where we spent 4 weeks and of course, being so near to Cambodia, we could not resist a visit to Angkor.

Read on to learn what we saw and experienced!

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Path: Photos > Prasat Preah Vihear
Tags: SEA14  2014  Cambodia

Prasat Preah Vihear



Once in Phnom Penh, we decided to visit Prasat Preah Vihear before rallying Siem Reap for the temples of Angkor. After much searching, we found out that GST was the only bus company offering a direct connection to Sra Em, the nearest “town” to the temple (27 km). Ticket price was 37,000 Riels per person. We left at 8.30am and it was a very slow and irritating drive until we reached Kompong Thom: lots of traffic out of Phnom Penh and many road works. After that, it was pure bliss: the road is new, there is hardly any traffic. We finally arrived at 5pm. Sra Em is not really a town, more a line of haphazard buildings stretched along two roads meeting at a crossroad where the bus stops. We found a room in the hotel right at the crossroad: Sreynath Guest House where we paid 5$ for a basic room with detached bathroom. There is a new hotel with more comfort out of town on the road to the temple, but no idea of the price.

We had no difficulties in finding some moto drivers to take us to the temple the following day (actually they were waiting for us and approached us as soon as we stepped out of the hotel after checking in on the night of our arrival). They started negotiations with 16$ per person, we easily reached 10$ after a few minutes but did not strike a deal as we wanted to pay less. The following morning they were waiting for us and after further discussion, we finally agreed on a price which was acceptable to both parties.

Reaching the temple is not straight forward: we first drove to the visitor centre at the foot of the hill where we had to register with passport etc (the site is still a disputed territory with military stationed around and on the hill). From there, we had two choices: drive or walk.

We were glad we decided to walk: there is a brand new wooden staircase following the path of the old stone staircase; it is mostly shady, goes through forests and is very pleasant (but steep). We found it made our experience there that bit more special. All in all, it was a really rewarding trip. Cambodia has much improved since our first visit and going to Preah Vihear is not the ordeal it used to be anymore. The Cambodian government has been investing a lot to make the temple of Preah Vihear accessible and firmly on the tourist map, thus asserting its location as being a part of Cambodia.

Need a moto driver? Call Roth on his mobile: 0976 935265, we recommend him highly.
Rests from the old stone pilgrim path can still be seen as the new staircase follows its route. The new wooden staircase is in excellent condition all along the way and easy to climb. As you near the top of the hill, you can see trenches dug by the military to defend the site: this is still a disputed territory. View from the top, showing the access road to the site. View from the top: yes, we climbed all that height! Detail of a lintel over a door. As always in Khmer art, nagas are not to be missed. We particularly liked this wavelike roof style. Many reliefs are still to be seen, although not in such good condition as in Angkor. An other example of these wavelike roofs. The churning of the milk ocean. Trees have also been taking their toll in Preah Vihear. There were not a lot of tourists around. Mostly Cambodian people and a few monks. Still standing! Peaceful ruins.

Go back to Seen in Cambodia or go on to Mandalay City or go up to Photos

$updated from: Photos.htxt Mon 03 May 2021 16:08:30 trvl2 (By Vero and Thomas Lauer)$