Preah Vihear in Cambodia might not sound popular to the tourist communities, but it’s surely a nice destination to see. In the Khmer language, the name of this province means “Sacred Sanctuary”, which owns the highlights of revered temples, villages, and other well-known religious sites. For a good glimpse of Cambodia’s spiritual life, then it’s recommended to see Preah Vihear.
About Preah Vihear in Cambodia
Preah Vihear shares its border with Oddar Meanchey and Siem Reap to the west, Stung Treng Province to the east, and Kampong Thom to the south. Besides, this province has the international border with Thailand and Laos in the north. Know that Tbeng Meanchey town is its capital! Primarily, the name of this province is derived from Prasat Preah Vihear Temple – the symbolic religious site of Cambodia. Geographically, this province belongs to the cluster of the nine provinces which are parts of the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve. Located far north of Cambodia, Preah Vihear is the remote and highly forested area which is ideal for ecotourism. The natural landscape remains pristine, as this is one of the least inhabited provinces of Cambodia. Without a doubt, the tourist key in this idyllic region is the long-lasting Prasat Preah Vihear Temple. Besides, other magnificent legacies of the Angkorian time include the 10th-century Koh Ker and the impressive Preak Khan Kampong Svay temple.
What to See in Preah Vihear in Cambodia
Prasat Preah Vihear Temple
This is the icon that the province is named after. In 2008, Prasat Preah Vihear was inscribed as the UNESCO World Heritage site. Historians found out that this temple began its history in the 9th century, and dedicated to Shiva God. On the UNESCO status, the temple sounds inviting to the history fans, archaeologists, and historians. Situated to the east of Dongrek Mountain, the Prasat Preah Vihear Temple looks highly scenic from afar. You will first notice the religious construction on the edge of the massive cliffs, around 625m above the sea level. Know that the lintel of this temple looks similar to the one of the well-known 10th-century in the Angkor complex. Banteay Srei temple! While the view is spectacular, the temple itself is extremely revered and significant. The UNESCO admitted that significance and the followers should together protect the unmatched ruins.
Koh Ker Temple
The 10th– century capital of Koh Ker is a landmark that you don’t want to miss in Preah Vihear in Cambodia. Around 120km from the Angkor and Siem Reap, this remote attraction remains primitive in a dense jungle. With the antique look, this long-lasting architectural site brings the visitors back to the old time of Cambodia. Most of the history lovers appreciate the construction which lasts ages and the ravages of time. There are over 180 sanctuaries found in the preserved area, and some are hidden in the green forest. The style and art of Koh Ker were made under the reign of King Jayavarman IV who built it in 921AD. The temple was dedicated to Siva God. Nonetheless, please notice that this site becomes even hard to reach during the wet season (May – October)! This lonely temple in the forest was on the UNESCO tentative world heritage list in 1992.
Preah Khan Kampong Svay or Prasat Bakan Temple
Situated in Ta Siang Village, this temple complex has the protection of the ramparts. Inside each of the rampart, there stand out some religious sites like Neang Peou and Dangkao Baodos Temples. It’s believed that this sacred site used to function as the royal worship place. The historians assumed that the site was the hiding place of King Jayavarman VII in AD 1181 because its architectural style was similar to the style of Bayon and Ta Prohm temples. Geographically, this valuable site is nestled 100km to the east of Angkor. Without lots of religious constructions in the area, Prasat Bank is the largest single spiritual system erected during Angkorian Era. Besides, it is the isolated location makes this complex one of the least visited Angkorian ruins. With the indispensable significance, this architectural site was put on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List on September 1st, 1992.
The capital of Preah Vihear might sound less interested to the tourists because there are not many things to do, but the local markets and some traditional Khmer buildings. In fact, the vacationers usually consider Tbeng Meanchey as the stopover on the route to Koh Ker and Preah Khan. So, if you want to see how the capital of Preah Vihear is, just stop by here. A beautiful attraction in Tbeng Meanchey is Kulen Prumep Wildlife Sanctuary in which people love to bathe.
How to get to Preah Vihear
There are choices of share taxi and bus to Preah Vihear from Siem Reap or Kampong Thom. It is a 155km-distance from Kampong Thom to the south of Tbeng Meanchey capital. There is also a new road constructed connecting Siem Reap and Koh Ker which makes your travel easier and smoother than previous. In most circumstances, the local motor-taxi drivers will approach to offer you the transfer service to the preferred sites once they see you getting off the bus. And if you want to drive yourself to the destination, take a Cambodia map to get started, and please make sure that your motorbike skills are good enough! For your safety during Cambodia Tours, PLEASE pay attention to the red warning signs, the painted rocks, or the strings that notify the limitations of the dangerous sections in this off-the-beaten-track destination!
When to Visit Preah Vihear of Cambodia
You can travel to the historical and meaningful Preah Vihear when you want, but it is extremely helpful to know some points about the local weather before you go. Typically speaking, this “Sacred Sanctuary” owns the tropical climate of Cambodia which is warm and humid. And if you want to group the 12 months into the distinct seasons, they are:
- June – October: These months are put in the rainy season, with an average temperature of 24-27 Celsius degrees and 90% humidity. The rain and the high humidity might be unpleasant to some travelers while the outdoor temple exploration becomes impossible if the rain comes. But if you prepare an umbrella, the experience should be less disappointed.
- November – February: These months belong to the cool season, with the freezing wind at night, and an average temperature of more than 27 Celsius degree during the daytime. But, if you stay at a good lodging with the thick blanket, then the cold night is not a big problem. Rather, the comfortable atmosphere makes you feel refreshed. Therefore, think if you can begin experiencing the pristine world of Preah Vihear in any of these months.
- March – May: These months characterize the hot and dry condition, which makes the temple exploration in Preah Vihear becomes easy. The road status become most accessible while the sunlight makes the archaeological structures turn to be more beautiful and mysterious than any other time of the year. Without rain and cold, this is considered the ideal time to visit Preah Vihear’s temple complex. As you are likely to experience the outdoor temple discovery in this destination, make sure you dress properly and use sunscreen so that the sunlight cannot affect your beautiful skin at all.