SOUTHERN CAMBODIA is increasingly becoming a tourist destination in Southeast Asia. Henry Alford wrote in the New York Times, “To many Americans, Cambodia means only two things — the majestic temples of Angkor Wat and the Killing Fields of Phnom Penh. But there’s another Cambodia — the southern coast — that is beginning to emerge as a popular alternative to the heavily trafficked beaches of Thailand. Here, in towns like Sihanoukville — which, in its heyday in the 1960s, used to draw visitors like Jackie Kennedy and Catherine Deneuve — travelers are exploring the unusual pleasures that occur at the intersection of the luxurious present and the ravaged past. [Source: Henry Alford, New York Times, March 15, 2009]
“When my boyfriend, Greg, and I spent a week on the coast this November, we experienced two firsts, both involving tiny bubbles. First, we went swimming one night in Kep among phosphorescent plankton (it’s as if thousands of underwater fireflies are doing a nonstadium version of “the wave”). Later we went into a pharmacy in Sihanoukville and, for $2.80 for 20 tablets (U.S. dollars are accepted everywhere), bought one of the unheralded marvels of modern life: effervescent codeine.
“This was not the Cambodia I expected — the tiny bubbles Cambodia.... You’d be hard-pressed to find a town center, let alone a bricks-and-mortar store, in Kep’s bucolic center, but there’s a buzz of activity at the series of shacks along the water that form the crab market. Here fresh crabs are pulled out of wooden cages that you can see just offshore, and, for $7, cooked with curry and stalks of local Kampot peppercorns to produce an exciting variation of everything I’d ever eaten while wearing a lobster bib. Kep is also, oddly, without a decent beach After Kep, we spent a relaxed day in sleepy Kampot — a placid riverfront lined with colonial-era buildings increasingly being renovated by expatriates — pottering around the second-hand bookstore and taking in the view of Bokor Mountain.
“From Kampot we drove three hours to the coast’s most developed town, Sihanoukville, a drive during which we dodged cows, dogs and a monkey that had parked in the road in the manner of an irritable and recently deposed dictator. But the more common life-threateners were other human drivers, whose conception of the word “lane” can only be described as elastic. I asked Bon Thim if most Cambodians believed in reincarnation, and he said yes. I posited, “This may explain why they drive this way.” Equally thrilling to behold were the loads that we saw heaped onto motorbikes — huge, jodhpur-shaped bundles of firewood or morning glories; a bureau and a desk; four twin mattresses; an IV drip; a family of four. Bon Thim told us: “On New Year’s, when workers travel home, there is even more stacking. Sometimes 20 people stacked on the roof of cars or trucks. Sometimes driver has someone seated between him and his door.”
“In Sihanoukville, we reveled in the pleasures that the rest of the coast, however lovely, had denied us: white sand beaches, shopping, non-restaurant-based night life. The beaches ranged from the utterly pristine and private one at our hotel, the Independence — where Jackie Kennedy and Ms. Deneuve are said to have stayed and which earned the nickname the Ghost Hotel after the Khmer Rouge used it as a redoubt during their occupation of Sihanoukville — to the very crowded Occheuteal, lined with food shacks and vendors. During our visit to Occheuteal, I bought a bunch of litchis for a dollar from a woman carrying them on her head, but passed up requests to rent an inner tube (50 cents an hour), be massaged in my chair ($6 an hour), have my back hair “threaded” ($5), or hear a blind man sing (unspecified). Greg and I parked ourselves at one of the food shacks and started people-watching; we rewarded ourselves with mango shakes (mango ice and sweetened condensed milk are put in a blender and frothed to a fare-thee-well).
Any leg of the triangle that is Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville-Kep will take about three and a half hours by taxi and cost $30 to $60, depending on your negotiation skills.
Sihanoukville Town (232 kilometers from Phnom Penh) is both a beach town and Cambodia's largest ocean port. Formally known as Kompong Som or Kampong Saom and and now officially known as Preah Sihanouk, it features white sand beaches, warm Gulf of Thailand waters and a laid back, beachy atmosphere in one part of town and rusting boats and docks in another part. For the most part Sihanoukville is a place to unwind by the beach, enjoy the fresh from-the-ocean seafood, take in a snorkeling or scuba trip, and generally slow-down, lay back and chill-out.
Sihanoukville was founded in 1964 to be the only deep-water port in all of Cambodia. It is named after King Sihanouk, who fought for the independence of Cambodia and was a central figure in the 20th century history of Cambodia. Sihanoukville is gradually being redeveloped as a tourist attraction, but despite the promise of massive Malaysian investment - a casino is planned for Naga Island - tourist numbers are still fairly low. Also its nice with sand beaches and several paradise islands have made it popular as a tourist destination.
Although tourism has increased over the past few years, the beaches of Sihanoukville are some of the most unspoiled in all of Southeast Asia. It is a prefect tropical getaway, filled with lovely beaches and facilities for swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving or just sunbathing. Boat trips are also available to many of the nearby islands. There are several hotels and local restaurants serving fresh, delicious seafood on the beach. On the weekend, there are many local visitors from Phnom Penh to relax, swimming and enjoy fresh seafood.
Sihanoukville has a different look and feel than most Cambodian towns. Constructed as a port city in the late 1950s, the town is much newer, more urban and cosmopolitan than most Cambodian provincial cities. Nowadays, Sihanoukville is as much a beach town as it is a port town, catering to beach-going weekenders from Phnom Penh as well as a steadily increasing number of foreign visitors. Still, the pace of life in Sihanoukville is very relaxed.
Cows occasionally wander the main road, outside town foreign faces draw smiles and curious stares, and most of the beaches offer only beach umbrellas, thatched roofed eateries, and a growing number of restaurants, bungalows and hotels. Sihanoukville has a more than ample supply of accommodations, including a 5-star resort complex on Sokha Beach, several mid-range places downtown and at the beaches, a few 'upscale' three-star hotels, and dozens of budget guesthouses, especially on Weather Station Hill (Victory Hill).
See Separate Article SIHANOUKVILLE: BEACHES, WATERFALLS, THE NEW GOA? factsanddetails.com
KAMPOT PROVINCE is located in southwest Cambodia. It has an 80 kilometer coastal strip on the Gulf of Thailand. The provincial capital, also named Kampot, sits near the base of the abundant green Elephant Mountains and the famous Bokor Hill Station. find quietness. The Kampot area also offers several other attractions including pre-Angkorian ruins and caves, jungle trekking, bicycling tours, river cruises, island trips, fishing trips, isolated beaches, pepper plantations, bamboo train rides and some beautiful rural countryside.
Kampot province covers 4,873 square kilometers. It is bordered to the north by Kampong Speu Province, in the east with Takeo Province, to the west with Sihanoukville and Koh Kong Provinces and to the South with the Gulf of Thailand. The East of the province consists of plains covered by rice fields and other agricultural plantations. The Western part of the province is the home of Bokor National Park, located in part of the Elephant Mountains, which is rich in lush forests and has a huge range of wildlife. The two highest points in the province are the Bokor Hill Station, which is 1,027 meters high, and a 1,050-meter-high hilltop further north. Some people say the countryside reminds them of areas in Vietnam where sharp limestone rocks shooting up from the flat plains.
The current population in this province is about 619,088 people or 4.31 percent of the country's total population (2007, provincial government data), with 299,814 male and 319,274 female. The population density is therefore 127 people per square kilometer. Most of the economy is agriculture-based. The province produces durian, mango and coconut. Kampot Pepper has been renowned for decades as one of the best peppers in the world. This pepper has a very distinct flavur and smell, especially when it is freshly harvested. The special climate and soil type of Kampot as well as the experience of several generations of pepper farmers make this pepper unique and much sought-after by gourmets worldwide. Sea salt products from Kampot are also well known. Some are exported.
Kampot is one of the cooler regions of Cambodia, due to its location next to the sea and high rainy mountains.The cool season is from November to March with temperatures ranging from 20 to 26 degrees C. The hot season is from March to May with temperatures ranging from 29 to 34 degrees C. The rainy season is from May to October. Temperatures are 22 to 30 degrees C, with humidity up to 90 percent. The best beach weather begins with the end of the rains in November.
Kampot Town (20 kilometers from the border with Vietnam, 105 kilometers from Sihanoukville on the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville railway line) a small town on the Tuk Chhou River, five kilometers inland from the sea, famous for its seafood. Fishing and farming are the main activities; durians and melons grow in abundance. To the south end of town is a large dusty traffic circle with three hotels arrayed around it: the Phnom Kieu, Phnom Kamchay and Tuk Chhou. Each has its own restaurants; Tuk Chhou offers a seedy nightclub. Also on the circle is Prachummith Restaurant, close by is Amar Restaurant.
Kampot lies near the sea at the edge of the Elephant mountains. To the south near the river is the GPO and telecommunications building. At the north end of town, about 1.5 kilometers away, is the Central Market, with foodstalls. All Kampot transportation is concentrated within range of the market-cycle, motors, taxis, trucks, and buses. The railway station lies farther north. For a long time it wasn't used. Kampot is located in a rich agricultural region and is a trading center for the rice, bananas, coconuts, and pepper grown near the city. It is famous durian, teh infamous smelly tropical fruit whose seeds are sometimes roasted and eaten like chestnuts. Road conditions around Kampot are poor. Kampot was heavily damaged by the Khmer Rouge and many areas of the city had to be rebuilt. Kampot has a population of about 50,000.
There is little of interest in Kampot except to walk around town and look at crumbling French-built blue-shuttered shop fronts. In central Kampot you can find a market which can be very busy. The shops and stalls sell local daily consumer products, like fish, fruits, vegetables, meats and packed products. Most of the food and drink shops surround the market. To take something special from this buy some famous Kampot Pepper. Most of the handicrafts made of the sea shells and corals that are popular with tourists are made in Kampot province. These handicrafts are sold along the beaches and very popular with tourists. Corals are also popular with visitors. The coral is washed until it is white, and sold on the beach to local and foreign visitors. Because coral is rapidly disappearing from the sea and oceans, however, environmentalists discourage tourist from buying these souvenirs.
Previously Kampot was a stepping-stone to Bokor and Kep. You can reach Kampot by irregular plane service from Phnom Penh. It’s not advisable to get there by car. It takes about 5 hours to cover the 150 kilometers from Phnom Penh to Kampot. From Sihanoukville it is 105 kilometers to Kampot on a dirt road. The train that used to run from Phnom Penh to Kampot took seven hours. It used to be a frequent target of the Khmer Rouge.
Kampot is not far from where Khmer Rouge guerrillas ambushed the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville train with mines on July 26, 1994 and shot down 11 Cambodian and three Vietnamese passengers and abducted scores of people, including three young backpackers—a Briton, am Australian and a Frenchman, who were later murdered. Not far away is Ta Keo, birthplace of the Khmer Rouge killer and leader Ya Mok.
Getting to Kampot
Kampot may easily be approached directly from Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville and also from Vietnam via the Prek Chak (Ha Tien) and Phnom Den international border crossings. In Kampot, taxis can be found at the taxi stand or you just tell your guesthouse or hotel that you wish one taxi, as they'll be friendly enough to help you organizing one. The National Highway No 3 from Phnom Penh to Kampot is definitely not in the best condition but it's a scenic trip about 155 kilometers in length. Coming from Sihanoukville you have to ride on the National Highway No 4 for about 40 kilometers turning at the junction East and heading the NH No 3 for another 75 kilometers to Kampot.
NR 41 links Sihanoukville and the Prey Nob District of Kompot Province. It is in good condition. Road signage is inadequate. Livestock is unfenced. Be alert for cattle crossing the road. The Greater Mekong Sub-region Southern Coastal Road Corridor (GMS Religion) is also known as the Thailand-Cambodia-Vietnam Southern Coastal Road Corridor. It links Trat in Thailand, Koh Kong and Kampot in Cambodia and Ha Tien, Ca Mau and Nam Cau in Vietnam. Some sections are being upgraded. Be alert for construction zones. [Source: Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT), 2010]
By Bus and Shared Taxi from Phnom Penh to Kampot: National Highway No 3 from Phnom Penh to Kampot is paved and in relatively good condition . This road is recommended over the alternative, National Highway No 2 to leading to National Highway No 3 via Takeo province. The buses to Kampot from Phnom Penh depart each day at 7:30am and midday around 1:15:00pm from the central bus station near the central market (Sorya Bus Company; No 168). The prices for a usual old air-con bus are around US$4 per a person and trip. The trip usually takes about four to five hours. Going from Phnom Penh with a share taxi you can find one at Phsar Dumkor in Phnom Penh or opposite of central bus station. The prices are 13,000 -15,000 riel/person or $22-$30 for a private taxi. The 3 hours ride is shorter as with the slowly bus.
By Bus and Shared Taxi from Sihanoukville to Kampot: The bus from Sihanoukville will take you north on the National Highway No 4 to Veal Renh (about 40 kilometers), than you'll turn east on National Highway No 3 in direction to Kampot. Both highways are paved and in comparative good condition. The trip from Sihanoukville to Kampot usually takes approx. 1-2 hours (110 kilometers). If you wish to go from Sihanoukville to Kampot by share taxi you can find one opposite the market (Phsar Leu) and at the downtown bus and taxi station in Sihanoukville centre. The prices are around 12,000 - 14,000 riel/person or $20 for a private taxi ($25 with a proper a/c).
From Vietnam to Kampot: The border to Vietnam (Ha Tien) is around 60 kilometers from Kampot. The easiest way to go there is hiring a moto tub or tuktuk (prices are around US$5 for a moto tub and US$10 to $14 for a Tuktuk for 1½ hour trip). The border was closed for a long time to international travelers but has recently opened (beginning of 2007). The border name for both sites is Prek Chak/Xaxia. Going to the border you'll have to take Road No 33 east from Kampot to the intersection of Road 31 at Kampong Trach town. Turn south on Road 31. The roads are all paved except the last few kilometers to the border, which are sealed. Both, Sok Lim Tours (Tel: 012-801348) and Marco Polo Adventure Tours (Tel: 012-883429) offer regular transport from Kampot to the border. If you're coming from Vietnam, moto tubs usually wait at the border crossing to take approaching travellers to Kep or Kampot.
Kampot Area Tourist Attractions
Kep Beach, Rabbit Island, Bokor Hill Station, and countryside tours are perhaps the most popular day tours out of Kampot with tour operators offering competitively priced tours. With the exception of Teuk Chhu, the resorts in the Kampot area have not been renovated and are not well maintained. However there are tourists and researchers that visit them. Teuk Chhu Zoo (8 kilometers north of Kampot) is an Asian-style mini zoo set among gardens and fruit plantations at the foot of the Elephant Mountains on the west bank of the Teuk Chhou River. It is home to a wide range of fauna, including tigers, a pair of playful young elephants, lemurs. It is open daily from 7:00am to 5.30pm. Admission is $3.
Rikitikitavi (River Road, Kampot; 855-12-235-102; www.rikitikitavi-kampot.com) is on a balcony overlooking the river. A delicious fish amok — a kind of Cambodian curry that is steamed instead of boiled — is served in a banana leaf. The cook is a former sous-chef at the InterContinental in Phnom Penh. Lunch for two, about $15. [Source: Henry Alford, New York Times, March 15, 2009]
Teuk Chhu Resort (8 kilometers north of Kampot town) is a natural resort locating at Snom Prompi Village, Mak Prang Commune, Kampot District. The resort has water flowing from Phnom Dam Rey – Phnom Kam Chay. The water is cool and clear flowing down over the big rocks for year round. At Teuk Chhu resort, there are valuable and delicious fruit like durian, mangostreen, rambutan, mak prang, pineapple, grape fruit, custard apple and coconut.
Prek Ampil Resort (near Kampot off of National Road No. 3) is situated on beach rich in white sand, mangrove and coconut trees in Koh Touch Commune. At the resort, you can enjoy fresh seafood like crabs, cuttlefish, lobster, snail, and a variety of sea fish.
Kampong Trach Resort (38 kilometers east of Kampot town on National Road No 16) is situated in a rocky mountain known for its caves and natural wells, where people from Cambodia, China and Vietnam worshipped. There is one natural well that is 30 meters in diameter. Smaller natural wells have four-meter stairs and artistic stone shaped like animals or other objects. From these natural wells, there is a cave that goes through to the La Ang Viel Sre 100 and La Ang Thmar Dos. In the 1960s and 70s before the Khmer Rouge the area was used to make several films. At the front valley, there is Chinese and Vietnamese pagoda. In front of the cave, there is a Cambodian pagoda.
Preah Monivong National Park (Bokor National Park)
Preah Monivong Bokor National Park (in Kampot Province, 40 kilometers east of Sihanoukville, 120 kilometers southwest of Phnom Penh) was established in 1993 and covers 1,423.17 square kilometers. Designated as an ASEAN Heritage Park, it is is located in the Dâmrei Mountains, forming the southeastern parts of the Cardamom Mountains. Most of the park is about 1,000 metres above sealevel and the highest peak is Phnom Bokor at 1,081 metres, also referred to as Bokor Mountain. The park is named after King Sisowath Monivong who used to visit the area and eventually died here in 1941. Monivong ordered the construction of a Buddhist temple in the area in 1924.
The Dâmrei Mountains was formerly a Khmer Rouge controlled area, but in 1993, Preah Monivong National Park was inaugurated. It is one of only two ASEAN Heritage Parks in the country. Preah Monivong National Park is the home of Bokor Hill Station (See Below). In recent times the national park has become a popular tourist destination and now includes Thansur Bokor Highland Resort, a large luxury hotel built in 2012. In 2010, a large statue of Lok Yeay Mao was constructed in the area. Lok Yeay Mao is a mythic heroine from Cambodian Buddhism and is said to protect travellers, hunters and fishing men. At 29 metres, it is the tallest Yeay Mao statue in the country.
According to ASIRT: The road leading to Preah Monivong National Park, also known as Bokor National Park is steep and in poor condition. May be closed to tourists. The road to the park and Bokor Mountain Hill Station branches off the NR3 near Kampot. Park headquarters is 1 km from the NR 3. The road to the top of the mountain is steep, winding and in poor condition. Reconstruction is in progress. Closed to tourists until work is completed, possibly in 2011. Access may be available through tourist offices in Kampot, especially near major Khmer festivals.
Fog and rain are common at the top of the mountain, reducing visibility and worsen road conditions. Both small and large dirt bikes can be rented in Kampot. Large dirt bikes are an option for very experienced riders. Neither option is recommended, due to poor road conditions. Renting a car and hiring a local driver is generally a safer option.
Hiking trails are unmarked and unmaintained. Most, but not all, landmines have been removed. Stay on existing trails. Poachers commonly hunt in more remote areas of the park. Hiring a ranger/guide is the safest option when planning hiking tours. Tigers are rarely seen. However, avoid bush areas at dusk or at night when the tigers are most active.
Bokor Hill Station
Bokor Hill Station (42 kilometers from Kampot town) was a casino and hotel resort for the rich in the old days before the Khmer Rouge. Perched on a crest of the Elephant Mountain overlooking the sea, it was founded by the French in 1922 during the reign of the King, Sisovath as a place to escape to escape from the heat and disease of the lowlands. The mountain of Bokor is 1,075-meter high. It has good weather and beautiful scenery with big trees and rocks shaped like animals. In Sang Kum Reas Ni Yum, there is a town. there. Seven kilometers from the mountain, there is a swimming spot called ‘Po Pok Vil’. On the top of the mountain there are beautiful views of Kampot town, Kep, Sihanoukville and blue water of the sea. French colonialists built a Catholic church nearby in 1928, a very rare sight in Cambodia.
When visiting Bokor make sure you get an early start. The summit is reached by one of the worst roads in Cambodia and the journey of about 30 kilometers takes a lot longer than you would think. Heavily potholed and scattered with pieces of the original asphalt surface, it is best traveled by 4WD or motorbike. Spectacular views of the Gulf of Thailand glimpsed through the lush jungle. Abandoned buildings dot the roadside. The hill station buildings include a Catholic church and an old hotel, the aptly named and monumentally proportioned Bokor Palace, as well as a number of other crumbling dwellings. The view out to a sapphire sea across a vertiginous drop to dense emerald green jungle from what was the terrace of the Palace is remarkable.
It is easy to see the strategic significance of Bokor Hill Station, and even easier to see the scars of the many battles that have been fought there though the buildings, covered with red-pigmented lichen. Possibly the best known of these battles had the Khmer Rouge holed up in the Catholic church shooting it out with the Vietnamese in the Bokor Palace. It is only too possible to imagine this scene as you gaze across the windswept plains from the upstairs windows of the Palace, or wander through its echoing and cavernous ruins. But this only increases the fascination of the place.
The 15-minute drive from the hill station to the crystal clear waters of the popular Popokvil ('Swirling Clouds') Waterfall takes you past the abandoned and decaying grass huts of the Khmer Rouge families who once lived here. A 20-minute walk down a dirt track from the car park brings you to the first and more accessible of the waterfall's two spectacular tiers. But it's worth making the effort to get to the second tier. It's here that you find out why the falls are so named. Clouds of the finest mist hover over the falls to magical effect.
According to to the New York Times in 2009: “Visits to the top of the mountain are in a state of flux while the road is being built. You may be required to go with a ranger in his Jeep ($40, plus $5 park entrance; ask at the park entrance), or you may be able to go in a group tour (try Sok Lim Tours, 855-12-719-872; www.soklimtours.com) for $10, plus admission fee. A tuk-tuk to Kampot or Bokor Mountain and back will run about $25. The guide Toun Bon Thim can be reached at email@example.com.
Caves near Kampot
The caves of Phnom Ta aun are part of a limestone formation that include narrow caves, chimneys, and passages with rock formations. A bit more interesting are the caves at Phnom Sia. One cave contains a an elephant-shaped rock formation that is treated as a shrine. Limestone mountains (phnom) dot the landscape between Kampot and Kep. Many contain limestone caves, some adorned with exotic rock formations, and almost all containing Buddhist shines. Make sure to bring a flashlight (torch) and wear shoes suitable for climbing on rocks.
From Kampot, the first caves that you come across are the caves of Phnom Chhnork. The first of these caves have pre-Angkorian ruins within the limestone caves. Inside you will find various 5th century brick structures among the stalagmites and stalactites that are formed within the cave. You will also find 4th century structures which are from of the ancient state of Funan. A bit of carving is still visible. Inside cave you will also find limestone formations in the shapes of elephants. The entrance of the second cave lies about 300 meters from the first cave. To reach it you have to climb some rocks and go through small openings. You will find a small shrine too in the second cave.
Phnom K'Chnor, Kampot is a place where you can take your own car providedyou are very good in driving, but if you are not sure of driving then it is better that you take a trail bike. Always take the help of an expert guide before you set on a trip to Phnom K'Chnor. Those interested in going to Phnom K'Chnor should take the road that leads to Kep from Kampot and after traveling for 8 kilometers and take a left turn. Then you can travel down a dirt road for five kilometers which intersects beautiful rural farmlands. After sometime you would come across a railway line and after crossing the line You will find the way leading to the base of the mountain. Here You will find the shrine which is renowned as a healing center of Buddhist faith. There is no entrance fee. It is advisable that you do not visit the Phnom K'Chnor, Kampot during monsoon because the road is quite treacherous at this time.
Caves near Kampot also include the cave at Phnom Sla Ta'aun Plain which is smaller in comparison to the other caves but still is attractive to the cavers and climbers. The interesting things that you can find here are a small shrine as well as a huge rock that is balanced in a hole on the ceiling of the cave. Another interesting one is the cave at Phnom Sasear which is also known by the name 'White Elephant Cave'. This cave is located next to a beautiful pagoda. If you go up the stairs that rise from the side of the limestone outcropping then you would get a wonderful view of the countryside especially during the monsoon. In this cave you will find a shrine. This shrine is located at the base of a limestone formation which resembles the shape of an elephant.
Kampong Trach is the district of Kampot Province that borders Vietnam. The road trip from Kampot town to Kampong Trach town passes though some picturesque rural areas. There is a new side road to Kampong Trach town that skirts the base of Phnom Voar, (where the victims of the 1994 Khmer Rouge kidnappings were held). These mountain areas were one of the last Khmer Rouge holdouts. Kampong Trach town is small and relatively uninteresting. The area's main attraction is a series of limestone caves and tubes that have been carved into a nearby mountain. The roof of a large cave in the center of a mountain has collapsed, allowing a small, enclosed jungle to grow.
Pagodas and shrines have been built amongst the caves, providing for some excellent photo possibilities. Bring a flashlight and wear good walking shoes. From Kampot, take the Kep road, bear left at the White Horse Monument and follow to Kampong Trach. After a few kilometers the road changes to badly broken pavement. The side road mentioned above requires a left turn onto a graded dirt road about 7 kilometers past the White Horse Monument. It is not a straightforward route and it may be better if you go with a guide. Set aside the better part of a day for the trip to the caves and back.
Wildlife Parks Near Kampot
Wildlife Parks Near Kampot are home to different kinds of animals like tigers (maybe), gibbons and birds like chestnut headed patridges, orange-headed thrush and plu pitta. There are also various species of trees and plants. Kep Thmey (8 kilometers from Kampot) is one of the most-visited tourist attractions in Kampot. It is a popular wildlife park. It is situated near Kep Thmey Village in Beoungtouk Commune in Kampot District in Kampot. The other wildlife parks in and around Kampot are Phnom Chhnok, Phnom Seda Orn and the Phnom Daung. The Phnom Chhnok is nestled in Bos Trobek Village in Trorpeang Pring Commune in Kampot District. The Phnom Daung is located in Beoung Tapream Village in Treuy Koh Commune. While the Phnom Seda Orn is nestled in Ang Kor Village.Kep Thmey, Kampot is home to a large population of animals and birds. Here you can catch the wild animals in their natural habitats.
Phnom Seda Classification Nature Wildlife and Preserve (near Ang Kor Village, 6 kilometers from Kampot town) is one of the most widely-known nature and wildlife preserves in Cambodia. If you are visiting Phnom Seda Orn, Kampot, you must also catch a glimpse of the attractions nearby, including Rabbit Island.
Rabbit Island is a major tourist destination in the Kampot area. This breathtaking island has endless white sandy beaches flanked by coconut trees. The azure waters lure you to plunge in. You can enjoy a number of water sports here. Snorkeling is the perfect option. rocks. You will get to see a variety of marine life among the rocks and reefs.
Prek Ampil (18 kilometers from Kampot town) is located on the coast in Koh Toch commune, Kampot district. It 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.
KEP (173 kilometers from Phnom Penh and 15 kilometers from Kampot) is a famous old resort town on the Gulf of Thailand that fell into decay during the Khmer Rouge period and has yet to be revived. Moss grows on the old colonial building. There are not many stores or vendors. The beach promenade is crumbling into the sea. The Cambodian tourism ministry is tryin to push it as a snorkeling and scuba diving destination.
A municipality in Cambodia with the status of a province. Kep is just a few kilometers from the border with Vietnam located and used to be Cambodia's most popular beach town. Many of Kep's mostly French villas are abandoned, but some of the town's former splendour is still apparent.
The sea is lined with huge sidewalks and some large statues that now seem largely out of place. The king built a palace overlooking the Gulf of Thailand, but it was never furnished and now sits empty. A good, paved road connects Kep with Kampot. The beaches have slightly darker sand than the beaches in Sihanoukville. They are mostly scattered with mangroves and black rocks. Koh Thonsay (Rabbit Island) is just a half hour boat ride away.
Taking a boat to the nearby islands is a breathtaking experience. Another trip, which must not be missed, is an excursion to the serene waterfalls of 'Tuk Chhou" situated about 10 kilometers from Kampot. Kep City is accessible by the National Road No 3 from Phnom Penh via Kampot province (173 km) or by the National Road No 2 from Phnom Penh via Takeo province.
History of Kep
The French established Kep City during the colonial time in 1908. During the Sixties, during the time of Sang Kum Reas Ni Yum, the city was developed as a beautiful seaside tourist resort for rich people and government officials. Today Kep is mainly popular to the domestic tourists, who choose Kep as their holiday destination. The town appears to be experiencing something of a rebirth, with several mid-range and luxury guesthouses and bungalows recently opened or still under construction. The seafood is cheap, plentiful and delicious - particularly the quite famous crabs. Kep is also home to an extensive national park covering some mountains with deep green jungle.
The story of how Kep got its name goes like this: There was a king named Sa Kor Reach, who put a sleeping spell on a commander at Angkor Thum, then stole the commander's white horse and fled together with his troops to the Southwestern seaside. When he took a rest at the seaside, he was almost overtaken by the commander's troops, who chased him from behind. Suddenly, he got on the horseback; the horse reared, and made him fall down on the ground together with the saddle. Then, he got on the horseback again and fled away without picking up the saddle. So that's why this area was called 'Kep Seh' meaning 'the saddle.'
New York Times on Kep: Henry Alford wrote in the New York Times, “In Kep, a tiny town on Cambodia’s southern coast on the Gulf of Thailand, two British women are staring at the ghostly remains of a bombed-out seaside villa. Originally called La Perle de la Côte d’Agathe, Kep was founded in the 1920s and was the resort of choice for French Cambodia’s jet set. But the Khmer Rouge had particular distaste for Kep and its sybaritic pleasures, and all but razed the town in the 1970s. One of the women points out a trail of wetness on the villa’s walls and floor where a dog has peed. “Oh, dear,” she tut-tuts. “It looks like the building is crying.” [Source: Henry Alford, New York Times, March 15, 2009]
“Less than a mile down the road, rising from the ashes of Kep like an extravagant bird-of-paradise, is the chic 11-room seaside hotel, Knai Bang Chatt, designed in the ’70s by a protégé of Le Corbusier. No one is crying here. All is luxury and escapism; lush plantings and an infinity pool are combined in a way that fairly screams “James Bond love lair.” Sprawled poolside is a muscular young Belgian gentleman engrossed in his Ian McEwan. The man idly smoothes out the waistband of his black designer swimsuit, the greatest irritation he will face all day. Tonight he will dine under a gorgeous palapa-style structure by the sea, and perhaps join other guests for a midnight swim in the Gulf of Thailand.
“You’d be hard-pressed to find a town center, let alone a bricks-and-mortar store, in Kep’s bucolic center, but there’s a buzz of activity at the series of shacks along the water that form the crab market. Here fresh crabs are pulled out of wooden cages that you can see just offshore, and, for $7, cooked with curry and stalks of local Kampot peppercorns to produce an exciting variation of everything I’d ever eaten while wearing a lobster bib. Kep is also, oddly, without a decent beach — the sienna-colored sand at the half-mile-long town beach is clearly the world’s largest accumulation of Cajun rub — but you can take a 20-minute boat ride out to Rabbit Island, where a scattering of pale, tubby Britons and gorgeous Danish girls laze on good sand or on the porch of rented huts and sunning platforms, all amid a scrum of mangrove trees, chickens and slightly confused cows. We set ourselves beachside and Greg pulled out a cigarette pack emblazoned with the name of France’s handsomest-ever movie star — Alain Delon — which he’d bought for 30 cents in town. I thought, I am surrounded by at least three kinds of beauty.
“We also took day trips from Kep to a temple cave and to Bokor Mountain. Although taxis, motorbikes and tuk-tuks are plentiful and cheap in Cambodia, we’d decided to hire, at $45 a day, a kind and shy 28-year-old Phnom Penh driver named Toun Bon Thim to take us around in his car, including our subsequent nine-hour drive from the coast up to Siem Reap to visit Angkor Wat.
“When Bon Thim and Greg and I stepped out of the car near the trail to the cave temple, we were greeted by a small band of giddy and adorable Cambodian children who wanted to guide us. The kids — led by a hilarious 14-year-old boy in a T-shirt emblazoned “Parental Advisory” — led us through a muddy rice field to a steep set of wooden stairs (“203 steps. Easy!,” Parental Advisory coached me. “Easy for Mr. New York City!”). Soon we were peering down in a stalactite-dripping cave in which sat a very well-preserved seventh-century brick temple, about the size of four phone booths. Parental Advisory looked at my popped eyes and, aping the helium-pitched voice of a flip teenage girl, he exclaimed, “Ohmygod!” Suddenly I wanted to revoke every sarcastic comment I’d ever made about Angelina Jolie and her Cambodian child; I longed to take Parental Advisory back to New York with us, and turn him into America’s next comedy sensation.
“Although most of the two-lane roads that link Cambodia’s bigger cities have been improved and repaved in the past 10 years or so, anyone who jiggles his way in a Jeep up the 19-mile road that is being built on Bokor Mountain in nearby Kampot is vividly, if not violently, reminded of earlier road-based pittedness: by journey’s end you realize that if you were a gallon of paint, not only would you be thoroughly mixed, you would now be a solid. The top of Bokor Mountain is the site of an abandoned hill station, including an eerie, burned-out palace hotel and a Catholic church where sometimes the fog sneaks up on you so thick that you can’t see your hand in front of you. The site was the setting for the climax of the 2002 Matt Dillon crime thriller, “City of Ghosts.”“
Accommodation and Restaurants in Kep
Knai Bang Chatt (Phum Thmey Sangat Prey, Thom Khan Kep; 855-12-879-486; www.knaibangchatt.com) serves breakfast at a rough-hewn 24-foot-long table under a palapa overlooking the sea, where dinner (about $38 for two) is also served. Guests have use of Hobie Cat sailboats. Doubles from $150 — U.S. dollars are accepted at hotels, restaurants and shops — in the high season (October through March); otherwise from $110.
At the Veranda (Kep Mountain Hillside Road; 855-12-888-619; www.veranda-resort.com) doubles start at $25. The resort’s bar and restaurant, with the sight of gorgeous sunsets, is quite good, and serves mostly Western food (dinner for two, about $26). Doubles from $25.
At Kimly (to the left of the restaurants at the crab market along the waterfront in Kep; 855-12-435-096), the crab with Kampot pepper is the local specialty. The shrimp tom yum soup and the shrimp with Kampot pepper are also worth trying. Dinner for two, about $20. [Source: Henry Alford, New York Times, March 15, 2009]
Kep Beach is a single, kilometer-long crescent of sand near the tip of the Kep peninsula. Dining platforms and seafood vendors line the road behind the beach. Busy on weekends but often deserted during the week, the road through Kep traces the coastline to the beach and then circles back on itself. Cars and vans must pay admission to drive the loop (2500R - 5000R). Motorcycles and pedestrians are free. Be aware that the loop is a one-way street and the police do occasionally enforce the law, levying fines against violators. According to the New York Times: At Massage (Champey Inn, 25 Avenue de la Plage, Kep), the setting (under a palapa, and not too far from the sea) is especially nice. Expect to pay $10 for traditional hourlong massage; $15 for oil massage.
Koh Ton Say Resort (4.5 kilometers from Kep Town) is a resort locating to the southeast of Kep town. It has two beaches suitable for swimming because they have white sand and shallow water. In the sea are a variety of fish, plants and coral. The name ‘Koh Ton Say’ comes from the word ‘Rum Say’ meaning ‘spread out’. It is said when the King, Sa Kor Reach, was desperate and hopeless as his troop and parties deserted him, he lead his remaining troop across the sea to an island in front of Kep town, then his troop spread out there. So that Cambodians called the island ‘Koh Rum Say’.
Koh Ton Say has a two-square kilometer land area. In the past, prisoners were sent here for correcting and defending the island. The tourist infrastructures at the island was constructed during the Sang Kum Reas Ni Yum era. These include a path for horse carts around the island, a wood motel and restaurant, clean-water system and administrative buildings. But, because of the decades of war and upheaval, these infrastructures have almost completely been destroyed. Nowadays, the island settled by seven families, who earn their living by fishing and maintaining coconut plantation.
TAKEO PROVINCE is often referred to as the cradle of Cambodian civilisation. Takeo province has several important pre-Angkorian sites built between the 5th and the 8th century. The low-lying area seems to include much of the surrounding province area, which is probably why a kingdom that once had its heart here was referred to as Water Chenla. There seems to be water everywhere in the surrounding countryside during the rainy season.
The man-made beauty mostly comes from a series of canals and waterways that were cut through the surrounding countryside, many a very long time ago, connecting towns, villages, rivers and Vietnam. Nearby Angkor Borei town (connected by water to Takeo town) may have been the heart of the Funan Empire, which is called the Cradle of Khmer Civilization by Cambodians. Much older than Angkor, the Funan empire had its heyday between the A.D. 1st and 6th centuries and stretched across a vast area, from South Vietnam through Thailand, down through Malaysia and into Indonesia. Bold, silver and silks were traded in abundance in the kingdom, or, as some say, the series of fiefdoms.
Although Cambodians claim Funan was created by Khmers, neighbouring Vietnam argues that they were the people of origin. Archaeologists from the University of Hawaii have made research trips to Angkor Borei in an attempt to piece together the history and story, and story, as well as relics, of the Funan period. In an odd recent twist, Reuters reported in November 1999, locals saw the research team digging up ancient relics and figured the stuff must be valuable, so they started digging and looting objects from the area. Fortunately, the Cambodian government seems to be moving in on the problem quickly to try to save what they can of this important piece of Khmer heritage.
That was not the first time the locals have created problems in the piecing together of ancient history. Much of what did remain in the form of ancient ruins in Angkor Borei was destroyed not too long ago in the modern past. The officials that runs the museum that's dedicated to the history of the Funan empire told me that much of what was still standing from this period (from parts of ancient walls to partial structures) was thought to be useless by locals and was bulldozed and razed to make way for more useful modern day structures! Talk about having a bad track record. Fortunately artifacts and history have been put together in the museum.
Takeo Province is full of other interesting sights as well and because of the short distance and good road from Phnom Penh, all are great day trips form there. Some sights can be combined in a day trip. If you have a bit more time, spend an evening in Takeo town and take in all the sights. The current population in this province is about 924,758 people or 6.4 percent of the country's total population (2007, provincial government data), with 445,000 male and 479,758 female. The population density is 259.5 people per square kilometer. Takeo's economy consists basically of fishing and rice and fruit agriculture. Especially the rural households depend on agriculture and its related sub-sectors.
Geography and Climate of Takeo Province
Takeo province is 3,563 square kilometers in area. It is located in the south of Cambodia, bordering Kandal Province to the north and east, Kampong Speu to the West with and Kampot and to the South with Vietnam. The low-lying area seems to include much of the surrounding province area, which is probably why a kingdom that once had its heart here was referred to as Water Chenla. There seems to be water everywhere in the surrounding countryside during the rainy season. Most of the province consists of the typical Cambodian wet plains covered rice fields and agricultural plantations. The province also features one of the biggest rivers of the country—forming the provincial border to the East— the Tonle Bassac, also known as the “Red River.”
In Takeo, the cool season is from November to March with temperatures ranging from 22 to 28 degrees C. The hot season is from March to May with temperatures ranging from 28 to 36 degrees C. The rainy season is from May to October. Temperatures are 24 to 32 degrees C, with high humidity.
Takeo Town is the provincial capital of Takeo Province. It is an easygoing place that possesses a fair amount of natural and manmade beauty. The natural beauty is in the scenic river and lake area that faces a pleasant town parkway. There is a pleasant little place to stay overlooking the river and lake area.
Getting to Takeo
Phnom Penh and Takeo province are linked by the National Highway No 2, which remains in reasonable condition albeit with a few potholes to slow the velocity down. It is about a two hour ride for motorbikers. If your motorcycle has a mechanic problem, head back to Phnom Penh, as it's only an hour away. Call your rental outfit in Phnom Penh (always carry theft rental agreement) and they will come down to perform motorcycle surgery or haul the bike back to Phnom Penh.
By Bus: Hour Lean and PPPT bus companies both run air-con buses between Phnom Penh and Takeo (6000 riel, 2hours, 77 kilometers). They leave from the Central Station just southwest from the Central Market in Phnom Penh. In Takeo you may find the buses to Phnom Penh in front of the Phsar Leu. Both buses have to pass Tonle Bati and Phnom Chisor, both interesting sides of attraction. By Shared taxis or Moto: The price for a share taxi from Phnom Penh to Takeo is around 6000 riel, by minibus around 3000 riel. Travelers continuing by road to Kampot should take a moto (5000 riel) for the 13 kilometers journey to Angk Tasaom and then arrange a seat in a minibus or shared taxi (5000 riel) on to Kampot. For 1000 riel you can get anywhere in town. The daily rate is US$ 5 plus fuel for distant sights.
Sights in Takeo
Chup Pol Temple (three kilometers from Takeo town) is a sacred site popularly known as Chu Pol temple. It is located in the wonderful Doun Peaeng Village. This village is situated in the Baray Commune region in the Doun Kae District. The reason for the popularity of this site is not just the fact that it is a historical edifice but also because it is very conveniently located.
Bavet (48 kilometers from Svay Rieng provincial town and an hour by car from Ho Chi Minh City) is located at the main international border checkpoint between Cambodia and Vietnam. It is widely used by people traveling between Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh City. Bavet's main attractions are casinos in Cambodia that are within short walking distance of the border. These casinos are very popular with foreigners crossing the border. There is also a market, Psar Nat, where goods are transferred between Cambodia and Vietnam.
Makoto Ota wrote in the Yomiuri Shimbun, “The crowds of Vietnamese trying their luck at the casinos that have sprung up in the southeastern border town of Bavet are a tangible example of the widening social divisions in their home country. While some of the people crossing the border for the casinos in Cambodia (gambling is illegal in Vietnam) are betting millions of dollars, others stay there for the free food— a mixture of haves and have-nots that has become more evident since Vietnam introduced its "doi moi" policies of economic liberalization in the 1980s.[Source: Makoto Ota, Yomiuri Shimbun, February 2, 2008]
In the early 2000s Bavet was surrounded by rice paddies. By 2008 it had seven casinos, and was illuminated round-the-clock by neon lights. More than 90 percent of the 7,000 visitors the casinos receive each day are Vietnamese. Food and drink is free, while complimentary accommodation is available next door for those placing a certain amount in bets. A man from Ho Chi Minh City, identifying himself as Quon, was playing baccarat at a table lit by chandeliers. "I never keep track of how much I bet," he said as he placed another 500 dollars bet after having just lost 500 dollars. "Probably several thousand dollars a day," the 45-year-old Quon said.
The average monthly income in Vietnam is about 150 dollars, though some of the guests clearly earn far more than this. The 32-year-old Vietnamese assistant manager of the Le Macau casino, the oldest casino in the area, said: "Betting tens of thousands of dollars is nothing special here. I know one customer who spent 2 million dollars."
The casinos have benefited from the money flowing out of Ho Chi Minh City. "I made a fortune thanks to my connections with the [Vietnamese] government," one patron said. "I bought some real estate after obtaining some useful information and sold it on. With the surging property market, I knew I'd make money."
But while some Vietnamese have benefited from the emerging market economy, many have been left behind, and have even abandoned their hometowns altogether for Bavet. A 50-year-old man identifying himself as Tieng came to Bavet with his wife from the southern province of Tay Ninh in Vietnam eight months ago. Tieng said that back home he worked irregularly as a day-laborer, earning about 37 dollars in a good month. But he said that he now earns enough to make a reasonable living through gambling, having three meals a day at the casinos and sleeping on a sofa. "I can earn 10 dollars a day," Tieng said. "Everything I earn is profit, because we don't need to pay for food." Tieng said about 20 Vietnamese have left their hometown because of poverty and settled in the casinos, adding the number of "settlers" has been growing as rumors of easy money spread.
Angkor Borei: the Capital of Funan?
Angkor Borie (in Takeo province, about 102 kilometers south of Phnom Penh)is a town in the area of several ruins and archaeological digs. The area contains artifacts dating from the Funan (4th and 5th century) and Water Chenla (8th century) as well as the later Angkorian period. The prasat ruins on top of nearby Phnom Da are 11th century Angkorian. There is a small museum in the town.
Angkor Borei was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2020, According to a report submitted to UNESCO: “Angkor Borei is an important center of one of the earliest complex polities in Southeast Asia. It was a major political centre and the foundation of Khmer civilization that began between 500 B.C. until the late 6th century. It located the modern capital city of Cambodia." Angkor Borei is one of the important archaeological sites in Cambodia and is believed to be the capital of Funan. It has also been proposed that Angkor Borei served as an early Khmer capital and became a quasi-model for the later period city development that include the current World Heritage sites of Sambor Prei Kuk (Ishanapura) and Angkor (Yasodharapura).
Angkor Borei is approximately 300 hectares in size with many brick structures. It is surrounded by a large brick and soil wall, lined by moats both inside and outside. A long canal connected this site with other Funan centres such as Phnom Bayong and with the Oc Eo region, in present day Vietnam. The site has revealed the oldest extant dated Khmer inscription and the earliest examples of architecture and sculpture that can be considered to be Khmer. Moreover, the Angkor Borei area continued to be an important religious centre following the pre-history period including the burials at Komnou pagoda and Borei mountain. [Source: Permanent Delegation of the Kingdom of Cambodia to UNESCO]
Angkor Borei has unique architecture and town planning, influenced from India and became distinct as it developed. Its concept of making a town influenced later period such as Sambor Prei Kuk, Angkor, Long Vek and Oudong. The authenticity of Angkor Borei and Phnom Da have been expresses OUV through some type remaining attributes such as; all the relevant historical, culture, social, traditional, religious, art, artifice, archaeological and ancient city complexes include moat city, hydraulic structure, monument and religious area both Hindu and Buddhist. The ancient hydraulic structure such as canal and water tanks are still in use today and some of important and rebuilt have remained in situ. The Angkor Borei archaeological and cultural landscape continued to be used in several periods until present for human habitation, religious site, with idea and concepts of town planning serving as be a role models in following periods there by assisting to maintain and preserve the archaeological and cultural landscape until today.
The location of the capital of Funan has not been definitely proven. It is not even known for sure if Funan was a single unified polity. One linguistics-based theory, based on the presumed connection between the word "Funan" and the Khmer word "phnom", locates the capital in the vicinity of Ba Phno near the modern Cambodian town of Banam in Prey Veng Province. Another linguistic theory, forwarded by George Coedès, is that the capital was a town identified in Angkorian inscriptions as "Vyadhapura" (City of the Hunter). Coedès based his theory on a passage in the Chinese histories which identified the capital as "Temu". Coedès claimed this name represented a transcription from the Khmer word "dalmāk", which he translated as "hunter." This theory has mainly been rejected by other scholars on the grounds that "dalmāk" means "trapper", not "hunter". [Source: Wikipedia]
Only limited archaeological research has been conducted on Funan in southern Cambodia. Archaeological surveys and excavations have been carried out by joint Cambodian (Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts; Royal University of Fine Arts) and international teams at Angkor Borei since 1994. The research included excavation and dating of human burials at Wat Kamnou. Numerous brick features, architectural remains, and landscape features such as mounds, canals and reservoirs have also been identified. Some have been dated with a wide spectrum of results ranging from the late centuries BCE to the Angkorian period. A significant canal system linking the site of Oc Eo has also been researched and dated. Phon Kaseka led a Royal Academy of Cambodia and Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts team (also with Royal University of Fine Arts personnel) conducted Iron Age to Funan period burial excavations at neighboring Phnom Borei.
Phnom Da (in Takeo province, about 102 kilometers south of Phnom Penh) was nominated along with Angkor Borei to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2020, According to a report submitted to UNESCO: “Phnom Da is the name of the mount to the south of the town of Angkor Borei. Currently, two temples still remain standing on this mount and several caves that have been found around its base. The principal temple, now known as Phnom Da temple, was built in the 11th century on foundations remaining from the Funan period. On the northeast slope of the mount is another temple named Asram Maha Rosei. It is a temple built of unusual material for Khmer construction. A very hard basalt stone has only been used in two temples in Cambodia, and it is one of a very few temples in Cambodia that has an internal “womb” (Garbhag ha) where the priests (Pujari) go inside to make ceremonial actions. [Source: Permanent Delegation of the Kingdom of Cambodia to UNESCO]
Around the foot of the mount of Phnom Da, some five caves have been located – three on the north face, one on the east and one on the west. Sculptures related to Vishnu were found in those caves, some of which are currently housed in the National Museum of Cambodia in Phnom Penh. From an art history perspective, Phnom Da was identified by art historian as the first Khmer art history style, defined as Phnom Da style with two different parts ; Phnom Da part A and Phnom Da part B. The main characteristic of this style is to integrate both Hindu and Buddhist sculpture, showing similarity with the Indian arts of Gupta and Post-Gupta period, and the style has a strong relationship with the Indo-Greek Mathura school.
Phnom Da is an outstanding masterpiece of early Khmer architecture and art that were influence by Indian culture, but were distinctly transformed into the hallmark of the local culture. The majority of early examples of Khmer architecture such as Asram Moha Rosei, Phnom Da foundation temple and the artificial caves are to be found in the Angkor Borei region. Additionally, the Romlok and Koh pagodas reveal that the Angkor Borei region is deeply steeped in religious and symbolic values.
The architecture and arts of Phnom Da represent the redefining of Indian architecture into a distinctive early Khmer style. The main features of Phnom Da include the artificial caves, little niches with heads (Kudu), the temple that was built from basalt, and the presence of the womb (Garbhagrha). Moreover, the sculptures found at this site and around this area form basis of what has been identified as the early Khmer arts history style known as Phnom Da style. The development of the architecture and arts at Phnom Da become a role model that spread to another place, developing to become a persistent distinctive style in the post period Phnom Da shows the influence of India with a local derivation both in technique and the ideas that is represented on the monument and art of the main religious centre of Funan. A Vishnu statue with eight arms found at Phnom Da show this Vishnu holding weapon not typical such as an antelope skin and a flask that are the weapon of Shiva, the flame a weapon of Agni, and the Mace a weapon of Yama. Asram Moha Rosei was dedicated to the Hindu got Harihara, a representation of Vishnu and Shiva in combination. Moreover, Buddhism was also practiced at Angkor Borei. The combination of both Hindu gods and Buddhist icons shows that during that time Angkor Borei practiced religious and social harmony.”
Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, , CIA World Factbook, Compton’s Encyclopedia, The Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, Global Viewpoint (Christian Science Monitor), Foreign Policy, Wikipedia, BBC, CNN, Fox News and various websites, books and other publications identified in the text.
Last updated August 2020