On the road for Bantaey Srei temple and Kulen Mountain

Have you considered a trip to Siem Reap to visit Angkor Wat? Don’t limit yourself to the typical big and small tours! The surroundings of Siem Reap offer a plethora of activities and places to explore.

If you find yourself with extra time in Siem Reap, it’s worth considering venturing a bit further to explore the temples nestled near Phnom Kulen National Park. This area offers a unique opportunity to discover the beauty of ancient temples amidst the natural surroundings. Additionally, within the park, you can find breathtaking viewpoints that offer stunning panoramic views. Don’t miss the chance to visit the near attractions like ABBC or BBC, which add to the diverse experiences available in the region.

It is feasible to visit all the points on the itinerary in a single day. I visited Banteay Srei and the Butterfly Center after Kulen Mountain. This change was suggested to avoid potential time constraints, as someone mentioned that go the mountain after 12 pm might not be possible.

Itinerary

Kulen Mountain

Phnom Kulen, also known as Kulen Mountain, is a captivating destination situated north of Siem Reap. It holds great historical significance as the birthplace of the ancient Angkor era and the location of the ancient city of Mahavendarpata. Phnom Kulen is renowned for its breathtaking waterfall, serene reclining Buddha statue, picturesque scenic views, and abundant natural beauty.

This remarkable site is not only a natural wonderland but also a treasure trove of archaeological wonders. Over 50 ancient sites can be found atop and around Kulen Mountain, including ancient hermitages, mesmerizing rock carvings, intricately carved stone monoliths, ancient brick temples, and the remnants of an ancient royal palace and urban area with elaborate infrastructure.

Visitors, excluding Khmer nationals, are required to purchase a ticket to access Kulen Mountain. The ticket can be obtained in advance from the ticket office near City Hotel on Road 6 in Siem Reap or purchased upon entry to the mountain (cash only). The ticket fee is $20 USD and grants access for the duration of your visit.

Amazing Cliff

The “Amazing Cliff” is a captivating site situated on the top of Kulen Mountain. It provides an accessible and convenient location for visitors to enjoy breathtaking views of the canyon below and the surrounding mountain ranges. To reach the Amazing Cliff, you can take a short detour from the main road that traverses the mountain. There is a small parking area and a foot trail that leads to the site. The cleared area along the cliff edge extends for approximately 150 meters, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the stunning panoramic vistas. The visit to the Amazing Cliff typically takes around 30 minutes.

Kbal Spean – the river of Thousand Lingas

Kbal Spean, is located in the Phnom Kulen National Park in Cambodia: is about 50km northeast of Siem Reap or about 18km beyond the temple of Banteay Srei. . It is famous for its intricate stone carvings depicting thousands of lingas, which are phallic symbols representing the Hindu god Shiva. The lingas are carved into the bedrock of the river, creating a unique and awe-inspiring sight. The site holds great religious and cultural significance for the local people, who consider it a sacred place of worship and pilgrimage. It is believed that the flowing water over the lingas brings blessings and fertility to the land. Visiting Thousand Lingas involves a short trek through the jungle, following a trail that leads to the riverbed. Along the way, you can enjoy the natural beauty.

Kulen Waterfall

Kulen Waterfall is a popular destination for both locals and tourists seeking to escape the heat and immerse themselves in the beauty of nature. The waterfall is formed by the waters of the Kulen Mountain, cascading down a series of terraced steps. The water flows into natural pools where visitors can swim and cool off during hot days. The area surrounding the waterfall is lush with tropical vegetation, adding to the serene ambiance. Apart from its natural beauty, Kulen Waterfall also holds cultural and historical significance. The site is considered sacred by the locals, and there are several ancient Hindu and Buddhist relics scattered around the area. Visitors can explore nearby temples and shrines, adding a touch of spirituality to their visit.

Banteay Srey

Along the same road, you will find Banteay Srei, a remarkable temple that dates back to the late 10th century. This Hindu temple was dedicated to the deity Shiva and is renowned for its exquisite carvings. Considered among the finest examples of classical Khmer art, the intricate details on the temple’s walls and pillars are truly awe-inspiring. What sets Banteay Srei apart is its construction using pink sandstone, lending it a unique and captivating appearance.

Banteay Srey Butterfly Centre (BCC)

If you’re seeking a break from temples and have an affinity for butterflies, a visit to the Butterfly Conservation Center (BBC) is highly recommended. Situated approximately 25 km north of Siem Reap, along the route to Bantey Srey temple, the Banteay Srey Butterfly Centre offers an engaging butterfly experience. The center features a spacious tropical garden enclosed with nets, allowing thousands of native Cambodian butterfly species to fly freely. As the largest outdoor butterfly exhibit in Southeast Asia, it provides an interactive and visually captivating environment for residents and tourists to learn about butterflies while also supporting local communities, once visitor admissions contribute to local poverty alleviation efforts and conservation projects.

Angkor Center for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB)

The Angkor Center for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB) was founded in 2003 through a collaboration between Allwetterzoo Münster, the Zoological Society for the Conservation of Species and Populations (ZGAP), and with the generous support of Dr. Goetz. It stands as one of the pioneering nature conservation centers in Cambodia and is situated within the Phnom Kulen National Park, approximately 50km north of Siem Reap Town and 12 km north of Banteay Srey. The primary aim of the Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity is to address the ongoing decline in biodiversity and promote conservation efforts in Cambodia. The ACCB is only open to guided tours when accompanied by an official ACCB environmental tour guide. Tour operates from Monday to Saturday, starting at 9:00 and at 13:00 sharp, from the ACCB entrance gate next to the car park at Kbal Spean. The tour lasts approx. 1 hour 30 mins and requires a minimum donation of 3 USD. The ACCB operates as a registered non-profit organization, and all donations received from our guided center tours are dedicated solely to the feeding of our captive animals and supporting local communities. No profits are used for administrative purposes or personal gain.

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