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Preah Vihear Temple,
Preah Vihear Province

Location

Preah Vihear Temple is more than 200 km north of Siem Reap on the Cambodian side of the Khmer/Thai border. It occupies probably the most magnificent site of any Khmer temple and contains some of the most stunning carvings. The road to Anlong Veng to Preah Vihear has been completed and now HCAT can easily bring groups to the very top by bike,  4WD or bus. The last final road up the mountain was completed in March 05, a far cry from the 2.5-hour treck, on foot, to the top, on a small steep path prior to this. 

Road conditions

Road to Anlong Veng is very good condition.  Fine for experienced riders and 4WD passengers. Road to Anlong Veng to Preah Vihear is flat, in relatively good condition.  The last stretch is  is a 20 minute ride from the the village of Kot Mui at the base of the mountain to the summit.

Drive time from Siem Reap

It's about a 5 hour trip from Siem Reap. It can be done is one day.   Those that wish to take things at a more leisurely pace, who time and want more time to explore in Preah Vihear temple once reaching there, should combine this with a overnight in Koh Ker or Anlong Veng prior.

Political events had made Preah Vihear all but inaccessible to ordinary visitors for most if its recent history. The dispute between Thailand and Cambodia over Preah Vihear was officially settled in 1962 by the International Court of Justice at the Hague in favor of Cambodia but many Thais feel the decision was unjust.

It has intermittently been a Cambodian military post. The difficulty of reaching it helped to make this the last place to fall to the Khmer rouge in 1975. Lol Nol troops and their families held on here for 2 days after April 17th, 1975 when Phnom Penh was taken over.

The Dangrek Mountain forms a 300-meter high wall along the northern edge of Cambodia. Preah Vihear is located east of the middle of the range rising 525 meters in a giant overhanging cliff. It took 300 years to construct and there was a lot of remodeling in the 11th century. Most of the structures date from this time. Some inscriptions can be seen from the 13th century. The style is mostly Baphon and early Angkor Wat with some Koh Ker influence and Bantei Srei. It has been called the temple in the sky.

Monks are resident near the summit and there is a small Wat near here. There are about 40 families who live and work in the small market that that facilitate the daily Thai visitors. The temple was floodlit for short time in 2005 after the Cambodia army  completed the new road.  In addition to the temple and the stunning views, there are a number of military guns.          

In 2008, Preah Vihear Temple was listed as a World Heritage UNESCO Site. Disagreement has arisen over land surrounding the temple  and that overlaps between Thailand and Cambodia. Rrumors abound that the land contains oil and natural gas. Hidden Cambodia continues to escort both small and large group on tour here and Cambodia and Thai officials are still in negotiations. This is history in the making and Preah Vihear never has so many visitors and support.   

July 2008: An Indian company is presently studying the viability of developing an airport 32 kms from the temple and electric cable cars to will transport guests to the top of the cliff.

Accommodation, Food & Beverage

We are always seeking more comfortable accommodation in Preah Vihear. We now stay with a prominent local family in the small market village at the base of the temple and we eat also here. We also stay an another village close to Preah Vihear. The facilities are very basic in both locations. There may be other options at other locations rather that the mountain, depending on your tour.

See also our Preah Vihear photo gallery  and more recent trips in our galleries of photos

 



   
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