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1 Day Tour: Phnom Kulen and Beng Mealea Temple

Phnom Kulen

Phnom Kulen is generally held to be the birthplace of the great Khmer empire that dominated Southeast Asia for five centuries. In 802AD, King Jayavarman II is reputed to have proclaimed independence from Java and founded the kingdom of Kambuja. His coronation took place in the Kulen Mountains and evidence of his fledgling realm can still be seen in this remote and fascinating part of Cambodia.

The Kulen National Park contains many sites of natural and historical interest. A magnificent waterfall dominates the forest terrain and draws countless local visitors on weekends and national holidays. In the nearby River of 1000 Lingas, thousands of linga stands remain submerged in the water. The cult of worshipping these phallic representations of the god Shiva was established by Jayavarman II and continued through the reigns of innumerable Angkorian kings.

A short walk from the waterfall is Wat Preah Ang Thom, a functioning wat that contains one of the largest Buddha statues in the country. The statue is housed atop a massive boulder and is accessible via a long flight of steps. A viewing platform at the top affords sweeping views of the surrounding jungle and hillsides.

Beng Melea Temple

Built during the reign of King Suryavarman II and is contemporary with Angkor Wat and Thommanon. This period of temple design is considered the ‘Golden Age’ of classical Khmer architecture and represents the high water mark of the Angkorian empire.

Beng Melea is located about 80km from Siem Reap and its tumbled ruins and underground passageways offer tourists an authentic Indiana Jones experience. There are wooden walkways over the more hazardous areas but these don’t detract from Beng Melea’s ambience. Creepers festoon the walls and carved lintels lay buried under thick moss and jungle growth. There are some superb examples of Apsara carvings on the extant parts of the temple, but the real charm of Beng Melea is its sense of ruined grandeur.

Tour Overview

Tour Code: PKBT12302

Tour Cost:

  • 1 person: 135$
  • 2 persons: 70$ each
  • 3 persons: 48$ each
  • 4 persons: 37$ each

Tour Start: Pick up from the hotel at 8:00am

Tour included: Tour guide, transportation and cold drink water during the tour

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