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Updated by Joanna James on Jan 28, 2020
Headline for 05 Reasons Why Phnom Kulen is a Must See in Siem Reap – Newly Discovered Ancient Site
Joanna James Joanna James
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05 Reasons Why Phnom Kulen is a Must See in Siem Reap – Newly Discovered Ancient Site

With the marvelous discoveries of Phnom Kulen, a trip to Siem Reap is only complete once you explore the place. Discover vintage pagodas, majestic ruins, waterfalls and stunning bio-diversity as you explore the best of Angkor's ancient kingdom. Here are 5 reasons Phnom Kulen is a must visit.


Phnom Kulen Is Where Cambodia Was Created

Cambodia's birthplace is not Angkor Wat, rather the seat and origin of the Angkorian Empire were Phnom Kulen, called Mahendraparvata which reached its height during the reign of Cambodia's first king Jayavarman II. Noted as one of the greatest kings of the nation Jayavarman II developed Kulen Mountain area as the capital of the empire. Future kings went on to further develop the area, especially King Udayadityavarman II who was responsible for the erection of the '1000 Lingas In Kulen River'. This capital city went on to develop into one of the world's biggest metropolises by the 11th century, boasting a matrix of temples and palaces depicting the might of the Angkor Empire. Make the most of your time exploring Siem Reap attractions by choosing well-located hotels; many central hotels offer easy access to Phnom Kulen like FCC Angkor by Avani (*CHANED AS PER URL) located less than an hour away.


The Bio-Diversity Is Awesome

Phnom Kulen is protected as a National Park; the 37,000 hectares that make up the verdant area is home to over 800 species of exotic foliage. Amongst this lush greenery is 40 types of mammals and a marvelous 200 varieties of birds; amongst which are 8 species put on the endangered species list. If you are a true nature lover, head over to the Angkor Centre for the Conservation of Bio-Diversity and learn more about the areas unique allure. Guided tours are offered where you will be given a comprehensive tour cum update of the protected land and fragility of the wildlife, some of which are on the endangered species list.


Go Explore The Active Pagoda Dating Back To The 16th Century

Since Phnom Kulen has been a religious centre for centuries, it's not uncommon to find temples and shrines still active and dating far back in time. One of the most famous is the Kbal Spean area where the River of a 1000 Lingas exists. Hinduism is the religion practiced across these shrines with Lord Shiva held in great reverence and most of the artefacts dedicated to the deity. Exploring these sites are a treat where you will discover a range of well-preserved sandstone sculptures and statues dedicated to Shiva. Over time the dominating religion turned towards Buddhism which took place around the 16th century. A fine example is the still functioning Wat Preah Ang Thom, built in the 16th century on a hill in Phnom Kulen. The site is a lovely lookout point for sweeping views of the area.


Swim In Sacred Falls

There are many waterfalls within the Phnom Kulen National Park; amongst which prominence is given to the two biggest. A staircase situated at the summit of the larger fall descends down to a pretty pool where a dip is quite heavenly, especially in the hot humid weather. The Kulem water sources are noted as being very fresh and are famous the world over with bottled water from the springs being quite popular.


Enjoy Invigorating Treks

There are several treks to go explore the Phnom Kulen Park. Make your way across beautiful forests, waterfalls and verdant surroundings as you trek over the many hills that make up the region. Make sure to take on the trek with the aid of an experienced tracker as the forest canopy can be very confusing and it's easy to get lost.