A first look at the Kulen plateau as we make our way to the top The gorgeous waterfall that is the favourite of so many Khmer families
In many ways Phnom Kulen
is an undiscovered natural haven, located oh so close to the most-visited venue in all of Cambodia, Siem Reap and Angkor. Obviously, some of its pleasures have been on the list of places to see since the mountainous area re-opened up after the end of the Khmer Rouge movement in 1999, but they are just a part of what's on offer to adventurers willing to seek out more of Kulen's hidden treasures. The beautiful 35-metre waterfall on two levels, the riverbed carvings of 1,000 Lingas, the largest reclining Buddha in the country hewn from the natural sandstone rock, are all favourite attractions for Khmers to visit at weekends and holiday times. Afterall, Kulen is the birthplace of the Angkorian dynasty and that makes it the most revered and sacred mountain in the country and a magnet for pilgrims. Elsewhere on this huge plateau that stretches for 40kms, covered in the most part by forest and greenery, you can uncover more than 30 Angkorian brick temples, inscriptions, pottery kilns, numerous rock carvings in cave dwellings that used to house hermits, remote villages that time forgot and an eco-system that has still to be fully understood. Quite literally we've only really begun to scratch the surface to reveal the treasures of Phnom Kulen.
The most revered reclining Buddha in Cambodia, Preah Ang Thom Boys will be boys, splashing around in the refreshing Kulen river The water from Kulen flows down the mountain to irrigate the Angkor floodplain, having passed over 1,000 sacred lingas carved into the riverbed Pilgrims come to the river to pray to the Hindu deities, many of which are carved on the riverbed The view from the pagoda at Preah Kral, with that small hill in the distance being Phnom Bok The reason why much of Kulen is still to be uncovered is the absence of any roads; getting from A to B is by small tracks through the forest in the most part. Occasionally you will come across a magnificent brick temple like this one at Prasat O'Pong, one of 30 such sites on top of Kulen Our final look at the plateau of Phnom Kulen, this time with the rooftops of the village of Anlong Thom barely visible on the right-hand side
Labels: Phnom Kulen