Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Temple fees

Sokhom standing on the causeway at a completely empty Preah Vihear in 2002
A colleague visited Preah Vihear temple the other day and related a few nuggets of information that will be useful for anyone venturing to the temple in northern Cambodia, sat snugly on top of the mountainside, flush against the border with Thailand. With the gate closed to the Thai side, the Cambodian military are still firmly in control and exact a price for anyone visiting the temple. Cigarettes are the currency they prefer but they'll take anything you are prepared to give them. But buy the cigarettes before you arrive as the price the vendors are charging is just silly money. There's also a charge for taking the ride from the bottom of the mountain to the top in a pick-up truck, costing $25 a pop and it can take eight people. Or you can go by motodop, if you fancy the adrenaline rush, for $5. The climb is vertical in places. Oh, and don't forget your passport, as the military types want to see it before they allow you to visit the temple. Just to make sure you aren't Thai. The views are still stupendous, the temple is pretty good but any visit I make today will never compare with my Preah Vihear debut. These are a couple of pictures from Preah Vihear from my March 2002 visit, which was my first, with my trusty sidekick, Sokhom. The border was closed at that time as well and we were the only two visitors over the two days I was there, mainly because we had to climb the bloody mountain to get there. There was no road at that time. It was the hardest thing I'd ever done up to that point. But it was also the most exhilarating. Having the temple to myself was a magical moment I will never forget.
After climbing the mountain we had to walk through the freshly demined path to the temple

This was the main track to Preah Vihear back in 2002. We went on the back of Sokhom's trusty Daelim.

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Blogger Dave Perkes said...

Interesting pictures Andy. I first went up there early in 2004 and its very different to today.
FYI The authorities do accept drivers licence ID and if you have a 4WD or dirt bike you can drive yourself as I have done on many occasions.

August 22, 2013 at 7:58 AM  
Blogger Philip Coggan said...

Ah youth.

August 22, 2013 at 1:40 PM  

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