Preah Vihar

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Ideal duration: 2-3 Days

Best Time: October - February Read More

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"A hilltop temple with amazing views"

Preah Vihar Tourism

Preah Vihear is an ancient Angkor Hindu temple, located in Preah Vihear province, Cambodia. Located on the top of a 525-meters cliff in the Dângrêk Mountains, the temple offers magnificent views of the countryside and is known for its exquisite architecture along with its beautiful location. The complex served as a spiritual sanctuary for several Khmer emperors who came here seeking a retreat. Travelers exploring Cambodia visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site for the spectacular views of the plains, brilliant architecture and rich history. 

Preah Vihear borders Thailand's Sisaket province, from which an entry is possible via the Khao Phra Wihan National Park. Preah Vihear province gets its name from this temple. The words Preah Vihear translates to religious offerings of the sacred temple.

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Things to See

162 stone steps that lead to the causeway decorated with Nagas and the view of the Gopuras Gopura III & Gopura IV - Both known for their intricate carvings, bas reliefs and galleries depicting Indian and Buddhist mythological scenes and characters.

Pei Ta Da Cliff - A 500-metre drop point offering fantastic views of the landscapes. If you have a permit or visa and are entering from the Thai side, you can additionally check out these things.

Pha Moh I-Daeng - A cliff with a viewpoint from this border side offering splendid views of the countryside of Cambodia.

Huay Kanoon Dam - a popular picnic spot for the locals, located about 25 km from the temple.

Don Tuan Khmer Ruins - 10th-century ruins of the Khmers located close to the Thailand Cambodia border.

Sra Trao or Huay Trao - A stream flowing through the rock at the foot of Preah Vihear. It is believed that it served as a Khmer reservoir in this region.

Tham Khun Sri - A gigantic cave, which is believed to be the residing place of Khun Sri. He was a Khmer who managed rock cutting and supplies for the construction of Preah Vihear complex.

Namtok - A three-tier waterfall, above Tham Khun Sri cave close to a trail leading to Preah Vihear.

History

The Temple of Preah Vihear is at least 100 years older than Angkor Wat, the most famous monument of the Khmer period, but the history of the temple is not very clear. The construction of Preah Vihear began during the reign of Yasovarman I and ended with Suryavarman II. So it is believed that seven successors have made additions to the temple premises. Due to its remote location, the site is well preserved. Located close to the border, Preah Vihear has been a monument of a dispute between the countries of Thailand and Cambodia. First, a part of Thailand, it became a part of Cambodia after its independence. But following civil wars and the Khmer Rouge, there was a conflict which continued until 2011. As of now, although it belongs to Cambodia, both the nations have placed massive military posted at the entrance of the temple. It is not a cause for any concern among the tourists, who visit the temple in large numbers.

Architecture

The temple symbolised Mount Meru and was initially dedicated to Hindu God Shiva. There are other deities from Buddhism, added during the later stages by emperors endorsing Buddhism. The architecture of Preah Vihear is unique in many ways, including its location on a long north-south axis, instead of a rectangular complex facing east - a typical Khmer style. This temple-mountain complex consists of an 800-metre long axis with many sanctuaries separated by staircases and a causeway, which leads to the top of the complex. Each sanctuary is home to a gopura, which is well carved and decorated with sculptures depicting various mythological scenes. Visitors have to climb steps to reach all the five gopuras to get to the top. The third gopura is the largest of all, surrounded by two large halls. There are also two big libraries in this sanctuary.

Tips

Visit the temple, preferably in the early morning or late afternoon for pleasant weather. Carry your passport with you as you are required to show that to get your entry tickets. Get an umbrella, good shoes, and enough water with you as the place needs a bit of walking around and climbing in the sun. You can arrange transport from the entrance to the temple gate, which costs about 5 USD per person for a return trip. It is better to take this if you want to avoid walking all the way.

Preah Vihar Photos

Preah Vihar
Preah Vihar - Ancient Hindu Temple in Combodia

FAQs on Preah Vihar

What is the best time to visit Preah vihar?

The best time to visit Preah Vihear is between October to February, when the weather is not hot, and the humidity is manageable. Go in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the hot sun and for pleasant sunrise and sunset views of the surrounding landscape.
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What are the places near Preah vihar?

The top places near to Preah vihar are Siem reap which is 145 km from Preah vihar, Phnom penh which is located 246 km from Preah vihar, Kep which is located 366 km from Preah vihar, Kampong cham which is located 198 km from Preah vihar, Kampong thom which is located 119 km from Preah vihar

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