Phnom Kulen National Park

Phnom Kulen or the Kulen Mountain (mountain of lychees) is a historical site and national park located about 50km in the northeast of the Archeological Park of Angkor and 60km from the Siam Reap Town. Phnom Kulen is considered the most sacred mountain for the Khmer and is also a very popular place for tourists because of its natural beauties and some famous Angkorian relics there.
Originally called Mahendraparvatam, the mountain of Great Indra, the place was where Jayavarman II, in AD 802, declared independence from Java, proclaimed himself Chakravartin – The Universal Ruler under the mandate of God thus laid the foundation of the Khmer Empire. Jayavarman II then established his capital city here, opening up the kingdom’s golden epoch that is also known as the glorious Angkor era. At its peak, the city was about the size of modern-day Phnom Penh and said to be one of the largest cities in the world at that time but soon eclipsed by Angkor.

Phnom Kulen waterfall

Though most of the ancient city near the mountain itself is now concealed by dense tropical forest and earth, there are several natural highlights and historical sites around there, making Kulen National park a wonderful place to visit. 
The first attraction here to mention is the River Of Thousand Linga (Kbal Spean) which is famous for its thousands of sculptures lingas, yonis, and other figures of different sizes and shapes carved out of the sandstone riverbed and bank. These stuffs represent fertility and the water here is believed to be holy that can bring good luck to people. During the rainy season, most of these sculptures are submerged by shallow water and they will become fully exposed in the dry season when the river dries up.

Phnom Kulen

Another attraction here is Preah Ang Thom, a sacred temple dedicated to the god of the Phnom Kulen. This 16th-century Buddhist temple houses a giant reclining Buddha which is about 8 meters high, carved out of a single huge sandstone boulder and said to be the largest reclining Buddha image in the country.
Both the Kbal Spean and Preah Ang Thong are special religious sites for Cambodian Buddhists and Hindu pilgrims.
On the mountain of Kulen, there are 2 waterfalls, one is about 4-5 meter high and 20-25 meter wide while the other one is about 20 meters high and 10 to 15 meter wide depending on the season. Both waterfalls are created by the Chup Preah stream that flows through the jungle and rocks down into the valley. The area on the top of each waterfall is quite flat, making great picnic spots. You can either get to these waterfalls either by car or by taking a good trek through the tropical jungle. 

Phnom Kulen, Cambodia

Some other attractions in the area of Kulen including the site of Srah Damrei which is filled with sculptures of animals in which there is a huge stone elephant about 4m in height, Peung Tbal and which has beautiful carvings of the Hindu gods in various sizes and shapes, Peung Aysey which is located in the middle of dense jungle, containing more carvings, Sdach Kamlung terrace and so on. All of these sites is believed to date back from the 8th and the 9th century.
On the way from Siam Reap to Phnom Kulen and back, you can also take visits to the beautiful temples of Banteay Srei and Banteay Samre or go further to Beng Mealea which is around 7 kilometers further.
Phnom Kulen is one of significant attractions in Siam Reap and visiting there can be done on a half or full day tour. Most of our Cambodia tours include visiting to this place. Please feel free to contact Travel Authentic Asia for further information.