Preah Vihear Temple

Preah Vihear is an ancient Hindu temple complex situated on the top of Dangrek Mountain in Preah Vihear province in the north of Cambodia and right at the border with Thailand. This temple was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2008.
It used to be the center of a dispute between Thailand and Cambodia for years as half of the temple and its only access way was claimed by Thailand. However, in 1962 and another time in 2005, the International Court of Justice stated that the ownership belongs to Cambodia, including the access way. 
Meaning “sacred shrine”, the Preah Vihear temple was started to be built in the early 9th century Khmer king to dedicate to the Hindu god Shiva. The temple structure was changed and renovated over centuries and it was finally changed into a Buddhist temple after the decline of Hinduism in the region.

Preah Vihear

The temple was built largely of yellow and gray sandstone that taken right in the area while wood, bricks, tiles were also used. Many sandstone blocks that used to build the temple are exceptionally huge, weighing up to five tons, with holes drilled through to lift the rock up to the top of the mountain by rope.
According to records found on steles at the temple grounds, this used to be a massive royal temple complex that contained a huge treasure of elaborate artworks, from intricate carvings around to precious worshiping object made of precious stone, bronze, lacquer, and gold, etc… Through time and under impacts of wars and natural forces, most of the objects were either stolen or destroyed and auxiliary structures surrounding the temple are seriously damaged. Anyway, the remaining of the temple still very impressive and really a treasure of Khmer architectural art.

Preah Vihear temple - Cambodia

Here, apart from having the chance to admire the magnificent ancient architecture, from the top of the mountain visitors will be rewarded with the stunning view of the surrounding areas of both Cambodia and Thailand. The best time to visit Preah Vihear is in the early morning when the sun rises up and covers the temple with resplendent light.
The temple is located 140 km from Angkor Wat and can be visited on a full-day tour from Siam Reap passing other historical sites such as Banteay Srei and Anlong Veng. A visit to this temple can also be combined on a longer adventure loop trip around the northeast of Cambodia or a trans-Cambodia tour starting from Phnom Penh or Siam Reap.