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Anlong Veng

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Set near the base of the Dangrek escarpment, and running around the edge of a man-made lake, Anlong Veng feels like the town Cambodia forgot about, and for a long time, that is just what it was -- it didn't really return to the government's fold till 1988.

Around 125km north of Siem Reap, this is one of the last redoubts of the Khmer Rouge, and the town was for years off limits. Today, close to an international border crossing and reached by a slowly improving road, the town is starting to develop and welcome the occasional backpacker that straggles into town.

Within the town itself there is precious little to do as the key attractions all sit atop the Dangrek range in the form of Pol Pot's grave and house along with Ta Mok's house -- the latter offers spectacular views as far as Phnom Kulen (on a very clear day).

The lake in town was caused by a small dam/spillway constructed under orders of Ta Mok. During construction they never bothered to clear all the trees from the area to be flooded and so the dead trees remain standing, creating a particularly eerie yet very photogenic scene.

Tourism is a pretty new concept here but there are a few motodops who speak a little English and will happily whiz you around to all the main sites -- the best way to see what Anlong Veng has to offer.

The area is also a popular area for dirt-bike tours (most of which run out of Siem Reap) mainly due to its rough-house roads and little-touristed feel.

If you're in a rush you could see everything Anlong Veng has to offer in a half day, but if you have time on your hands, you could easily spend day or two here.

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Get into town, rest up, then head down to one of the restaurants near the late for a bite to eat -- if you've come from Siem Reap you'll be arriving early afternoon we'd guess. Come the next day get a motodop to take you up to explore Pol Pot and Ta Mok's digs -- the views are as stunning as Pol Pot's basement is creepy.

Text and/or map last updated on 21st August, 2009.

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