Prasat Han Chey
Scenic views and remarkable ruins
What we say:
Prasat Han Chey is a 20 kilometre moto ride north of town on a paved, shady lane through villages of stilted homes flanked by the Mekong River to the right and rice fields to the left.
Han Chey is set atop a hill accessible by two roads and also a 300-step staircase, buttressed by protective lion statues. A road on the hill's south end (turn left at the crossroads with a sign that says 400m) is rocky, steep and covered in slippery wet clay during the wet season. The road on the hill's north side -- paved and gradual -- is recommended.
Once at the top, visitors find a rather large monastery intertwined with several pagodas, an extensive statue garden and1,500-year-old Angkorian ruins. While historians visit the site to study early Angkorian culture as it existed during the Chenla period, local villagers visit them to pray during the P'chum Ben festival in September.
Statue gardens with a seeming random assortment of animals surround the old stone temples, new clay pagodas and monk dormitories. The grounds include life-sized deer, crocodiles, peacocks, dinosaurs and mythic beasts.
Several vendors sell sugar cane juice, fried noodles and fertilised duck eggs; so pack a lunch if you're in the mood for a full meal at one of the picnic tables overlooking the Mekong River below and the Mondulkiri plateau in the distance.
More details20km north of Kompong Cham
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