Terrific views, shame about the admission fee
What we say:
The daunting Phnom Kulen sandstone plateau is one of the most sacred spots in Cambodia. It was on this plateau that Jayavarman II was consecrated as the first god-king and declared Cambodia to be independent.
Aside from providing a fantastic viewpoint, the plateau is also home to Cambodia's largest reclining Buddha, a pretty waterfall, a handful of Cham and Khmer temples, and, well hidden away, a bunch of mythical stone guardians including a very impressive life-size stone elephant — you will need a guide and a motorbike to find the guardians.
The plateau is well wooded and due to its almost 500m elevation, the temperature is characterised by cool evenings and crisp mornings. It was well off the beaten track for a long time, but some tour companies now run trekking and camping trips here.
It all sounds great, but there's a catch: A Khmer businessman built the road up to the summit and charges $20 per foreigner to use it. It's a very disappointing state of affairs and results in many visitors boycotting the site.
More details50km from Siem Reap
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