Photo: The views alone are worth the climb.

Phnom Bok

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After Phnom Krom and Phnom Bakheng, Phnom Bok is the third of Yasovarman I’s hilltop efforts from the early 10th century.

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Once used as a strategic military post, Phnom Bok sits at the summit of the highest hill near to Angkor. At well over 200 metres high, this is considerably higher than Phnom Krom (140 metres) and Phnom Bakheng (a mere 70 metres). It makes for a wonderful change to the otherwise pancake flat terrain.

Take time to explore. And get your breath back. Photo taken in or around Phnom Bok, Angkor, Cambodia by Caroline Major.

Take time to explore. And get your breath back. Photo: Caroline Major

While the views here once had considerable military value in ancient and more recent history, today they’re far more valuable to the trickle of visitors that make it out here as you can see out as far as the Tonle Sap lake and the plains that lie before it on a clear day.

There are six sandstone towers at the summit and the remains of two brick libraries. There’s also a pagoda and a four-metre-high linga, the biggest found in Cambodia, which is now broken and lies in pieces at a separate tower located some 100 metres from the main temple.

While Phnom Bok is officially controlled by the Apsara authority and comes under the Angkor entrance pass, it is guarded by non-Apsara soldiers/guards who will happily show you around without asking to see your pass. While ticket inspection is not strictly enforced, if you attempt to climb it without you face the risk of a fine when you descend (we've heard reports of the soldiers telephoning Apsara but we've also heard of people visiting without this happening).

Left right left right... Photo taken in or around Phnom Bok, Angkor, Cambodia by Caroline Major.

Left right left right... Photo: Caroline Major

There’s usually a guard at the base who will follow you up—no doubt laughing to himself as you stop for a rest every few steps, while he fails to break a sweat—and gesture where to go to find the linga (get to the top, head left) and ruins. There’s no requirement, but a small tip doesn’t hurt if he takes the time to show ... Travelfish members only (Around 400 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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Phnom Bok
Around 25km from Siem Reap

Location map for Phnom Bok

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