Phnom Kulen National Park is a National park in Cambodia. It is located in the Phnom Kulen mountain massif in Siem Reap Province. During Angkorian era the relief was known as Mahendraparvata (the mountain of Great Indra) and was the place where Jayavarman II had himself declared chakravartin (King of Kings), an act which is considered the foundation of Khmer Empire.
A playground for locals, Phnom Kulen (literally Mountain of the Lychees) is a gorgeous day out.
The main attraction is the waterfalls at the top of Kulen Mountain and it’s also a great picnic spot; well set up in Cambodian style with hammocks and shelters to keep you shaded from the sun. It’s around 1.5-2 hours drive from Siem Reap and if you go all the way to the top by van or car, you need to get there early, as the road is one-way traffic only.
Phnom Kulen is 48km from Siem Reap and can take 1.5-2 hours to reach by car or van, longer by tuk tuk but then that will only be if you want to walk up and back down again (approx. 2 hours each way, and absolutely stunning) as tuk tuk’s aren’t capable of making the steep journey to the top.
At Phnom Kulen there are several attractive places, such as
The main attraction is the waterfalls
There are two main waterfalls in Phnom Kulen
First waterfall: 4-5 meter tall and around 25 meter wide during the rainy seasons.
Second waterfall: 15-20 meter tall and around 15 meter wide during the rainy seasons.
The size of the waterfalls varies according to the seasons and the rain.
Chup Preah is the plain spot where having cool water flows and is located at the mountain’s valley. Next to it, there is a rare big tree of Cham Pa having 0.7 meter diameter and 15-meter height. At Chup Preah, there is a big Buddhist statue and many other small statues made during the 16th century.
The Kbal Spean
The Kbal Spean archaeological site, also known as “Valley of a thousand Lingas”, is located on the mountain, along the Kbal Spean River, which is tributary of Siem Reap River. The site has many figures of Yoni and Linga as well as other figures carved into the rocks of the riverbed and banks which may become fully exposed in the dry season when the river dries up. The river is shallow and small waterfalls form at the site in the wet season. The site is accessible by trekking uphill through a 1.5 km jungle track from the parking site.
Terrace of Sdach Kamlung
Terrace of Sdach Kamlung is a plain terrace with a small ruined temple made of bricks in the middle. The terrace was once covered with lava.
Preah Ang Thom
is an 8 meter tall statue of the reclining Buddha reaching nirvana. The statue is carved into a huge sandstone boulder. Preah Ang Thom is the sacred and worshipping god for Phnom Kulen. There are also two big trees of Cham Pa at nearby. Besides Preah Ang Thom, there are Chhok Ruot, footprint of Preah Bat Choan Tuk, Peung Chhok, Peung Ey So and Peung Ey Sey.