Phnom Penh Cambodia: Nearby Destinations. Phnom Chsor, Phnom Da...
 
 
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Travel Guides

Nearby Sights

Silk Island

Tonle Bati/Ta Prohm
Ta Khmau Zoo/Phnom Tamau
Oudong (old capital)
Phnom Chisor
Phnom Da
Prasat Neang Khmau
Kien Svay

 

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Phnom Penh: Day Trips & Nearby Destinations

There is a lot of Cambodian history and culture within a daytrip’s distance of Phnom Penh. The pre-Angkorian and Angkorian-era temple ruins in Takeo province, though not as impressive as the ruins near Siem Reap, still rank amongst the most historically and archaeologically important Khmer ruins in Cambodia. Of a much later era, the picturesque 17th-19th century remains of the royal city of Oudong west of the Phnom Penh allow you to explore the period of Cambodian history between the end of the Angkorian-era and the beginning of the French colonial period, an age that is neglected in most tours of the country. And just the process of getting to these sites provides a good glimpse of Cambodian countryside life - scenic rice paddies, stilted villages and countryside pagodas.

 

For more sites and travel information the Ultimate Cambodia Travel Guide (by Matt Jacobson. Coastal Books: 2008) is still a good source of information on the nearby Angkorian-era temple ruins as well as additional sites. The Gecko Maps Cambodia map is reputedly the most detailed and up to date road map generally available. Most guesthouses, hotels and travel agencies can arrange transportation and tours to the listed destinations. For the do-it-yourselfers, most of the listed destinations can also be reached by Phnom Penh Sorya Transport buses. Regularly scheduled, often hourly buses depart the Phnom Penh Sorya bus station near Phsar Thmey (Central Market) and follow the National Routes into the provinces. Most of the listed sites lie on or near a National Route. For sites located off a National Route, onward transportation (usually motodups) await passengers at the bus stops.

 

Nearby Destinations  (Back to top)

 

Silk Island (Koh Dach)

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For those with an interest in Cambodian silks and silk weaving, set aside a half-day for a boat trip to a rural weaving village on Koh Dach (aka ‘Silk Weaving Island,’) a nearby island about an hour‘s boat trip up the Mekong River. The weaving village is a typical rural Cambodian stilted village, dedicated almost entirely to silk weaving - people operating hand looms under most of the houses, others dying and spinning silk on spinning wheels made of bicycle parts. The are no regular tours to the village and only a few tourists go there these days. Arrange a visit through a guesthouse, travel agent (for about $10/person) or arrange it yourself through one of the riverfront cruise boats that can be found along the Sisowath Quay near Street 136 (map.) It should cost $10-$15/hour for a private boat and take about 2 hours round trip plus the time you want to spend there. The boat may stop at ‘Mekong Island’ (Koh Okhna Tey) and some other weaving houses along the way. Make sure that the boat operator understands that you want to go all the way to the silk village on Koh Dach.


Tonle Bati/Ta Prohm

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Tonle Bati is a small lake and popular picnic spot for the locals - bamboo picnic stands and mats by the water. On the road to Tonle Bati there are two Angkorian era temples, Ta Prohm and Yeay Peau. Both temples were built under Jayavarman VII in the late 12th century during the same period that Bayon and Angkor Thom in Siem Reap were constructed. Ta Prohm is the more extensive and impressive of the two, displaying a number of very well-preserved carvings. Yeay Peau is a single sandstone tower situated next to an active pagoda displaying some carvings. The area has been occupied since the pre-Angkorian Funan period and Ta Prohm was modified and extended as late as the 16th century.

Ta Khmau Zoo / Phnom Tamao / Prasat Tamao

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The Phnom Tamao area is a popular destination for weekend holidayers from Phnom Penh, offering picnicking, a zoo and some minor Angkorian-era ruins. The Ta Khmau Zoological Gardens is Cambodia’s newest and best zoo displaying a variety of animals including lions, tigers, bears, birds and more. An 11th century, Suryavarman I temple ruin in very poor condition (Prasat Tamao) sits at the top of Phnom Tamao. Located off of Route #2 at the 39km mile marker. Turn right. 1000 riel entrance fee.

Oudong

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About an hour west of Phnom Penh, just off Route #5, lay the hills of the abandoned royal city of Oudong. Oudong was the capital of Cambodia from the early 17th century until 1866 when the capital was moved to Phnom Penh. Several temples, stupas and other structures cover three hills. The walk up the hill provides an excellent countryside view. The hill is crowned with stupas containing the remains of several Cambodian kings including King Monivong (1927-1941) and King Ang Duong (1845-1859). The earliest structure is from the 13th century. These hills were also the site of some of the Khmer Rouge’s most prolonged resistance against the encroaching Vietnamese army in 1979. Several new temples and shrines have recently been installed on the hill. For something completely different, take a side trip to ‘Prasat Nokor Vimean Sour’, a concrete, unduly ornate, semi-replica of Angkor Wat built circa 1998.

Take a Kampong Chhnang/Oudong bound bus. Get off at the billboard in Oudong town and take a motodup the rest of the way to the site.

Phnom Chisor

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At the top of Phnom Chisor sit some very nicely preserved 10th/11th century AD Angkorian era ruins. The temple was constructed under King Suryavarman I during a period when Angkorian Empire was powerful and on the rise. As most Angkorian temples of the period, this temple is Hindu, dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu. Scenes including Brahma, Shiva and Visnu are still visible, carved on some lintels and pediments. The 503 steps to the temple on top of the hill make for a fairly vigorous climb but the quality of the ruins and the amazing view of the countryside make the effort well worth it.

Bus: Buses depart for Takeo every hour from the Phnom Penh Sorya Transport bus station. Get off at at the turnoff marked by a big ‘Phnom Chisor’ sign (52km road marker) and take a motodup to the base of the hill.

Phnom Da/Angkor Borei

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Angkor Borei is a town in Takeo province in the area of several ruins and archaeological digs. The area has been continuously inhabited for at least 2500 years and has yielded artifacts dating from the Neolithic period, the Funan period (4th/5th century AD) and Chenla (8th century AD) as well as the later Angkorian period (9th-15th century AD.) There are no significant temple ruins at Angkor Borei but there is a very interesting little museum displaying artifacts from the area and providing information on recent archaeological digs. About 20km from Angkor Borei is the hill of Phnom Da, crowned by an impressive 11th century Angkorian-era prasat (tower) with some carvings in good condition. The temple was constructed under King Rudravarman and dedicated to Shiva. Further down the hill is the unique little temple ruin Ashram Maha Rosei, quite unlike other Khmer monuments in both design and adornment. The design is reminiscent of Prasat Ashram Isay in the Sambor Prey Kuk group in Kampong Thom. Ashram Maha Rosei was constructed in the late 7th-early 8th century, during the pre-Angkorian Chenla period, under Bahavavarman and shows signs of non-Khmer influence. Note the unusual north-facing entrance.

Getting there: During the dry season, Phnom Da can be reached by road or boat. In the wet season, it can only be reached by boat. By road: Take the Takeo bound bus to the Phnom Chisor turnoff (52km from Phnom Penh.) Take a motodup or taxi to Phnom Chisor and then on to Phnom Da. Two hours on a rough road. By boat, take the bus to Takeo town. Pick up a boat to Angkor Borei and Phnom Da. $25 for the whole boat. During the dry season you will stop well short of the hill and will have to hike a ways.

Prasat Neang Khmau

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Standing next to an active pagoda, Prasat Neang Khmau consists of two deteriorating brick prasats (towers) built in the Angkorian-era in the 10th century A.D. under King Jayavarman IV. There was probably at least one more ancient prasat where the modern pagoda now sits. Prasat Neang Khmau was originally dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. The temple complex is named after Neang Khmau, ‘Black Lady’, a modern-era statue located in front of the temples. At the 51km road marker. The temples are on a small hill right next to the road.

 

Kien Svay

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