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Temple Watch: Sacred Phnom Kulen

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The hill temples of Phnom Kulen are the most sacred of all the Khmer Pilgrimage sites. Phnom Kulen is about one-and-a-half hours' drive from Siem Reap, and the mountain approach road gives some of the best views in the area. Chief among the interesting sights at Phnom Kulen are the series of Hindu lingas on the riverbed above the falls. These are similar to those seen at Kbal Spean. The main Reclining Buddha is situated in a building on a rock pinnacle, and below this are many shrines, pagodas and statues.  Above the shrines are temples and carved animal figures. More figures can be found several kilometres from the main batch, but a motorbike is needed to access these. Recent improvements to access have been made and the site has been tidied up for visitors.  Access to the spectacular falls is down rebuilt wooden steps, but getting near the falls in the rainy season involves wading through fast flowing water riddled with slippery rocks. In the dry season, it is a lot easier and with the recent rain, there will be a decent water flow. The road is open one way only until noon and there is no access after this. The cost of admission is US$20 for foreigners, so there are not too many tourists there.

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