I guess no one could ever argue with whatever is written on thick history books about the worshipping practice of ancient civilization, mountains are considered as one of the sacred places on Earth. In fact, religious activities are often conducted in such places since worshippers believed that mountains would bring them closer to the heavens.
Siem Reap is not only known for its Angkor Wat complex but also to historical carvings, jungle-type tourist spots, and waterfalls. I was having a conversation with the tuk-tuk driver I hired when our topic got diverted to mountains and waterfalls. When he knew that I am an avid fan of waterfalls, he did not think twice of helping me booking a tour to Phnom Kulen National Park.
Getting to Phnom Kulen National Park
According to Wikipedia, Phnom Kulen National Park is located in Svay Leu District about 48 km from the provincial town of Siem Reap and about 25 km from Prasat Banteay Srey via Charles De Gaulle Road. I can’t recall seeing any tourists or locals, dropping from one transport to another just to get to the national park. So, I am pretty sure that the public transport for commuting to visit the park is not yet established. In other words, you’d better be prepared to hire a private car or van. I traveled alone during my entire trip in Siem Reap, so I was a bit worried if I will be able to find group/s of travelers who may allow me to join them. Luckily, I met 3 backpackers who were also staying at my hotel and wanted to visit the park so we decided to share transportation expenses. Whew! What a relief!?!?
My new found friends and I decided to rent a private car instead of a van. The tuk-tuk driver whom I always hire whenever I am in Siem Reap, referred us to Mr. Shin. He was very accommodating to our questions and we felt very safe during our whole trip. Going to the park from the city center may take at most 3 hours. We were really impressed on how he managed driving the car considering the rough road we had to pass through. Dirt is everywhere, so it almost turned our white sedan car into a newly-painted car. It may sound like an exaggeration but I am sorry guys, it’s not.
There are several spots to see in Phnom Kulen National Park –
- The river bed of ‘Thousand Lingas’
- Wat Preah Ang Thom / The reclining Buddha
- Phnom Kulen Waterfalls
Admission Fee (US$ 20.00 / 1 pax) = Php 940.00
Car Rental (US$ 65.00 / 4 pax) = Php 763.75
While Phnom Kulen National Park is not really a “Super Wow” tourist spot, it is still an interesting place to visit. For those who wish to include this national park in their travel itinerary when visiting Cambodia, you may want to consider these travel tips:
- Bring bottles of water;
- Eat foods which are rich potassium;
- Wear respectful/decent clothes when visiting temples;
- Wear your comfortable hiking socks and shoes;
- Never miss applying sunscreen on your skin when under the mad sun; and
- Be nice and make friends with fellow tourists;
- Make sure that your USD money is not dilapidated as some stores/merchants or even the drivers do not accept such; and,
- You can combine your trip to Phnom Kulen National Park with a visit to Beng Mealea.