Jaillan Yehia

Angkor Not: A Photo Journey To Preah Vihear Temple

Written by Jaillan Yehia

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Monk at Preah Vihear Temple

Monk at Preah Vihear Temple

The huge unspoiled Cambodian temple complex at Preah Vihear has long been the scene of animosity and fighting between Thai and Cambodian forces, but happily for those seeking an unspoiled temple experience it’s currently safe to visit.

And due to the contentious history of this site there’s just a tiny sprinkling of tourists here even today, making it a hugely contrasting experience to the craziness of the temples at Angkor Wat. 

Preah Vihear Temple may be a UNESCO World Heritage site just like Angkor Wat but Cambodia’s most controversial temple a 4 hour drive by mini van directly North of  Siem Reap offers up a very different scene to its tourist mecca counterpart.

Rocking up to the ticket booth clutching the required passport photocopy with barely another tourist around there are no cameras to take your photo to prevent you selling the ticket on as you’ll find at Angkor.

You then have the choice of moto or pick-up truck to enjoy a breezy ride up the mountain to the clifftop temple site and the only other traffic you’ll encounter is the odd monk on a the back of a moto or a unit of soldiers, still charged with protecting the temple.

Flags are flying as high as the feelings at the site, as Cambodian soldiers continue to occupy the area where fighting has regularly taken place, but it does feel safe for tourists – and exploring far away from the madding crowds at Angkor is a delight.

The real highlight though is being perched up on high ground and on a  clear day you can see three countries from this spot: Cambodia, Laos and Thailand.

Riding in the back of a pick-up truck to reach Preah Vihear Temple

Riding in the back of a pick-up truck to reach Preah Vihear Temple

The feeling of Cambodian pride is palpable at Preah Vihear Temple

The feeling of Cambodian pride is palpable here

The Cambodian flag is displayed prominently at Preah Vihear Temple

The Cambodian flag is displayed prominently at Preah Vihear Temple

From Preah Vihear temple you can clearly see the Thai soldiers' positions

From Preah Vihear temple you can clearly see the Thai positions

Preah Vihear Temple

Portrait of former Cambodian King Sihanouk at Preah Vihear Temple

Portrait of former Cambodian King Sihanouk at Preah Vihear Temple

Preah Vihear Temple

Preah Vihear Temple

The view from inside a small annex of Preah Vihear Temple

Looking down to the point at the Thai Cambodian border at Preah Vihear Temple where fighting has previously broken out

Looking down to the point at the border where fighting has previously broken out

Preah Vihear Temple

Preah Vihear Temple

Preah Vihear Temple

Preah Vihear Temple

Preah Vihear Temple

Preah Vihear Temple

Enjoying the view from Preah Vihear Temple

Enjoying the view from Preah Vihear Temple


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