8 Best Historical Places in Cambodia
When planning their vacation in Cambodia, most people often think of lying on the beach with a book or going for a walk to enjoy the clean air of the mountains. Perhaps people will be touring museums or art galleries, visiting famous buildings or natural landmarks. However, several creepy tourist destinations attract tourists worldwide, and many people will probably have nightmares when visiting.
Let's run on the list of Cambodia historical places below!
1. Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat is one of the Top 10 Ancient Temples in Cambodia. It marks a prosperous civilization born in the 9th century and culminated in the 12th century with the great king, Suryavarman II. The uniqueness of this temple is the main entrance on the west when following architecture and religious beliefs; the west gate is the death way.
Angkor Wat also represents the two most famous and essential religions in Asia, designed as a crucial Hindu religious center dedicated to the god Vishnu. Later, Buddhism was imported and developed, and numerous reliefs mark these two religions on every corner of its architecture, which reminds the value and history of Hindu culture.
In addition to the Hindu and Buddhist sculptures, Angkor Wat also reveals several inscriptions and reliefs highlighting figures from Hindu mythology with many pictures of stone carvings such as giant bas-reliefs, doors, ceilings, and roofs,..made by the powerful hand of ancient Kmer, each telling about the creation of time and battle.
Besides, visitors can flock to the temple on Mount Bakheng at sunset as they can enjoy a panoramic view of the vast forest and stone ruins.
Visitors take photography at Angkor Wat's Lake
2. Preah Vihear Temple
Perched atop the cliffs of Pey Tadi in the Dangrek Mountains, the site is difficult to access. It has been a significant monastery and pilgrimage site in Cambodia for centuries. The temple of Preah Vihear has enjoyed constant royal attention for more than four centuries thanks to worshipping the God of Shiva- the dominant figure in Khmer Hinduism.
The architecture still has traces of the Khmer style from the early 10th century and the Banteay Srei style from the late 10th century, while most monuments were built in the 11th century. The complex architecture of the temple ruins along the North-South axis with three steps leading to the main shrine located on the top of the mountain. From Sanskrit inscriptions, under Suryavarman II, the temple of Preah Vihear was used for religious purposes with many ceremonies and religious festivals.
Besides being listed as one of the top Cambodia historical places to visit, Preah Vihear became a UNESCO World Heritage List. In the main hall of Preah Vihear, locals have converted it into a Buddhist pavilion with monks willing to bless sincere visitors for a small fee.
A part of Preah Vihear Temple
3. Phnom Kulen
Located about 50 km from Siem Reap city, Phnom Kulen is one of the great sacred mountains of Cambodia. The mountain is also an important pilgrimage site for the Khmer and one of many sites protected by UNESCO since 1992.
The mythical mountain of Phnom Kulen is a day-hiking area. You can also spend a stay in a temple and continue hiking through the limestone plains and forests. At the bottom of the forest, you will find the giant rock sculptures of Sra Dumrei.
One of the main attractions of Phnom Kulen is the Thousand Lingas River and its beautiful waterfalls. The Siem Reap River also originates from this water reserve. There are thousands of Khmer stone slabs lying at the bottom of the river. It is also a place where travelers like to enjoy a good picnic. During the visit, visitors can participate in daily life and admire the beauty of the river.
Phnom Kulen's waterfall
Kep is a municipality that also has the status of a province. It is also a seaside resort, one of the best places to visit in Cambodia.
Kep was established in 1908 by the colonial government so that the French elite and civil servants in Phnom Penh could escape the heat of the Cambodian capital and enjoy the pleasant seaside. After the departure of the French, Prince Norodom Sihanouk, in the early 1960s, decided to renovate the seaside resort and build a magnificent mansion with a view of the Gulf of Thailand.
With the Khmer Rouge taking power in 1975, Kep quickly became a ghost town. Representative to the decadent Cambodian bourgeoisie, the villas, and mansions have been vacant and some demolished. Wass not until the early 2000s that Kep experienced a new boom with the growth of international tourism, which was more controlled than its competitor- Sihanoukville.
Today, Kep presents itself as a seaside destination that offers a stunning array of activities. Visitors can relax on the lazy beaches and enjoy its serene atmosphere.
Village at Kep
5. Bokor Hill Station
Designed as a resort for the French colonialists in the early twentieth century, Bokor Hill Station was completed in 1925 by Cambodian laborers and took nine months.
After being abandoned for a long time, Bokor became a historical symbol of this country. The authorities retained a Ranger Station here, and now it is located in a national park because it is a strategic military location. As peace and political stability became more firmly established, this place attracted tourists.
The preservation of this place is not clearly outlined. The redevelopment was suggested but repeatedly started and stopped. Many argue that the government should preserve the stations as before rather than rebuild them.
This place is not for the faint-hearted. It will take you about 42km by road from the nearest town of Kampot – a new tourist destination. The streets are not good, and the journey is quite tricky. However, this is a worthwhile place for those not afraid of difficulties.
Inside Bokor Hill Station
6. Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum
Khmer Rouge used The Genocide Museums as a torture site. Before 1975, Tuol Sleng was a high school. When Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge troops came to power in May 1976, they turned this place into a prison and interrogation place called Security Office 21. According to the Cambodia Documentation Center documents, the S21 was explicitly designed for interrogation and destruction.
The museum consists of 4 main blocks and some surrounding houses, which were the headquarters, interrogation, and torture rooms of the Khmer Rouge government prisoners.
The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum is filled with extraordinarily dark and suffocating torture instruments. There was nothing but space, full of darkness and ghosts from old iron beds, tattered mats, pliers, hammers, and submachine cartridges.
The room containing pictures of torture scenes at the Cambodian Genocide Museum is also an obsession for visitors. Many paintings depicting brutal torture by the Khmer Rouge impressed anyone coming in.
Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum yard
7. Choeung Ek Killing Fields
Choeung Ek Killing Field is about 20km from the capital Phnom Penh. This area was once the site where the Khmer Rouge massacred Cambodians under the brutal genocidal regime in the 70s of the 20th century. According to documents in the killing field, from 1975 to 1979, Khmer Rouge soldiers killed 1.7 million people, accounting for 21% of the population.
More than thirty years after the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime, Cambodia continues to reveal mass graves like a lamp of hell. Hundreds of mass graves have been excavated, and discovered thousands of skeletons have.
The place is full of deadly gas, so it is not suitable for children and the weak. In addition, participating customers must dress unusually in outerwear.
Choeung Ek death fields are considered spiritual houses for Cambodians to bury their past lost and attacked souls. Besides, this place has become an ideal destination for customers who love history and discovery.
Choeung Ek Killing Fields
8. Phnom Sampeau
No less creepy than the field of death, Phnom Sampeau is the area where the Khmer Rouge destroys human corpses. The victims were taken to holes at the top of the caves and beaten to death with sticks. After that, Khmer Rouge soldiers pushed down their bodies to the caverns below.
Today, visitors head to the Killing Caves, preserved as a memorial to those murdered and fallen into the darkness. In the caves, the bones of unidentified victims are encased in glass cases, while other random bone collections are housed in wooden crates as a reminder of their history.
Every late afternoon, curious people gather here to observe a magnificent scene. Thousands of bats seem to break out from a cave to begin their nocturnal hunts. Many species of bats put on a spectacular show every evening when they start to emerge from their hiding caves, forming a swirling spiral into the night sky.
Way go to Phnom Sampeau cave
These Cambodia historical places may have a sleepy atmosphere but are distinct from the hotter spots, but adventure tourists will find plenty of reasons to linger. BestPrice Travel assures you that the list above will not let you down!
For further discovery, let's refer to the Best Tour Packages in Cambodia 2022 and enjoy your trip with BestPrice Travel.
(Image source: Internet)