Oudong was the former Royal Capital of Cambodia, where many Khmer kings reigned in post-Angkorian. Located about 40 kilometers away from present Phnom Penh, it is home to a range of stupas and temples that portray the country's historical side.
Oudong , situated on a picturesque hillside setting, was Cambodia’s capital for around 250 years until 1866. It was established by King Srei Soryapor in 1601, following the abandonment of Longvek. The site of Oudong Cambodia was meticulously constructed, carved by hand and finally achieved an signature mossy look.
The site of Oudong Cambodia. Source: getyourguide
Under the reign of King Ang Duong (1841-1850), he built canals, terraces, bridges, and hundreds of pagodas in the region. Then, in 1866, King Norodom found Phnom Penh and relocated the royal court. Some old buildings are now in poor condition. In the past, they were destroyed by invaders during wartime and left to decay. Still, the government and authorities are attempting to bring Oudong Cambodia back to its glorious days by building more new shrines and improving the overall condition.
Phnom Oudong consists of different attractions, from temples, memorials to a remarkable mountain named Oudong Mountain overlooking the surrounding areas. The city is left with many archaeological remains and findings from the time surrounding Angkor period. There are a little more than 500 steps to tackle, but most of the main points of interest are along the way. When going up the path on Oudong Mountain, you can enjoy a scenic view of the countryside, with beautiful ride paddies and green plantations. You can also easily identify many famous attractions such as Phnom Penh Silver Pagoda, Cambodia Royal Palace, and golden temples that represent Cambodia's traditional architecture.
The stupa, built on top of the hill, houses a relic of Buddha. Source: willgoto.com
The journey from Phnom Penh to Oudong Temple takes over one hour by car. However, the trip back to the city usually takes longer due to traffic. Tourists can choose to either take a taxi, a public bus, or drive on their own. You can also opt for a more convenient means of transportation, a tuk-tuk. On the way there, you will get escape the urban sights and get a chance to appreciate the rural areas with beautiful scenery.
The picturesque Oudong Hill.
Travelers usually dedicate half or a full day to Oudong Mountain as it is an interesting region to visit as a whole. There are many things to do, such as visiting the architectural complex, discovering ruins in enclosed places, and go up the hill to see the impressive view for yourself. You can also get lunch at the base of Phnom Oudong, which is a nice change of pace from Phnom Penh while still getting to enjoy fresh local food.
While not being as majestic as the famous Angkor Wat, Oudong Cambodia is a worthwhile visit for those interested in Cambodia's long history and want to enjoy scenic attractions set in rural regions.
Some tips and advice:
- Remember to dress modestly when you visit the Oudong Temple.
- The complex itself is free to visit, but donation onsite is appreciated and encouraged.
- Oudong Mountain is busier on weekends with local people. On weekdays, the attraction has few visitors.
- Avoid visiting during the hottest time of the day; instead, opt for an early morning or late afternoon visit as the weather is more pleasant, and the sunlight would make the sight incredibly photogenic.
- Tourists will meet many local children who can speak English a little bit and guide tourists to visits highlights of Oudong Ancient City.
Looking for other attractions within and near the largest city and capital of Cambodia? We suggest checking out the Phnom Penh Travel Guide.