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Wat Hanchey

Cambodia is rising as a new star in the tourism field of Southeast Asia. Here is truly a perfect alternative of Thailand for exploring countless unique temples. Wat Hanchey will be on top of the must-visit temples in Cambodia you shouldn’t miss for a memorable Cambodia journey.


First of all, we must admit that Wat Hanchey stands out as a fascinating complex of temples from all periods in the art history of Khmer Kingdoms. These beautiful structures are located 20 km away from Krong Kampong, the provincial of Kompong Cham Province. The temple complex offers visitors picturesque views over the Mekong River for being at the top of a hill. At the complex, you can easily be surrounded by exquisitely crafted stupas and statues that you can make the most of them take the nicest pictures. Keep reading as there are still more and more exciting activities waiting for you to explore during your trip to Wat Hanchey!


Wat Hanchey has a long-standing history as it surpassed many noticeable periods of time in Cambodia. The oldest part of the complex was built between the 7th and 8th centuries. At that time, the temple played a crucial part in the worship during Chenla Empire before the glorious days of the Khmer Empire coming for having prestigious Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom in the 12th century. Khmer people believe Mountain Meru was the home of Hindu Gods despite the fact that there are hardly any mountains in this part of Campuchia. Therefore, the locals tried their best to build the temple on the hilltop and consider it a new symbol of the giant mountain to pray and worship Gods. Under the dynasty of Chenla Kings, Wat Hanchey was also a remarkable place for travelers to take a rest on their trip to pre-Angkor cities. The temples were damaged under the rule of Khmer Rouge, but it has been rebuilt so far.

Wat Hanchey

Wat Hanchey makes sure to catch visitors’ attention with a beautiful appearance


Indulge in spectacular views on top

What a mistake if you skip the chance to go to the top of the temples to catch exceptional natural sceneries! Each visitor has 2 specific ways to go on the top by using a motor scooter or just on foot. The latter including climbing over 290 steps is highly recommended as it does wonders for your health while you can fill your lungs with fresh air and enjoy a host of scenic views on both sides of the stairway. When you reach the hilltop’s position, be prepare not to get overwhelmed by what great nature can bring to your eyes. It is pretty hard to believe but surely you will be totally mesmerized by the stunning panoramic views overlooking the beautiful Mekong River at first sight.

Visit extraordinary architectures inside the temples

  • Chenla-era Brick Sanctuary

Chenla-era Brick Sanctuary is a whether-worn red brick structure dating back to the 8th century. Standing for a very long time makes the sanctuary lost most of its initial appearance, but the rest is enough to keep onlookers hooked every time visiting the Wat Hanchey complex. The brick sanctuary without the outer covers offers visitors a chance to see its original extraordinary shapes. If you watch carefully, you can find the well-preserved inscriptions in ancient Sanskrit on the window. The residents living around the sanctuary are mostly Buddhists although the temples were once used to commemorate a Hindu God Hirahara.

Brick Sanctuary

Visit Wat Hanchey to uncover Chenla-era Brick Sanctuary’s charm with its unique shapes

  • Theravada pagoda

Theravada pagoda is another worth-seeing spot when you join a trip to Wat Hanchey Cambodia. The pagoda’s purpose is to dedicate Buddhas who have a strong influence on the lifestyle, culture and traditional customs of the locals surrounding Wat Hanchey. The pagoda in one-storey structure with an amazing Khmer style is one of the most striking pagodas in Wat Hanchey complex. When coming here, tourists may get dazzled by sculptures and statues with exotic shapes in different colors describing wild animals like nagas and lions. Moreover, you now stand a good chance to widen your knowledge of Buddism through stunning paintings hang on the walls and even the ceiling of the pagoda. Each of them shows a particular scene of the lives of monks or depicts the daily activities of traditional Khmer people as well as magnificent natural sceneries around Cambodia.

Explore the laid-back lifestyle of local monks

Visitors may find it interesting to know that Wat Hanchey is home to many young Cambodians who previously the homeless or the or orphaned now being looked after by the monks. It is common to see young Cambodian monks doing their daily activities such as praying, studying, and playing together in a safe environment of the temple complex. At lunch, the youngsters will have lunch with simple but tasty meals, most of which are donated by the locals and also pilgrims. Before leaving Wat Hanchey, you can be offered a traditional water blessing with joy and a string tied around your wrist to wish you luck and happiness.

Monks At Wat Hanchey 2

Young monks at Wat Hanchey are friendly and always willing to take pictures

How to get to Wat Hanchey

Wat Hanchey is 260 Km far away from Siem Reap and 124 Km from Phnom Penh, two of the most common initial spots for travelers coming to Cambodian the first time. You can opt for several means of transport to travel to Wat Hanchey from Siem Reap or Phnom Penh. The first option is the local bus. The local bus offers an affordable price, but it is not as comfortable as other options as always. You should catch the earliest bus to avoid being delayed and enjoy the exciting nightlife passing you by. Another option to get to Wat Hanchey is a taxi. Although the taxi ticket is a bit higher than that of a bus, it brings more comfort and satisfaction with standard service like air-conditioner on board to every customer. Note that you need to pay USD 15 more to get to Wat Hanchey from Phnom Penh and USD 25 if you start your trip from Siem Reap. The last choice is going on a cruise. It is considered the easiest and most convenient way to get to Krong Kampong. The cruise follows the route sailing through two countries, from Cambodia to Vietnam. It is challenging to resist the chance to relax and admire the magnificent natural beauty alongside the banks of the Mekong River.

Cambodia is a true gem in terms of tourism for having a lot of potential waiting to be explored. If you have an intention to travel to Cambodia, you may consider whether to include Kompong Cham with Wat Hanchey in your itinerary or not, and our recommendation is an absolute yes. The temple complex never fails to give a new meaning of Cambodia tourism to every traveler!

Cuong Ngo

Image source: Internet

Wat Hanchey Map

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