Kulen Mountain is about an hour by car from Siem Reap province, a popular tourist trekking destination. The Cambodia holiday package also introduces this place as a sacred pilgrimage site for Buddhists and Hindus. This spot also contains many more interesting things and is worth exploring for a few days. Let’s read this article before packing your luggage!

What Is Special About Kulen Mountain?

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A corner of the Kulen Mountain plateau chain (Source: Internet)

Kulen Mountain is a chain of small plateaus in the Dangrek Mountains, about 40 km long, with the highest point being 487m. A part of the mountain range also belongs to Phnom Kulen National Park, Siem Reap province. For Cambodia, the mountain has many special meanings:

  • Historical: This is the place where King Jayavarman II declared independence from Java in 802 CE, officially giving birth to the ancient Khmer empire.
  • Religious: It is a pilgrimage site for Buddhists and Hindus. Near the mountains is the 16th-century Buddhist Library, Preah Ang Thom, with the giant Buddha statue. Besides, at the foot of the waterfalls is a sacred place where Hindu gods, especially Vishnu, are carved.
  • Geological: Most of the mountainous area is formed from sandstone, which has played an important quarry role since the Angkor period.
  • Tourism: Besides the monuments, the mountain slopes have an average height of 400m, are densely wooded, are home to many rare flora and fauna, and are suitable for adventure travel, especially trekking.

Attractions Found On Kulen Mountain


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The waterfall created from Kulen mountain valley (Source: Internet)

The Chap Preah stream flows into the Kulen mountain valley, creating two large waterfalls. Depending on the rainy or dry season, the flow creates different water ranges, such as:

  • The first waterfall is about 5 meters high, about 25 meters wide, with a shallow pond below
  • The second waterfall is 15 to 20 meters high and about 10 to 15 meters wide, pouring into a large water area. It is also suitable for tourists to visit and swim.

You can also follow the stairs to the lower part of the waterfall. The flow is not too strong, and the water level is not too deep, even in the rainy season. Therefore, many people like to immerse themselves in the clear water here to relax after trekking.

Temples And Shrine

The Preah Ang Thom monastery, built on a giant sandstone cliff on the Kulen mountain range, is a sacred pilgrimage place for Buddhists. Along the path leading up to the monastery are stone steps with carvings on both sides of animals such as lions, Garuda (a mythical bird), tigers, snakes, and even dragons. Nearing the last steps, you must remove your sandals or shoes before entering the worship area. This area has a giant reclining Buddha statue about 8 meters high inside the monastery, with smaller Buddha statues below. Surrounding the campus are panoramic views of Phnom Kulen National Park, with its dense green forest, providing tranquility and peace.

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Linga carved in stone at Kbal Spea (Source: Internet)

On the other hand, Hindus often visit the valley of a thousand Linga, also known as Kbal Spean. Under the river are thousands of Linga and Yoni idols of different sizes carved along with Khmer epics. There is also a stone image of Lord Vishnu lying on the snake Ananta and his wife Lakshmi beside him. A small lotus flower grew from his belly, with the nucleus representing Brahma. The water in this river is considered holy because King Jayavarman II bathed in it. The king also redirected the river so that the above works could be carved into the rock bed.

Best Ways To Experience Kulen Mountain

Trekking And Adventure Activities

The trekking Cambodia holiday package in Phnom Kulen National Park is 15 to 20 km long and usually starts early at 6 a.m. Prices for each trip range from $45 per person, with discounts for 2 people or more. The route begins from small villages, passing through rice fields, to the majestic mountain. It composes many stops for both sightseeing and resting:

  • Wat Phnom Bie is a temple hidden in a remote forest – the first stop.
  • Local farms and fields grow organic crops, especially cashews. Depending on the season, visitors can taste the fruit.
  • Old Khmer ceramic factory existed since the first period of the Angkor capital thousands of years ago.
  • Main campsite allows visitors to rest, enjoy snacks, and visit small temples, such as Bart Carve, Krabay Krab, Sra Damrie, etc.
  • Preah Ang Thom Waterfall has many relaxing activities, such as swimming and foot bathing after a long walk.

Visiting Kulen Mountain On A Day Trip

Besides the trekking, tourists can visit Kulen Mountain by Jeep. The prices range from $48 to $275 per person, preferential prices for 2 or more people bookings. It includes door-to-door transportation. In addition, you may ask the driver to handle the Jeep in the mountainous terrain if you have an international driver’s license. The route consists of:

  • Villages: You might visit the lives of local people, such as fish catching and processing scenes, rice fields, etc.
  • Poeng Ta Kho: Also known as “Amazing Cliff,” this is the ideal place to see the entire Kulen mountain range and take photos.
  • Area selling specialties: You can buy local fruits, especially oranges and bananas.
  • Preah Ang Thom: It is great for visiting the giant Reclining Buddha statue, a pilgrimage site for Buddhists.
  • Kbal Spean: This is “1000 linga” valley, for Hindus to admire stone sculptures.
  • Waterfall: Visitors will follow the steps and wooden bridge to get close to the waterfall, where you can swim and rest after a long journey before returning.

How Do I Get To Kulen Mountain From Siem Reap?

From Siem Reap to Kulen National Park is only about 50 km away, so you can go on day tours through any Cambodia holiday package. Most travel services have pick-up and drop-off; you do not need to worry about transportation. However, if you want to travel independently, you can rent or book a car at your accommodation. Reference prices are as follows:

  • Motorcycle: $20
  • Tuk-tuk: $35
  • Taxi: $50 (maximum 4 people)
  • Minivan: $60 – $80 (maximum 12 people)

Because the road is quite small and narrow, you need to move early to reach the top of the mountain before 11 a.m. and return immediately afterward. Thus, collisions with vehicles traveling in the opposite direction can be minimized.


Kulen Mountain is a sacred mountain imbued with the history and culture of the Khmer people. It is also an ideal trekking destination, taking visitors from small villages across fields to places of worship and stopping at fresh waterfalls.You can book a one-day tour with a Cambodia holiday package to pick you up or rent a vehicle and go on your own. Let’s enjoy this trip the way you want and bring back many beautiful memories from Mount Kulen!

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