Angkor Adventures Part 4 – Phnom Bakheng and End of Day 1


Click here for Part 3

I was taken aback by the mass killings that once rocked Cambodia. It reminded me of the Nanking Massacre which I actually read about it from the book “The Rape of Nanking” by Iris Chang.

Meanwhile, we headed to the entrance of the Angkor Archaeological Park to get ourselves a 1-day pass which costs USD10 per person. This pass will be used when we get into various temples later. Optionally, you can buy a 3-day pass for USD20.

Some 10 minutes later after getting our passes and being drove around, we have reached the first of many archaeological wonders of Angkor, Phnom Bakheng.

Phnom Bakheng at Angkor, Cambodia, is a Hindu temple in the form of a temple mountain. Dedicated to Shiva, it was built at the end of the 9th century, during the reign of King Yasovarman (889-910 A.D.). Located atop a hill, it is nowadays a popular tourist spot for sunset views of the much bigger temple Angkor Wat, which lies amid the jungle about 1.5 km to the southeast. The large number of visitors makes Phnom Bakheng one of the most threatened monuments of Angkor. [Source]

The crowd was building up as everyone tried to beat the time to watch sunset. If you reluctant to walk, you can always pay USD10 and take the elephant ride to the top. And you most probably won’t be able to avoid these pushy souvenir sellers trying to convince you to buy from them. And these sellers are only few years old!

Phnom Bakheng
Little girl trying to persuade us to buy souvenirs from her. Amazingly she spoke to us in few languages.

The journey to the hilltop was pretty enjoyable, partly because of the cool breeze. It took us about 10 minutes of walking non-stop and soon after, the sight of the temple was in front of us. And my jaw dropped upon seeing those stairs.

Phnom Bakheng

The stairs are so narrow and steep! And how we going to climb that?!?!

We stood there watching how others actually climbed up. Maybe we should have learned few tricks from Alain Robert before coming here. Time didn’t wait so we proceeded and started to climb slowly and carefully.

I think I reminded them to be extra careful every 30 seconds during the climb-up. *shivers*

Phnom Bakheng

It was not so hard after all. Maybe I was too worried. Hahaha.

There aren’t much to see at the top because most look like this…

Phnom Bakheng
One of the towers

Our guide did not follow us, so we were a bit lost of what to see here except for the sunset.

Constructed more than two centuries before Angkor Wat, Phnom Bakheng was in its day the principal temple of the Angkor region, historians believe. It was the architectural centerpiece of a new capital, Yasodharapura, that Yasovarman built when he moved the court from the capital Hariharalaya in the Roluos area located to the southeast. [Source]

No doubt this is the best place to witness sunset but we did not manage to see any because it was partly hazy and cloudy. 🙁

Phnom Bakheng
Where’s the sunset?

I continued on my photo-taking while others tried to look for a suitable spot to have a rest. Actually this is a good place to have a rest but the huge crowds and the noise will instead make you restless.

Phnom Bakheng

Phnom Bakheng
There are four entrances each at a side for you to climb up

Phnom Bakheng
Strolling around the temple

Phnom Bakheng
We even took our time to take photos using tripod

We decided to end our visit before the sky turned dark.

Phnom Bakheng
Climbing down.. scary!

And a photo to mark our visit…

Phnom Bakheng
What kind of pose is this?!?

Phnom Bakheng
Phnom Bakheng in general view

The sky already darkened by the time we reached the foot of the hill. We then headed for dinner which I didn’t touch even a single dish because my fever came back! We decided to call it a day earlier as we need to conserve our energy for the next day.

I crashed out very early that night with a hope I’ll recover in time for more adventures.

Next on day 2… full day at Angkor Archaeological Park.

More photos:

Siem Reap Day 1: (Almost) sunset at Phnom Bakheng


View posts by chleong
A travel addict and food junkie. When he is not traveling, he loves penning his thoughts on his latest adventures, whether food, places or anything that fascinates him. His travelogues often include intriguing photos that capture the moments as he believes a photo speaks thousand words.


  1. p_chen82Oct 16, 07

    Will you going to have a review on “The Rape of Nanking” at your blog later?

  2. chleongOct 16, 07

    I afraid you will be disappointed. I won’t review it. But you can always buy the book and read. It’s a good buy anyway.

  3. mayukoOct 17, 07

    A bit disappointed because cannot view the sun set..

    The first day we already used up lots of energy to walk and climbing… and try to imagine for a sick person.. so can consider you are great for that moment….

  4. chleongOct 17, 07

    Thanks. Just wanna make sure you people not to worry to much and enjoy as much as you can. Very hard to pretend leh. Hahaha.


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