- George Moore
Kbal Spean is not a temple in Siem Reap, but a further 47km away it is actually a the sacred site established along the tributary of the Siem Reap river which is found at the base of the Kulen mountains of Cambodia after Banteay Srei to the north. For 150m over one stretch of the river (amazingly this was only discovered in 1968) there are fascinating images of deities, and within this 1000 lingas giving the river its sanskrit moniker - 'River of a Thousand Lingas'. The Kbal Spean highlights are numerous, and include carvings of Vishnu reclining, a naturally formed bridge, and a small, perfectly formed waterfall at the end of the carved river bed. The style of the river is that of the Baphuon era, and the deities depicted are all Hindu. Some inscriptions which have been found date the carvings back to the reign of Udayadityavarman II.
Distance from Siem Reap to Kbal Spean is 47km (best reached by car, taking just over one hour). To reach Kbal Spean, take the road north toward Banteay Srei and then East Mebon from the Angkor complex. When you reach a village called Phum Preah Dak you turn left and head north toward the Kulen mountains. After a further 13km you will reach the mountains and the car park will be at the foot of the mountains. An expert local tour guide from Siem Reap will ensure you get the very best from your visit here.
"If building majestic temples on land wasn't enough for the Angkor empire to express their power, devotion and immense skill and determination to create perhaps the most awe inducing kingdom ever constructed, it doesn't end there, just look in this river! The carvings here are simply magical, an extraordinary feat of craft and imagination."
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