Scenic mountains are the best visitor destinations in Cambodia now, not simplest for their stunning natural surroundings and clean air at the peaks and their cultural aspects associated with religions, animism, history, and legends. Phnom Santuk, a hill of 207 meters in elevation, is an ideal example of such sights. Considered the most sacred website online in the 2d largest province of the Kingdom, it’s miles a trap for all styles of travelers, from enthusiastic explorers to landscape photographers. Taing Rinith brings you on an adventure to the herbal and cultural site.
Once upon a time, in the land that would become Cambodia, there has been a powerful king who built his palace inside Kampong Thom’s province. With his queen, the King had one son, his rightful inheritor, whom he loved more than his life.
Near the palace, there has been a beautiful hill, where the royal circle of relatives prospered, along with their infantrymen and servants. For its abundance of the wild result, picking them for dessert became the prince’s favorite factor to do.
One fateful day, while the royal families were sightseeing at the peak of the hill, the prince all of a sudden fell unwell. The king and the queen have been so distraught; they requested their servants to build a camp at the foot of the mountain for his or her son to rest. Although they’d delivered the excellent physicians and medicine to therapy the prince, he did now not display any signs of recuperation.
The loved prince eventually exceeded away, leaving his dad and mom, and servants grief-troubled. His frame changed into cremated there and the hill because it was known as “Phnom Ason Mean Tuk,” translating as “the gloomy mountain.” As time went using, the call was shortened to Phnom Santuk.
“This is the tale which my grandmother instructed me,” says Sarin Broscheat, a 12-year-old ‘excursion guide’ on Phnom Santuk, placed about 17 km south of Kampong Thom city.
“This is simply one of the many memories you may pay attention to this mountain.”
To get there from the province’s capital, journey on National Highway 6 and flip left at a large signal bearing the call of the lodge, in which Phnom Santuk can be sighted at a distance. Going on for about 10 minutes on a dust route, you reach the foot of Phnom Santuk, surrounded by dense tropical woodland. Nearby are a huge car park and numerous food stations, in which you could get relaxation after a long journey and order diffusion of less expensive us of a dishes.
There are two ways to attain the pinnacle of the mountain, each of which has its personal plus.
For out of doors lovers who revel in a physical pastime, try huffing up the 809 stairs presenting a concrete handrail inside the shape of small people sporting naga, a legendary creature. Ascending, you will see many curving, mainly the Buddha’s ones, engraved on herbal boulders amidst the sweet fragrance of mountain flora. Yet, the staircase is likewise domestic to masses of macaque which can be ever prepared to scouse borrow the snack you are carrying. To protect travelers from the mountain macaque is the job of Broscheat and different young excursion guides.
“I truly pretend to shoot them with my slingshot,” Broscheat says. “But, they don’t attack guests. They want to beg for food.”
Many may see the macaques as part of Mother Nature and their adventure, and as a consequence, purchase seller meals to feed them (even though we do not suggest it). However, if you are not keen on that idea or choose to save your strength, honestly wimp out and take the paved 2.5km street, sandwiched through dense jungle to the top. On a fortunate day, you could have the danger of seeing wild animals, which include roe deer or civet cats.
Either pass up the hill using the staircase or paved street and reach a platform at the right simply beneath Change’s height. Here, there are massive boulders, from which a panoramic view of the encompassing areas or, in the night, trap a beautiful sunset.
Another thrilling feature of this Change is a musical experience at Chan Dare, a slit about 5cm huge and 3m lengthy fashioned with two stone precipices (see %). For centuries, the vacationer who arrives here usually drops coins into this small crevice. The cash then makes tender, lovely voices just like the making songbirds, as they trickle downwards. Next to Chan Dare is the spirit residence of Maeda, a deity famous for granting the request of individuals who pray to her for a child.
Phnom Santuk hosts a unique ensemble of colorful temples and stupas, with each ancient and new architectural patterns. The most first-rate landmark is probably the giant statue of the reclining Buddha.
It is covering sixteen sq. Meters and constructed with a purple-tile roof, the main temple of the mountaintop pagoda is now not handiest capabilities numerous murals but also the Tumor Andet, a 12-kg stone, which ‘miraculously’ floats on the water. While Tumor Andet may be a piece of pumice, a completely mild and porous volcanic rock formed “while a fuel-wealthy froth of glassy lava solidifies unexpectedly,” local folks believe it to be a sacred stone and worship it.
There are many other structures to explore, including a Chinese temple behind the main temple, which faces east and houses a Bodhisattva Guan Yin statue. Meanwhile, you can have your fortune told with the aid of Buddhist nuns or pay attention to several antique guys gambling traditional tracks even as savoring the stunning view. We recommend spending at least two hours on the summit.
If you continue to have time and energy, keep your journey to Phnom Srah Kmao, another mountain after Phnom Santuk. Its top is domestic to a vintage brick temple and a bat cave, in which, each day, thousands of bats flit between 5 pm and 6 pm.
“Please come to visit Phnom Santuk, where there are many things to peer and do,” Broscheat, the tour guide, says. “Coming here also manner you are helping terrible kids like me, and you’ll not be uninterested in paying attention to my stories.