Situated in central Cambodia, Kampong Thom is one of five provinces located at the lower part of the Tonle Sap Lake and rich in historical sites such as temples from the pre-Angkorian era. The famous Sambor Prei Kuk, an ancient city that has about two hundred brick temples is located here in this province. The city was built during the time of King Isanavarman when he successfully united the territories of Chenla Kork and the Khmer water territory of Chenla Toek. Sambo Prei Kuk served as the capital of the Khmer Empire for many centuries. It is interesting to first visit Sambor Prei Kuk before visiting the splendid Angkor complex, as its design and style are the foundations that inspired the Angkor civilization.
Sambo Prei Kuh
Founded by King Isanavarman I during the seventh century, Sambo Prei Kuh was once the capital of Chenla known as Isanapura, and was a religious center dedicated to the worship of Shiva.Collectively, the complex consists of more than a hundred temples built of solid bricks, laterite and sandstone and from the remains. It is understood that several successions of kings have maintained this site as their capital, each time adding more temples and monuments to the capital city.
Andet temple, built in the Prei Kmeng style with one single brick tower, now nestles snugly alongside a modern Buddhist wat. This was built in the latter part of the seventh century under Jayavarman I.In the central group of temples, the decorative details of Prasat Tor (Lion temple) are similar in style to the ruins belonging to the period of king Jayavarman II of the ninth century.
Wat Kuhak Nokor
Wat Kuhak Nokor is an eleventh-century site with a collection of laterite and sandstone buildings in a well-maintained 200 square meters park surrounded by a large sandstone rampart 3 meters in height. Built during the reign of King Suryavarman I, the style is similar to the Tonlé Bati temple.Prasat Preah Tee-Uht Dubbed ‘Kampong Thom’s Leaning Tower of Pisa’ by the Adventure Cambodia travel guide, the prasat appears poised to tumble over at any minute. A single sandstone prasat with several fairly well preserved lintels (some on the ground, some still in place) display unique pre-Angkorian style carvings. Located in a schoolyard, about 7km east of Kampong Thom town and 3 km off Route #6. Not to find, but a nice scenic little trip through rural villages on the way in from the main road.
Home Stay in Baray District
In Kampong Thom, tourists can enjoy a real taste of life in rural Cambodia. The Khmer village home-stay tourism experience is a unique community-based program that captures the essence of village life in the heartland of Cambodia. Tourists can visit ethnic houses, ride on a bullock cart, watch farmers tap palm trees, learn silk weaving, and enjoy traditional dance performances.
Phnom Santuk Mountain
Phnom Santuk Mountain has many Buddha statues carved from great mountain rock including three big Buddha statues reaching Nirvana, each measure than 10-meter length. Phnom Santuk has changed names to Chorn Chong Kiri and Phnom Krop Tuk. Chan Chan Dare or Chan Chare are called two pieces of stone by local people that join all together in marked symbol and made in small hole. When the passenger arrived there, they always dropped cash coins (ancient coins) into this small hole.When cash coins are dropped in, it makes soft weak voice like a voice of the birds sing or music with happiness. So they did that since ancient period.Stone Handicraft located at Ka Kos Village, Ka Kos Commune, Santhuk District in 16-km distance from Provincial Town of Kampong Thom on National Road 6. The craftsmen take the rocks from the Santhuk mountain’s foot to make statues and various figures for house decoration. This stone handicraft is served for domestically and internationally target markets. Beside stone handicraft, Kampong Thom has other handicraft like Krama, Silk shirts, traditional khmer clothing and handbags.
Prey Pros is a natural and cultural site located at Prey Pros Village, Prey Preal Commune, Kampong Svay District in approximate 16-km distance northwest of Kampong Thom province. The site cover an area of 2 million square meters and includes a river which is rich in Domrei fish. The site is a venue for foot races, bicycle races, and other games during national festivals. In addition, there are several recreational activities such as boating, fishing and swimming, with resting cottage where food and drinks are sold. The view from Prey Pros is beautiful and enchanting, with wind blowing across the river cooling and refreshing visitors.
Bird Sanctuary of Boeng Tonle Chma
Boeng Chmar contains fishing lot 5 and lot 6, and is 30km far from Stoung District town of Kampong Thom Province, there were villages of Nesat, Kamong Kdei, Svay Kor, Mo Doung, Kampong Bradom and Msa Trang Tboung in Peam Bang Commune. The people living in this area with floating houses that are moving up and down according to the water levels in the jungle and flooded forest. The bird sanctuary of Boeng Chmar covers a land area of 400 hectares having an interconnecting network of water channels along the bank of Boeng Kla Lake, rich in flooded forests. This area is connected by two big river tributaries.
Lion temple group
Lion temple group comprise 18 temples with two ramparts closed to the pond. The reasons why the people called Lion Temple because on the tops of all stairs from the four directions, there were sitting lions with forelegs standing up, hind-legs humbling down, its head rose up and its mouth opened to the sanctuary. Now the pond is empty during the dry season.
Prasat Yeai Poeun Group
Prasat Yeai Poeun Group comprised a total of 22 sanctuaries (5 have octagonal shapes) with two wall rampart, and was built of brick, masonry, laterite and sandstone in rectangular from in 7th century (600-635) during the reign of Isanavarman I to dedicated to Shiva. They were built on a hill with Gopura from the eastern and western entrances joining to an outside laterite rampart. The inner rampart reached by gateways from the four directions and joined to the brick rampart carved in various clustering figures.
Prasat Kok Rokar (Preah Theat)
Prasat Kok Rokar is located in Rokar Phum, Srayov Commune, Stung Sen District, Kampong Thom province in a 14-km distance from Provincial Town of Kampong Thom. The temple was built of sandstone and laterite in Khleng style at the end of 11th century during the reign of king Suryavarman I to dedicate to Siva.This isolated sanctuary (dimension: 6m x 5m; 8m height) was built on the hill and faced to the east. The body of the central temple has conical form with porches opening to the east, and a door reached from the eastern entrance (three other doors were the false doors). The diamond column has octagonal forms, and the three lintels have various forms. Based on the study to the site, the sanctuary was formed in rectangular shape. The outside rampart has 25m x 25m size and Gopura from the four directions which jointed to the surrounding laterite rampart. Outside the rampart, there were likely moats surrounded as we saw some marks remain until now. In observation to the temple?s court, there were lintels and inscriptions available at the surrounding. The lintels has various style some in Sambor Prei Kuk, some in Prei Khmeng and some in Kulen style etc. This didn?t mean that the artists built the mixed styles.
According to the elderly resident there said that during the French colony in Cambodia, these ancient objects were brought from other temples to gather here in preparing to break into small parts that would then be used to pave the roads, but they didn?t construct the roads yet due to the war happened in the Country that why these ancient objects remained there.