Phnom Koulen National Park

Phnom Koulen sits on a southerly extension of the Dangrek Mountains. The hill, combined with those around it, served as quarry sites that were used in the construction of Angkor. It’s a scenic and quiet area, with tree-covered hills stretching out into the distance and no development in sight. There is also a nice waterfall and picnic area near the top and some temple ruins just upstream from the top of the waterfall. There are also some ancient inscription (and some not so ancient) that were carved in the rock that the top of the waterfall.
There are a couple of tiers to the waterfall area, with the main fall being about 11 meters high. Unfortunately, someone has been given exclusive rights to privately develop this national resource and the guy apparently really wants to raise some revenue. Just where this revenue is going to go is another matter. He has set an entrance fee charge of US$ 20 (you read that correctly!) for a foreigner to ride up (your transportation) and see the waterfall, which is about 10 km from the ticket checkpoint area. If you wish to walk instead of ride a motorcycle, they drop the fee to US$10.
The guys that run the entry booth here are trained to say that the high fee is due to the road that was constructed. This site should not be visited until someone has a very big change of heart. Going their will only support the scam and may have some spillover effects in other parts of the country. Cambodians are also very upset as they are charged 5,000 riel per person and 20,000 riel for a car to go see one of their natural resources. The vast majority can’t afford to go. You take the road that goes past Banteay Srei for most of the way, so you could combine the two trips, which I did. To get to the two sites, just head out from the main ticket gate and turn right at the first T. Follow this road around the perimeter and when you see a small abandoned guard shack on your left, turn right-don’t continue straight. You will then come upon two separate forks in the road and you go to the left at the first one and to the right at the second one. Follow this same road (don’t turn off it) about 9 km to the Phnom Koulen ticket booth, and it’s about a twenty-five minute journey from there to the waterfalls. Not turning at the second ford would have landed you at Banteay Srei Temple, which is about 4 km from the fork.

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