Phnom Udong is located about 40 km north from Phnom Penh, it was the ancient capital of Cambodia from A.D. 1618 to 1866.
Called also Udong, the city has been sacked by the Thais, bombed by the Americans and ruined by the Khmer Rouge.
Despite this history, despite the 509 stairs, the attraction here is not just the amazing Khmer temple but also the breathtaking view all over the country.
During your days in Phnom Penh a visit here is a must.
Following the road to Battambang there are two hills on the left side of the road with the distinct shapes of the dominating stupas and shrines in a variety of conditions.
Unfortunately almost all of the buildings that were not previously bombed by the Americans during the Vietnam War have been destroyed later by Khmer Rouge in ’70s.
If you start your visit in Phnom Udong at the northern end of the hill and climb the hill stairway by 509 steps which will lead you to the newest addition to Phnom Udong: a modern temple home to a famous Buddha relic previously housed in a shrine in Phnom.
This temple is a recent construction, but the panoramic sight from this location is spectacular.
From there you can take a path along the Phnom Udong’s ridge allowing you to visit each of the sites and the three stupas for former kings.
The first one houses the remains of King Soryopor, the second one is inhabited by the corpse of King Norodom’s father King Ang Duong with four faces at the top. South again lies Chedi Mouk Pruhm, a bland concrete building holding the remains of King Monivong. Next come a series of small chapel-like temples, one holding a replica of a statue of a holy cow.
The original statue was lead off by the Siamese after they sacked Phnom Udong and taken to Siam.
At the base of the ridge is a memorial to victims of Pol Pot, containing the bones of people buried in mass graves found in the area.
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