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Siem Reap Kbal Spean
Location: 40 km north of Siem Reap
Price: Included in Temple Pass
Opening hours: daily, 05:00 - 15:00
Total visiting time: 2 hours including the uphill climb
Best time to visit: anytime, the light on the riverbed is best from late morning to mid afternoon. In raining season when the water level is high it can be difficult to see the carvings.
Kbal Spean is located 13km north of Banteay Srei north of the Angkor Archaeological Park in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Remok, car or motorbike drivers charge a few dollars supplement because of the longer distance. The entrance to Kbal Spean closes at 3pm.
(carvings in the river of 1000 lingas)
Coming from the main Angkor Archaeological Park entrance take a right at the T-junction in front of the Angkor Wat moat and follow the Grand Circuit. Take another right at Sras Srang, after passing Pre Rup turn right at the East Mebon. After 1.8 km towards the village of Phum Pradak turn left and follow the street for approx 20 minutes until you reach the parking of Banteay Srei Temple from where you follow the street to the right. Take another right turn at the T-junction. Look for the sign! The parking area is at the left hand side and it is quite easy to miss… Kbal Spean is located only 13km after Banteay Srei. From the parking area it will take an approx 30 to 40 minutes walk up the hill and through the forest.
(Siem Reap River)
Our tip: Combine Kbal Spean with a visit to Banteay Srei Temple, the Cambodian Landmine Museum and the Butterfly Center as it is all the same way. Also a visit of the ACCB, the Angkor Center for Conservation of Biodiversity is worthwhile. The ACCB is just located on the foot of Kbal Spean Mountain and offers daily free, guided tours.
(lingas in the Siem Reap River)
Date: 11th to 13th century, Reign: Rajendravarman II, Jayavarman V, Religion: Hindu, Buddhist
At Kbal Spean images of gods have been carved directly in the riverbed and amongst them you can see hundreds of stubby lingas arranged in rows. These in the riverbed carved lingas gave Kbal Spean the name ‘River of a Thousand Lingas’. A linga is a stylized image of a phallus representing the essence of the god Shiva. Also have a look at the carvings of Vishnu Reclining in the streambed!
(beautiful carvings of Vishnu)
You will find the rock-carved sculptures including the lingas within a 150meter stretch of the river between a natural stone bridge and a waterfall. Some of them have been washed away by rapids, others submerged in natural pools and you can also see carvings on rocks above the waterline.
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