Phnom Krom is a hill which is located around 12km from Siem Reap. At the top of the hill is Prasat Phnom Krom which is a Hindu shrine built in the 9th century by King Yasovarman. The temple was dedicated to three Hindu gods, Vishnu, Brahma and Shiva.
The view from the top is stunning and you can see for miles around. You can climb the stairs to the top of the rocky mountain, explore the three shrines, and watch the sunset over the Tonle Sap Lake.
Few people take the time to visit Phnom Krom, but it’s really worth a visit if you have the time. You can see a stunning sunset and avoid the crowds watching the sun go down at Phnom Bakheng.
889-910 AD (Late 9th - Early 10th century AD)
Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma
Late Afternoon for Sunset
1 - 2 hours
Phnom Krom is located about 10km south of Siem Reap town along the Road 63 which leads to the Tonle Sap Lake. To see the temple at the top, you’ll have to walk up a long set of stairs to the top of the 140m mountain.
Phnom Krom is easily accessible as the road is very good. You might want to take a bicycle and take in the beautiful scenery along the way. You’ll see local villages and some really untouched parts of the Cambodian countryside. The whole area turns green in the rainy season and it’s a wonderful time of year to visit.
Along the way, there are also many local restaurants where you can stop and get some local food.
You can also arrange a tuk tuk or taxi to take you there and back. The prices won’t be too expensive as it’s not a long way from town.
When you reach the foot of the hill, there are some lovely small villages around. You can really get the feeling that you’re off the beaten track here. So take the time to have a look around and explore.
Siem Reap: 11.7km
Angkor Wat: 20.8km
Tonle Sap: 5.4km
Wat Athvear: 6.8km
If you’re looking to visit Phnom Krom, then you’ll need a temple pass. As it’s in the opposite direction as the main temples, you might want to visit it later in the afternoon. This is also the best time to visit as you can see the sunset.
You might want to visit Phnom Krom in conjunction with Chong Kneas floating village or stop by Wat Ahvea along the way.
It’s also nice to explore the surrounding countryside and visit one of the local restaurants. The whole area is particularly nice in the wet season.
You won’t find much in the way of accommodation in the immediate area around Phnom Krom. However, along the road from Siem Reap there are many resorts and hotels. You can stay a few kilometres out of the town in a very beautiful part of Siem Reap.
Along the road from Wat Athvea to Phmom Krom there are some boutique villas and eco-resorts.
Why Visit Phnom Krom?
You should visit Phnom Krom to see the sunset over the Tonle Sap Lake. If you like climbing mountains (or rather walking up steps to the top of a tall hill), then this would be a great place to visit.
It’s also rarely visited by tourists and you can really feel that you’re off the beaten track, especially if you get out and into the surrounding countryside.
Prasat Phnom Krom was built by King Yasovarman I in the late 9th century. The king built temples on each of the three hills which can be seen from the plain of Angkor – Phnom Krom, Phnom Bok and Phnom Bakheng. This particular temple is actually three separate shrines which were individually dedicated to the Hindu gods Shiva (southern tower), Brahma (central tower) and Vishnu (northern tower).
Little is known about this temple because the sandstone has severely weathered over the the centuries and can no longer been seen. The structures were subject to the strong winds coming from the Tonle Sap lake and this has eroded the relatively soft sandstone from which they were built.
No real restoration has been completed in the area other than making it safe for visitors.
Layout and Design
Prasat Phnom Krom was built in a square shape with three towers built in a row along the north-south axis. The tops of each shrine has collapsed and any carvings have long since disappeared. The towers all have entrances facing to the east and west. The other two sides have fake doors. There is evidence here that the shrines were originally very ornate with carvings and inscriptions.
The terrace around the bases of the towers provides for a panoramic view of the plains and the Tonle Sap Lake.
There would have been a wall enclosing the towers and originally there were three long halls. Both of which are no longer there and only the bases can be seen. Moreover, there were also four small buildings. Two were made from brick and two from sandstone. It’s believed that these structures were used as crematoriums.
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