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  • Rick

A Different Excursion to Kbal Spean of Angkor

Updated: Feb 16, 2018

Kbal Spean River, or more commonly known as the "River of Thousand Lingas", was situated on the southwest slope of Phnom Kulen (or Kulen Hill), about 50Km from Siem Reap. Kbal Spean offered a different perspective from other temples with bas-refiefs and lingas found along its river banks and riverbed within a 200m stretch.

The first part of our journey from Siem Reap to Kbal Spean was travelling on a hot and dusty road in a tuk tuk. A mask and eye-wear to cover the nose, mouth and eyes were absolutely necessary. The tuk tuk also had its canvas rolled down to keep dust out but that turned the little carriage into an oven under the hot sun — it was either the heat or the dust.

It took us more than 2 hours to reach the entrance to Kbal Spean.

From the entrance, we took about 20 minutes to trek 1.5Km in the jungle to reach the river. We followed a well-worn and marked path through the jungle with a little uphill walk.

The bas-reliefs and lingas of Kbal Spean were craved on big boulders and littered along the river banks. Some were heavily eroded by nature, some coated with thick algae, and some had been preyed by robbers.

This was the biggest site with large number of bas-reliefs and lingas. It was the first sight that greeted visitors to Kbal Spean.

We were there during the dryer season of May. With lesser water flowing in the river, most of the