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Phnom Kulen, some 60 kilometers from Siem Reap, attracts locals to make the pilgrimage to pray at this holy site. While the $20 road toll/per person is charged to all that go up by car is off-putting to many western visitors, Phnom Kulen offers another sight to visit for those who have already seen the temples at Angkor and the town of Siem Reap. There are three interesting things to see. First, you will find an interesting active pagoda with a large reclining buddha (the buddha's head is on the right side, which is a rarity!), good to stop in for a quick prayer. Second thing is some waterfalls and places to picnic (unfortunately a lot of litter is left behind by locals who choose not to bring their trash home with them), and there are stands set up vending grilled chicken and other local foods. Another place worth mentioning is carvings of 1000 siva lingas - many siva lingas (male genital of Hindu gods) and yoni (female counterpart) are carved on to the bed rock of the river. It can be seen when water in the river is shallow and not cloudy (avoid rainy season). This is the origination of Siem Reap river and because of lingas and yoni, water is considered fertile and good for crops. Rocks for giant Angkor Wat and other temples are extracted from this region.
If you are planning a visit to Phnom Kuleen just be aware that a 'contra flow' is in operation on the road. It is a single lane road and traffic is allowed UP ONLY between dawn and 12 noon and DOWN ONLY between 1.00pm (13.00) and dark.