An archeological site that follows a natural riverbed, Kbal Spean is also known as the River of a Thousand Lingas, a reference to the phallic carvings found in the art here. The carvings are accessible on a 1.25-mile (2-kilometer) walk through the forest that ends at a small waterfall. Kbal Spean extends into Phnom Kulen National Park but it’s considered part of the Angkor Temple Complex and you’ll need tickets to access the site.
Things to know before you go
- Bring sturdy walking shoes for the trail, which can be muddy after rain.
- While tuk tuk drivers will gladly shuttle you to Kbal Spean, many travelers find it's a more comfortable trip in an enclosed car or tour vehicle.
- Since Banteay Srei is on the road to Kbal Spean, combining the sites saves both time and money.
How to get there
Kbal Spean is located on Route 67, 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Siem Reap; it’s directly adjacent to Phnom Kulen National Park. To get here, join a tour or hire a driver for the day. Many travelers combine a visit to Kbal Spean with Banteay Srei, Phnom Kulen National Park, and the Angkor Centre for the Conservation of Biodiversity. When hiring a taxi or tuk tuk, be sure to negotiate the time you’ll have at each stop.
When to get there
While hours vary, drivers and guides generally have up-to-date information. Note that the entrance to the trail is cut off around 3.30 pm, before the site itself closes. During the rainy season (May through November), carvings may be partially obscured; dry weather exposes all the carvings but can reduce the pretty stream to a trickle. For the best water levels, visit between July and November.
Where to Eat and Drink Near Kbal Spean
Just down the hill from the entrance to Kbal Spean is a cluster of food stalls and even a small restaurant, which make a great stop on your way to the archeological site. It’s worth bringing a bottle of water with you for the hike, since there’s nowhere to buy drinks once you leave the trailhead.