The Kulen Mountain is declared as a National Park. It is about 48km from Siem Reap. Its highest point is 487 meters. This is widely regarded as the birthplace of the ancient Khmer Empire. During the constructional period of the ancient temples in the nineth century, sand stones were brought from this sacred mountain to Angkor. It was here at Phnom Kulen that King Jayavarman II proclaimed independence from Java in 802 A.D. The site is known for its carvings representing fertility and its waters hold special significance to the people of Cambodia. Just a few inches under the surface of the water, over 1000 carvings of Yoni and Linga are etched into the sandstone riverbed. The waters are regarded as holy, given the sacred carvings which also include a stone representation of the Hindu god Vishnu lying on his serpent.
Phnom Kulen – Mountain of Lychees – is about 48 kilometers in the North from Siem Reap and the holy mountain where King Jayavarman II proclaimed independence from Java in 802 as well as the Angkorian Empire. This mountain plateau served as the capital of the first Khmer Empire for more than half a century before it moved to Roluos.
About 20 minor temples are found around the plateau, including Rorng Chen temple, the first pyramid built by an Angkorian King, but many of them are difficult to reach. Most of the places can only reached by car or by foot. This site is also on the list of the UNESCO World heritage. Nothing can be more refreshing than the Phnom Kulen waterfalls to cool off after a long hot day. The first waterfall is about 4-6 meters tall and 15-20 meters wide (depending on the season) and the second waterfall, hidden in a beautiful jungle scenery is 15-20 meters long and 8-10 meters wide (depending on the season).