Start early and head off towards Preah Vihear Province – the road is good and the drive should take about 3-4 hours. On the way stop for a short visit to Trapaeng Prasat Temple which offers an excellent view of the Preah Vihear mountain.
Upon arrival at the foot of Preah Vihear it is necessary to transfer into the back of a pick-up truck (operated by the local community) for the climb up the spectacularly steep mountain road.
On arrival at Preah Vihear Temple you will be rewarded with fabulous views over Cambodia’s and Thailand’s fertile plains from the impressive ruins which stretch for 500 meters up. The sanctuary is perched on the edge of the cliffs with amazing views over the seemingly endless Cambodian jungle to the south. The temple is not yet restored but has spectacular carvings and lintels which are almost as splendid as those at Banteay Srei. The temple is known to have been dedicated to the god Shiva and thought to have been constructed in the reign of Suryavarman I (1002-50), with further significant additions by Suryavarman II (1113-50). The spectacular location paired with a unique temple design are the reason UNESCO enlisted Preah Vihear as a World Heritage Site.
Enjoy a packed lunch box near the temple before descending the mountain.
Stop on the way back to Siem Reap at Anlong Veng. This remote area was the place some of the most notorious and brutal Khmer Rouge leaders hid until capture, death or sometimes assimilation into the ruling government. Your guide will be able to take to you see Ta Mok’s House (the so called ‘Brother Number 5’ of the Khmer Rouge) and his grave where local residents still pay their respects today. Last, but certainly not least, the last home of Pol Pot can be visited. The leader and driver of the genocide of millions of Khmer people was hastily cremated in 1998 in an unbefitting, primitive site close to the border. There is little to see at his former residence but more telling are the stories your guide can explain about life under his regime and how he was able to hide so long in Anlong Veng.
Continue on to Siem Reap where you should arrive at your hotel early evening.