Phnom Santuk



Phnom Santuk

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Rising to a height of 679 ft (207 m) above lush paddy fields, Phnom Santuk is the most sacred mountain in Kompong Thom province. It is approached via a stone pathway of 809 steps, flanked by gaudily rendered statues, and a number of fairly insistent beggars. Alternatively, visitors can drive up a steep road that snakes through thick jungle and past a resident colony of macaques. The complex at the summit has a gilded, white-walled central temple. A number of Buddha statues have been carved into the rock face, including a few Reclining Buddhas, all of which are over 33 ft (10 m) in length. Various interconnecting cement bridges between small shrines, statues of horses and deities, and a sculpture workshop add to the appeal of the place. There is also an active monastery whose friendly monks  like to chat with visitors. The views from the summit are stupendous and are a welcome change from the infinite flatness of the lush rice plains. It is recommended that visitors take regular breaks and carry plenty of water should they decide to walk up the road.

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