Cambodia: Preah Vihear

The UNESCO World Heritage site of Preah Vihear lies in the very north of Cambodia on the border with Thailand. The Hindu temple dates back to the 10-11th centuries AD. It is the location of this massive complex that is the most stunning – Preah Vihear is situated on a plateau of the Dangeek Mountains on a steep cliff – 525-metre (1,722 ft) high – with vertical dropoffs and panoramic views that are just surreal. Getting to the temple is an adventure, you have to leave your car at the bottom and ride on a motorcycle up a twisting and harrowing switchback road up to the plateau. From there, it’s quite a long way uphill along a massive cobblestone road and through many entrance gates and corridors – various sanctuaries and gopuras (entrance pavilions), all richly decorated and carved. The main temple structures are located at the highest point of the plateau and there are sheer dropouts and insane panorama in all directions – the most spectacular setting and views of any temple in Cambodia and beyond! Interestingly, Cambodia and Thailand almost went to war over the temple and the issue who it belongs to – the official treaty from 1904 put it in Thailand, but a map from 1907 issued by French in Cambodia placed the temple in Cambodia. Thailand occupied the temple in 1954, and the newly independent Cambodia sued in the International Court. The Court ruled 7 to 5 that the temple belonged to Cambodia since Thailand didn’t object to the map being wrong for 50+ years – Under the legal principle “Qui tacet concentire videtur si loqui devuisset ac patuisset” (“he who is silent is taken to agree”).