Set in the jungle to the northeast of Angkor, Kbal Spean is the famous river of a 1,000 lingas at Phnom Kulen. These lingas (phallic symbols) were evidently carved into the bedrock of the river so they could ‘fertilize’ the waters flowing to the fields of Angkor. There are also carvings of Buddha and Buddhist images in the rocks that were carved at a later date than the lingas.
What to see
Following the river down, there are several more impressive carvings of Vishnu, and Shiva with his consort Uma, and further downstream hundreds of lingas appear on the riverbed. At the top of the waterfall are many animal images, including a cow and a frog, and a path winds around the boulders to a wooden staircase leading down to the base of the falls.
Kbal Spean is about 50km northeast of Siem Reap or about 18km beyond the temple of Banteay Srei. The road is now excellent, as it forms part of the new road north to Anlong Veng and the Thai border, so it takes just one hour or so from town. There are food stalls at the bottom of the hill that can cook up fried rice or a noodle soup, or the fancier, excellent Borey Sovann Restaurant, located near the entrance.
Moto drivers will no doubt want a bit of extra money to take you here, such as US$15 or so for the day, including a trip to Banteay Srei. Likewise, remork-moto drivers will probably up the price to US$25 or so. A surcharge is also levied to come out here by car. Admission to Kbal Spean is included in the general Angkor pass; the last entry to the site is at 3.30pm.