Udong Stupas – Intriguing Burial Sites

After the rain

Leaving Phnom Penh – locals hoping for a bite!

Ancient Stupas

Today we are leaving Phnom Penh for good. It has been our base for the first five days of our tour through Cambodia with Wendy Wu tours. The heavy monsoon rain of the previous day has eased.  We head north to Battambang this morning with a stop to see the ancient Stupas  at Udong (Oudong), the former royal capital  of Cambodia in the 17th Century. Udong is in  Kampong Speu Province.


Ancient Stupa at Udong

  Royal Capital on the move

The royal capital of Cambodia moved to Longvek after the sacking of Angkor by the Siamese in 1431, then in 1593 the Siamese King Naresuan conquered Longvek. The fall of Angkor  and Longvek marked a period of decline in the kingdom’s fortunes and Cambodia became  caught up in a power struggle between its two powerful neighbors, Siam (now Thailand) and Vietnam. The Cambodian King, Srei Sorvyapor, abandoned Longvek and chose Udong as the new royal capital  in 1601. The new royal capital known as “Oudong Meanchey” from 1618 until 1866, became home to a number of Cambodian Kings who followed King Srei Sorvyapor.  King Norodom ruled as King of Cambodia  from 1860 to 1904; he abandoned Udong in 1866 and moved the royal capital to Phnom Penh. During 1977 the  Khmer Rouge badly damaged the former capital of “Oudong Meanchey”, destroying and damaging many of its temples and structures. The Stupas on Phnom Udong are the burial sites of the deceased Cambodian Kings.


Ancient Stupa Phnom Udong

Summit of Phnom Udong

Be prepared, another 500 steps awaits, worth the climb, definitely yes! Actually this climb isn’t as steep as some, wide steps,leafy shade, gradual grading all the way up. There were a few young people at the bottom of the steps waiting to tell you the history of the Stupas and walk you to the top. We had our own tour guide of course, so this was an optional extra. Hard to say “no” to these earnest young people and for a couple of dollars it was worth it to say ‘yes’.  I spoke with a boy named Samonith, (he said his name means lucky). He has an enormous grasp on the history of the Khmer empire and spoke fairly good English, really interesting to talk with. He earns money acting as a guide at Udong Stupas, so he can have private lessons to improve his English.


Phnom Udong-ancient Stupa Elephant detail

Ancient Stupa - former royal capital of Udong

Ancient Stupa decorated with colored tiles, Udong 17th Century royal capital of Cambodia.


Final Resting place of Cambodian Kings

The ancient Stupas hold the ashes of the former kings of Cambodia, the different Stupas are all intriguing,  being from different decades. The latest  addition below, quite spectacular.This Stupa completed in 2002, said to contain a sacred relic of the Buddha, believed to be an eyebrow hair and fragments of teeth and bones.


Stunning Stupa on Summit of Phnom Udong


Golden doors of Stupa – Udong Stupas

The view from the summit of Phnom Udong over the plateau below is outstanding, the Buddhist monastery gleams in shimmering shades of warm orange against the bright green of the plains and  forest trees.


In the other direction, the flood planes clearly showing evidence of the heavy rains that had fallen over the past few days.Between the ancient Stupas and magnificent view, certainly worth a visit to Udong.


View over the flood plains from Phnom Udong

Next a visit to Kompong Chhnang Province to see traditional handmade pottery. 

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  1. Thankyou for your comments and Info. I visited Cambodia for two weeks and did not hear Meak Bochea mentioned.Too busy visiting the wonderful temples and absorbing the people, their history and culture. I would love to visit again. Thnx.


  1. […] sich Reliquien von Buddha. Manche Quellen sagen es sei Asche, andere wiederum berichten von einem Augenbrauen-Haar, Zahnfragmenten und Knochen. Das Foto hier stammt von meiner Freundin Plony […]

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