ISANBOREI COMMUNITY TOURISM
Explore Cambodian Angkorian time temples and visit local communities
“This site is not as well known as other Ankorian era archeological sites in Cambodia, therefore you have the chance to just wander through Isanborei site almost undisturbed… being left to enjoy the magic.”Recommendation from the CamConsious Team
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I had a good experience in Isanborei community based ecotourism. I spent one night there and slept at the house family, we got a proper bed and the bathroom was very clean but Cambodia, so you have to wash you with a plastic bucket; It is a part of the Cambodian rural life.
The homestays are 1-2 km from the temples, so I rented a bicycle to get there. The temples are nice but in 2-3 hours, you can a great overview. There is at the moment, not so many activities but the community tries to develop them.
Sambor Prei Kuk (SPK) is one of the main tourist attractions in Kampong Thom. The Sambor Prei Kuk Conservation and Development Community has 600 members in 7 villages. The untouched and overgrown temples of Sambor Prei Kuk are a unique pre-Angkorian attraction located only 30 km north of the provincial town of Kampong Thom. The main attractions of Sambor Prei Kuk are the temple ruins of Isanapura (Isanborei), located in an area of 1 x 5 kilometers. The temples that were added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List in 1992, attract an estimated 20,000 Cambodian and 5,000 international tourists each year.
- 1-3 bedrooms in a traditional house with bed, mattress, mosquito net, cotton sheets, blankets, pillows
- Western or local style toilet and shower
- Electricity 24/7
- Provides drinking water,
- Parking: car, van, motorcycle
LOCAL AREA & ACTIVITIES
The ruins of Sambor Prei Kuk are the main attraction of Sambor district but not the only ones. Visitors will certainly enjoy the temples but there is more to explore. Sambor district has beautiful rural countryside and the lifestyle is very traditional. Visitors have the opportunity to be part of the local daily life for a day or for a couple of days. You can stay with families, cycle over pretty rural roads through villages, enjoy authentic Cambodian food at unique locations, try your hand at various handicrafts, learn to cook Cambodian food, practice traditional Cambodian dance and much more. Above all you will enjoy the unique hospitality of the local population.
GETTING THERE & TRANSPORT
This site is easily accessible. Kampong Thom is on the main road form Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, being serviced by large number of bus companies and VIP minibuses. Ask the driver to drop you off in front of the Arunras Hotel and Restaurant. Front of the hotel, there are several motodups and tuk tuks waiting to take you to the community and the ruins of Sambor Prei Kuk. The project can also organise transport for you, if you let them know a day before.
NOT TO BE MISSED
The key attraction of this location is the Sambor Prei Kuk archeological site. Today, you can see 52 big and small temples and related structures in Sambor Prei Kuk, all in fairly good condition. A similar number are fallen and buried in the ground. Sambor Prei Kuk sanctuaries were built of brick and limestone with decorations of bas-relief on the walls. The foundation of the temples were mostly made of laterite, with gateways, lintels, false doors, diamond columns and the sculptures mostly being made of sandstone.
2-3 DAYS STAY
If you are planning to stay in the area for several days, try to relax and enjoy the local community and their lifestyle… when you get itchy feet there is plenty to do:
- Various bicycle itineraries have been developed around Sambor Prei Kuk.
- Handicrafts – Kampong Thom province is famous for its handicrafts. Basket weaving, silk weaving and stone carving are just a few of the handicrafts you can observe in the villages.
- Stone Carving – Over 20 entrepreneurs from the villages make a living with producing stone statues. Visit this village to explore how the villagers carve Buddha statues from heavy sandstone with their bare hands.
- Silk Farming – Visit this village to explore traditional silk weaving and the raising of silk worms.
- Cooking – Isanborei offers a full day cooking class for lovers of Cambodian cuisine.