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Lbak Khaon (or Sophamith)


Cambodian children who have finished their ninth grade studies know well the geography lesson of the mighty waterfalls Lbak Khaon in the north of Cambodia. They know that this is an area where the Mekong River tumbles down 26m of tiered rock-faces at the border of Cambodia and Laos PDR. However, most have probably never had the opportunity to visit there.

In the rainy season, when the water levels of the river rise and rise to meet the top of the riverbank, the huge volume and speed of the falls create a spectacular blanket of mist; while in the dry season, when the water recedes, menacing sharp-edged rocks surface. The exposed area of the falls becomes a field of colorful rocks, of reds, blacks and whites.

Borey O’Svay

Borey O’Svay is located in O’Savy commune of Thala Borivath district and is one of the most popular ecotourism destinations for both local Cambodians and foreign tourists wishing to experience an authentic Khmer community.

The Borey O’Svay resembles an emerald gem rising up in the heart of a green, tropical forest lying along a mighty river. It serves as a peaceful preserve for wildlife, especially birds, and also serves as a major fish breeding area along the Mekong during the rainy season. There are also lots of dolphins which are very popular with the tourists.

A white sand beach presents itself along the river when the river contracts during the dry season. Many channels form, some of them fast and some of them slow flowing. The green mango forest can then be seen form the riverside along with some natural stone outcroppings.

Along this beautiful river beaches and stunning channels, it is often possible to find the foot prints of wild animals that have been browsing for food during the nights.

There are clear water rapids and a waterfall about five meters high. The rapids provide a wonderful, attractive place for everyone to bathe and swim.

Along the Mekong River in O’Svay commune, the Ramsa wetland conservation area is protected by law as a special breeding zone for spawning hundreds of special of fish, birds and other wildlife. Also included along the river are many kinds of trees, furnishing the area with a unique ecology.

The roads linking once village to another are under total evergreen canopy and cross streams and channels. This jungle area is preserved as a paradise for wildlife Trekkers and bikers can hear the natural music of songbirds and sometimes can spot other wildlife along these trails.

The O’Svay commune comprises 5 villages (O’Svay village, O’Run, Koh Phnov, Koh Hib, and voeun Sien village), covers over 120,000 hectares and includes four islands. It has population of 6,581 persons, 80% of whom are farmers and fishermen. The rest are local trade’s people along the border of Cambodia and Laos. O’Svay commune is located 57 kilometers by National Road No.7, and can be rich by Mekong River to the northwest of Stung Treng town.

Koh Hib and Thmo Sakseth (or Preah Sokhon)
During the rainy season, Koh Hib is one of the islands that seemingly float on the Mekong River along the Ramsa preservation area. Just opposite Borey O’Svay village, Koh Hib is one of Cambodia's many eco-tourist destination. There are many families living on the island today.

Koh Phnov, which means "island of Malabar orange", is located on the Mekong River in O’Svay commune. This island village was selected as an eco-tourism community because of its natural beauty during the dry season.

Mr. Kong Vuthy, Chief of O’Svay Communities Eco-Tourism said that Koh Phnov is unique during the dry season. It is surrounded by white sand beaches along the Mekong River while the eastern and western side of the island provides many rapids of clear water flowing over waterfalls.

“Along each small channel and its rapids, there is a green mango forest that is a paradise for many species of water birds, such as the metallic-green pigeon, the black cormorant, parrot, etc. For some time we have seen a group of vultures coming here for every dry season.” Vuthy said. Koh Phnov has approximately 95 families, 90 percent of whom are farmers and fishermen. This island is over 3 km long and about 1.5 km wide.

Anlong Neak & Anlong Seima
There are many legends and traditions related to a dragon along the upper Mekong of Stung Treng province. Here in O'Svay commune, there is one special area that people called 'Anlong Neak', which means the 'dragon's lot area' and is a very deep area in the Mekong. For generations, people living along the Mekong River in Ramsa area believe that there are a couple of dragons living here, due to some obscure evidence.

'Anlong Sema' is a restricted area for fishing of the Ramsa area of Cambodia only. People say "we usually do not allow fishing in this area or even driving a boat across it. The miracle of the 'Anglong Sema' area is that the western side of the river always flows from north to south while the eastern half of river always flows from the south to north. Because of this unique behavior, we believe that this area is holy and we don't allow boats to cross here. That is why we set up a reserve for both large and small fish to spawn here."

Preah Ko temple

Located in Thala Borivath commune, Preah Ko temple can be accessed by the confluence of the Se Kong and Mekong rivers. Preah Ko temple is an important historical site in Stung Treng province; it was built in the 6th-7th Centuries, during the reign of King Jayavarman I, in dedication to Brahmanism religion.

Preah Ko temple was built using only a few distinct materials, mostly red brick and sandstone. Today, what remains of this temple is the main tower and several temple ruins surrounding the main tower.

In front of the temple is a statue of Preah Ko (sacred cow). This is the main reason why younger Cambodians called this temple 'Preah Ko'.

At the eastern site of Preah Ko statue is a 10-square meter space for Viey Khel, a traditional folk game played annually before the Khmer New Year over a period of four days and three nights. Viey Khel is also played by the ethnic Kuoy minority in their annual festivals in some provinces in the Kingdom of Cambodia, such as Stung Treng, Kampong Thom and Preah Vihear province.

The Preah Ko temple site is located in Thala commune, Thala Borivath district, about two kilometers from the provincial town.

Preah Theat Temple

Located on a hill about 3 km. away from the outskirts of Stung Treng town, the Preah Theat temple is one of the most sacred places of worship for residents and visitors alike. As such, it is an important historical site in the province. This temple was built in the 6th century during the reign of King Jayavarman I.

The temple tower no longer remains but the foundation and stair steps demonstrate that it was a single tower temple. The Yoni half for the Yoni-Linga pair remains on the central part of this temple. This 'pair' is symbolic of the God representative to whom residents and visitors pray for good luck.

Recently, the Department of Culture and Fine Arts of Stung Treng province built a new wooden roof over the Preah Theat Temple construction area to protect it from the weather.

In front of the wooden building along the stairs and roadside, there are a few pieces of broken lintel. Even while broken, they retain their own unique beauty from the original architecture. These lintels are decorated by the head of Makara (a powerful sea-dragon), a horse, some flowers, as well as the icon of Brahman god Vishnu.

Preah Thea temple was built using mostly red brick and sandstone. The original size of the temple is similar in dimensions to the Preah Ko temple in Thala borivat district.

Brambei Lveng Temple

Just located in the jungle about 2 km. south of Preah Ko temple is another temple ruin called 'Brambei Lveng' temple which has been rapidly deteriorating for almost three decades, due to many years of war and neglect. These temple ruins were further damaged by nature and looting.

Today, there are a few beautiful lintels and bas-reliefs remaining. One beautiful lintel is decorated by the image of Rehoo; Rehoo is the God of Time in the believed of Khmer traditional and culture.

The Brambei Lveng temple is located in Thala commune, Thala Borivath district, six kilometer distance from the provincial town. The temple was built in the reign of King Jayavarman I, during the 6-7th century by King Jayavarman I, also in dedication to Brahmanism. Most of construction material is red brick and mixed some sandstone.

Ancient Pagodas of Stung Treng.

Both the Hang Kho Ba pagoda, which is over 300 years old, and the Hang Savat pagoda are of cultural and historical interest. The majority of the people there speak Lao. Steung Treng province, in which Hang Kho Ba resides, is famed for two local specialties - sweet tamarind fruit and Pa Si Y fish (Pava fish).

Hang Kho Ba pagoda is in Hang Kho commune of Steung Treng district. To get there, travel 6 kilometers on the airport road out of town, then turn left and cross the Se Kong River.