The soul of Phnom Kulen

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It’s been a year and half since I live in Cambodia. A few weeks ago, I went for  two days in Kulen Mountains. Phnom Kulen (”Mountain of the Lychees”) is considered by Khmers to be the most sacred mountain in Cambodia. My obsessions were to meet the inhabitants, sleep in the Pagoda and visit the batcave. I was dreaming about it. We rent a motorbike to go there and we just took a blanket in case we could sleep. When I travel, I love improvisation and the feeling of freedom.

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Monks and Waterfall

It was a beautiful day with a generous sun. We swam in the waterfall surrounded by a lush vegetation. I was so impressed by the peaceful mood of the place. It sent shivers down my spine as I saw a ballet monks in the water. After few hours of serenity under the sun, we went at Wat Preah Ang Thom Pagoda, where an impressive reclining Statue of Buddha carved from rock rests in a tree.

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The reclining Buddha

We were lucky to have a stunning view on the lush jungle.

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Establishing contact with the inhabitants of the Pagoda was quite easy. As I know some words in Khmer, I asked if we could sleep in the Pagoda. We met a nice monk with an open heart and a generous soul. He told us that we had to ask the village’s policeman for a permission.

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Miraculously, we obtained the authorization to sleep one night with the protection of the policeman. We slept under an inner courtyard near the Pagoda with others persons. A mosquito net was generously made available by the nice monk. An inhabitant took me for a walk before the sunset and showed me the hidden treasures and the fascinating beauty of the forest:

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We ate in the inner courtyard with the other people and we had a short time of meditation. We played an interesting game of chess with my friend while we tried to avoid the flying insects.

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Lying on the floor, I was looking through the darkness when I saw some exquisite fireflies around us for the first time of my life. I was like a child seeing snow for the first time. The sky was clear and starlit, and sleep with the sounds of the forest was an amazing experience.

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We woke up early in the morning and had a soup for breakfast. A generous person proposed us to go with him by motorbike to visit the batcave and the lost city ”Sra Damrei”.

The batcave is quite narrow, humid and cold. Usually, the monks get together inside the cellar to pray.  We saw a big millipede on the ground and hundreds of bats from the ceiling. After climbing to the top of the viewpoint to contemplate the vastness of the forest , we went to the lost city ”Sra Damrei”.

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Courtesy of Daniele Oliveri.

That was just amazing and surprising. I realized how lucky we are that we have met such warm people. The journey was quite exhausting but full of emotions.

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He took me for a walk.

 

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