Ta Keo Province

Phnom Ta Mao (Zoo) is located in Tro Pang Sap village, Tro Pang Sap commune, Ba Ti District, Takeo province. Phnom Tamao can be accessible by the National Road No 2 in 40-kilometre distance from Phnom Penh. Then turning right more five kilometers by a trail, it takes 45-minute drive from Phnom Penh. Phnom Ta Mao is a varied site consisting of temples, mountain, nature and a big zoo in Cambodia. Phnom Ta Mao has 2,500-hectar land area called forest-protected area; in this area, the Department of Forestry has taken 1,200-hectar land area for planning trees and 70-hectar land area for organizing zoo.

The 70-hectar landarea consisting of five mountains namely: Phnom Ta Mao, Phnom Thmor Dos, Phnom Phdan Poan, Phnom Chhoy and Phnom Bang. Among the five mountains, two mountains have ancient temples are: - Ta Mao Temple (is located at Phnom Ta Mao): was built in 11th century during the reign of the king, Soryak Varman I dedicated to Brahmanism, the temple made of Thmor silt and red-solid brick, located on the peak of 30-meter mountain of Ta Mao, near Ta Mao pagoda. Now, the temple is damaged and is almost unrecognizable. - Thmor Dos Temple (is located at Phnom Thmor Dos): The temple is located on a 35-meter mountain of Thmor Dos, Northwest of Ta Mao temple and was built in 11th century.

The temple made of Thmor silt mad red-solid brick. Now, most of the temples are damaged. The people want to go to this temple to worship than Ta Mao temple. In addition, Phnom Ta Mao has a big zoo in Cambodia; the zoo is under the supervision of the Department of Forestry, Ministry of Agriculture and has 84 varieties of animals and birds; two kinds of them are brought from abroad. - There are 150-fourfooted animals consisting of 38 kinds. - There are 300 birds consisting of 38 kinds. - There are 30 reptiles consisting of eight kinds. All these animals are brought here by the Ministry of Agriculture and by seizing from offenders who illegally traffic in wild animals through out Cambodia. To take care these animals, we need to expend US$ 120 per day for food, and 22 staff and workers are working there.

The average number of tourists visiting Phnom Ta Mao is 500-600 visitors per week; but during the festivals, there are 7,000-8,000 visitors per week. The local people of four communes around the Phnom Ta Mao are earning money from selling food to tourists. We can extend package-tour program to the above two resorts because these resorts are the popular sites for local and international tourists, and their location is near Phnom Penh. As the sites can attract many tourists, we expect to lure investors to invest in tourist facilitation and constructing the trail from the national Road No 2 to the resorts. The Department of Forestry has a project on constructing an inside trail linking from Tonle Ba Ti to Phnom Ta Mao in Six-Kilometre distance.

Phnom Ta Mao (Zoo) - Takeo

Museum, Takeo is located in the Ang Kor Bo Rey District. It is the only museum in the province and was built by the EU organization. The Museum, Takeo  is repository of many ancient items and relics of Phnom Da in 16th century. While researchers are intrigued by the display, the tourists are inquisitive and admire these exhibited objects. In recent years the Museum at Takeo has been quite a crowd puller.

It was mandatory that the oldest province in Cambodia, Takeo has a museum. This is because out of the 22 provinces, Takeo has an ancient history and has been home to many settlers. Beginning from the Anachak Phnom period and extending upto the Chenla era, Takeo is now the favorite haunt of tourists. The intention of most of the tourists is to explore the province's history. Takeo province has 34 ancient temples and all of these are heritage spots. It is obvious that the region will have many relics that needed to be preserved. The Museum, Takeo serves the purpose of preserving the relics.

Museum - Takeo

Phnom Ta Mao is located in Tropiang Sap Villag, Tropiang Sap commune, Bati district, about 40 kilometers south of Phnom Penh, off National Road No. 2. Turn right at the sign and travel another 5 kilometers down a dirt trail. The site features mountains, the biggest national zoo and ancient temples. There are five mountains at this site - Phnom Tamao, Phnom Thma Dos, Phnom Pdaov Pun, Phnom Chhoy and Phnom Bang. The entire site covers 2,500 hectares, most of it is the protected forest area. The Ministry of Agriculture's Department of Foresty has taken over 1,200 hectares for planting trees and the zoo.

Phnom Ta Mao National Zoo covers 70 hectares and is under the supervision of the department. It features 84 varieties of birds, quadrupeds and reptiles. The animals, which include alligators, elephants, lions, tigers and bears, were collected by the Ministry of Agriculture. Some were recovered from people illegally trafficking wildlife in Cambodia.

The two ancient temples of Phnom Tamao are:

.Tamao Temple (Phnom Tamao)

Tamao temple was built in 11th century, during the reign of King Suryavarman I and Udayadityavarman II (AD 1050 - 1066) as a place for Brahmans to worship. Tamao Temple was made of silt stone and red solid brick, but is now nearly unrecognizable. The temple is located near Tamao pagoda on the top of Phnom Tamao, which is about 30 meters high.

.Thma Dos Temple (Phnom Thma Dos)

Thma Dos Temple is nothwest of Phnom Tamao on the 35 meter-high Phnom Thma Dos. The temple was built in the 11th century and is constructed of silt stone and red solid brick. Much of the temple is 7.5 meters squar and 13 meters high. Its design is adapted from Khliang style. This temple is more popular with visitors than Tamao temple.

Phnom Tamao

Phnom Da is located in Prek Ta Phor village, Kork Thalork commune, Angkor Borei district, about 24 kilometers east of Takeo provincial town by water canal or about 102 kilometers south of Phnom Penh by the road. This part of the country is flooded six months of the year, during the rainy
season, and dry the rest of the year.Phnom Da is a cultural, historical site that has been renovated to provide visitors a place to relax or research Cambodian history. The scenery is beautiful all year. In the rainy season, there is a vast water basin that produces lush, green rice paddies during the dry season.

Phnom Da temple was built on the top of a small hill in 6th century by King Rutravarman, who reigned during the Norkor Phnom period, according to the French historian Mibreno. The temple is 12 meters square and 18 meters high. It was constructed of laterite, brick and sandstone. A Brahman temple, it faces north towards Norkor Kork Thalork, which was the capital of Nokor Phnom at the time the temple was built. There is no rampart.

The temple's peak is damaged, and a sculpture depicting the story of Churning of the Ocean of Milk(Cambodian calls Ko Samutra Teuk Dos) has been broken into two parts. A lintel illustrates the figure of sleeping Vishnu. There are false doors on three sides and a real door that opens on the north side.

In the flank of the hill are five man-made caves that reflect the style of Phnom Da, which is similar to India style. In each cave, there is a Shiva lingam and Uma yoni, objects that Brahmans worship. During the Pol Pot regime, between 1975 and 1979, the caves were used as cremation places by the Khmer Rouge.

About 300 meters southwest of the temple is another smaller temple known as Asrom Moha Eysei. Built at the end of the 6th century in Zhenla Period, during the reign of King Pavavarman I, the temple has five windows and two doors. It is 5.5 meters square and 7 meters high, it is built in the
Indian style and features a double wall of basalt that faces north.In 1992, a number of clergymen and nuns built a pagoda south of the hill. It is called Phnom Da pagoda.Nearly three decades of war have left the road from Phnom Chiso to Angkor Borei district in poor condition; during the rainy season, flooding makes it impassable. Nevertheless, the site attracts foreign tourists and many Cambodians interested in researching Cambodian history during the Koh

Kork Thlork Period.After 1979, the Takeo provincial authority constructed a canal, Canal 15, which links Takeo provincial town to Angkor Borei district. This has made access easier since the road between Angkor Borei and Phnom Da is still difficult to travel, especially during the rainy season, when it floods.

Phnom Da - Takeo

Phnom Bayang is located in Por Rorng village, Preah Bat Choan Chum commune, Kirivong district, about 43 kilometers south of Takeo provincial town or about 121 kilometers south of Phnom Penh. From Phnom Penh, take National Road 2 via Bati, Sam Rong, Daun Keo and Trang districts.

Bayang temple was built between AD 615 and 635 by King Pavavarman II on the top of Phnom Bayong, a 313-meterhigh mountain. Its diameter is 13 meters by 9 meters and it is 12 meters high. Constructed of laterite, brick and other stones, it is heavily damaged. Pieces of the temple litter the
ground; the roof has collapsed, and the laterite rampart has been damaged.Bayang temple is a historical site that attracts both foreigners and Cambodians doing research about their ancestors. The road to the mountain, however, is old and difficult to access in the thick forest. The temple is reachable by climbing 390 steps. In addition to Bayang, there are four other temples on the mountain-Preah Kor temple, North Kanang temple, East Kanang temple and Kampoul Kanang temple. All are for Brahman worship and contain a Silva lingam.

Visitors to the site will come to understand how Cambodian history and culture was influenced by the outside world. Because without access to the mountain, however, the only people who will visit the site are researchers studying Cambodian history.In Kirivong District, there is a stream, Pha Oak, which flows 1,000 meters from its source to where people congregate to swim or bathe. The stream is 6 meters wide during the rainy season and 2 meters wide during the dry season. The sound of the water falling from the mountaintop is almost musical, and the scenery is beautiful.

Phnom Ba Yong - Takeo

Tonle Bati is a popular lake and picnic area that has bamboo shacks built out over the water that people can rent out for eating and whiling away the day. It's generally a weekend get-away spot, which means it?s nice and quiet during the week. Locals swim there, but the water does not look real inviting. There are all kinds of food and drink stands that sell everything you need for a picnic along the lake. Note that there are tours that follow you when you arrive on weekends and try to get you to go to their own place. It?s best to pass right by them and find a spot on your own. Check prices beforehand on everything ? they are famous for handing you an outrageously high bill when you depart.Tonle Bati is a place of worship and features two ancient temples, Ta Promh and Yeay Peov, and a pagoda, Wat Tonle Bati, which was built in 1576.

Tonle Bati - Takeo

Ta Prohm at Takeo was built about 1200 by Angkor's famous king Jayavarman VII. That Mahayana Buddhist period in Cambodia's history of art is called Bayon style. Like Ta Prohm in Angkor, the Ta Prohm temple at Tonle Bati was a sanctuary for Hindu deities at the same time. The site had been a Hindu place of worship already since the sixth century, in the pre-Angkorian Phnom-Da period, belonging to the maritime "empire" called Funan.

The temple structure is mainly constructed of brick and laterite. The inner (first) enclosure of Ta Prohm in Takeo Province is 42 m long and 36 m wide. The wall was decorated with bas-reliefs illustrating Hindu myths, some of them are on the ground in front of the temple.

There are five rooms inside the temple proper. Each room contains a Lingam indicating Shivaworship. In the main sanctuary an original 13th century Buddha statue faces east. A sandstone carving depicting a reclining Buddha in situ above the main door of the sanctum.

The sparse remains of the contemporary Yeay Peau temple can be seen only 200 m north of Ta Prohm. The temple, also spelled "Prasat Yiey Pauv" or "Yey Peo", is said to be named after the king's mother or a female protecting spirit. A Theravada Buddhist pagoda, called Wat Tonle Bati, was built in 1576.

Ta Promh Bati - Takeo

Phnom Chiso is a historical site located in Sia village, Rovieng commune, Samrong district, about 62 kilometers south of Phnom Penh or 27 kilometers north of Takeo provincial town. To reach the site, take National Road 2 to Bati district and Neang Khmao temple. Turn right at the sign for the site and head down the dirt trial for 5 more kilometers. Phnom Chiso is 13O-meter-high mountain.

Phnom Chiso temple was built in the early 11th century by King Suryavarman I (AD 1002-1050), who practiced Brahmanism. Constructed of sandstone and other stones, it is 60 meters long and 50 meters wide and sits atop a mountain. The temple is surrounded by two galleries. The first gallery is 60 meters long on each side. The second, smaller gallery, is in the middle, where there is the main worship place with two doors and a wooden statue. There are beautiful sculptures on the lintel and the pillars.

Phnom Chiso Pagoda was built in 1917, destroyed by war during the 1970s and rebuilt in 1979. Behind it is a hall called Thammasaphea, kof and a worship place. There is an ancient water tank made of concrete. People usually climb the staircase on the west side of the mountain, which has 390 steps and descend by the south side staircase, which has 408 steps. Another set of stairs in front of the temple links the temple to Sen Chhmos temple, Sen Phouvang temple and Tonie Om, a lake considered sacred by Brahmans and used for washing away sins. A large rock yard nearby about 100 meters long and 80 meters was once the site of several other temples, but only parts of these temples remain standing.

In addition, there is a mountain cave, Vimean Chan, located about 150 meters south of the temple. It is a quiet place for Brahmans or ascetics to meditate. During the Americans' war with Vietnam, the site was bombed, dislodging several large rocks that block the entrance to the cave today.

Hun Sen Phnom Chiso Agricultural and Tourist site is located in Samrong, Bati and Prey Kabas districts. It includes a 513 hectare paddy rice field of dry rice, a 1,386 hectares field of wet rice and three water basins - Thnos Ta Kong, Tuol Lork and Sen Pea Ream.

Phnom Chiso is very popular with visitors, especially during festivals, when it is very crowded. The top of the mountain affords visitors a panoramic view of Takeo Province rice paddies stretching for kilometers.

Phnom Chiso (Chiso Mountain) - Takeo

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