Preah Vihear is the name of a temple, a province and a town, bit in the interests of this story we will concentrate on Preah Vihear Town. Here’s the Preah Vihear town Guide.
Preah Vihear Guide – How to get here
Its equidistant from Phnom Penh to both Siem Reap and Preah Vihear, which basically means throwing a right instead of a left at the crossroads.
Alternatively you can visit here via Siem Reap (4 hours) and the last stronghold of the Khmer Rouge, Along Veng (2 hours)
You can read about Anlong Veng here.
You can read about the last Khmer Rouge state here.
What is there to do in Preah Vihear Town?
It;s all about the Preah Vihear temple and some other temples that lay nearby. Allegedly older than Angkor Wat this area has been under some serious disputes from Thailand and Cambodia, which has even led to armed conflict and the death of soldiers. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) have ruled in favour of Cambodia many times, but alas if history has taught us anything it is that war might well happen regardless.
But before you get all excited Preah Vihear Town and Preah Vihear temple are 2 hours apart from each other. If you end up staying in Preah Vihear Town then you will find scant things to do! Yet with a Pioneer spirit even the best can be made of this cute little border town.
Watching football in Preah Vihear – Playing at the catchily titled Chea Shim Tbaeng Mean Chey High School the venue is not find to find in this small one street town. Turns out Preach Vihear FC are a bit shit, with me watching them lose 7-2 at home to Kampong Chom FC.
Walk down the one street – Seriously there is one street in Preah Vihear Town and walking down it is is a highlight.
Street Food Preah Vihear Town
Lots of actual street food, which mostly consists of chicken and pork, as well as lots of Khmer restaurants of the outdoor serving bog-standard Khmer food. A few beef specialist places were spotted, but there is no down and dirty street food area in Preach Vihear.
To their credit they do have a Star Fast Food joint, which is well known across Cambodia and only narrowly missed getting into the restaurant section. I will write up this legendary franchise one day.
Restaurants in Preach Vihear
Not exactly a plethora of stuff, but enough at least to have 3-4 different meals if there was ever like a nuclear war and you got stuck here.
Lets go from good to bad shall we? Theres a Seoul franchise everywhere no matter how far in the boonies you go and this is by far the largest franchise in Cambodia. They have a decent sized restaurant, although it did not win my custom on either night I was in town.
Is there a western restaurant in Preah Vihear? While in Svay Rieng we were almost shocked by the huge quality of the western restaurant we discovered recently. In Preah Vihear they have a restaurant that just has a Khmer name (មីប្រេន 7 លំដាប់) that serves 7 different degrees of spicy noodles, as well as pizza and sandwiches. The noodles were pretty damned good, while the sandwiches were unbearably sweet. I did not partake in the pizza, which I feel was probably for the best.
The best restaurant in Preah Vihear town? Lyhout Restaurant – we knew this because someone told us it was the ONE restaurant for rich people. In fact it had a great menu and was not all that badly priced – well one did not have to be rich to go there lets say. Although with that being said I did have a drink that consisted of me pouring my own can of condensed milk, as well as Khmer Birds Nest Drink. I have yet to get a proper translation on this, but there was sweet stuff and birds nest stuff in it.
To read about Birds Nest Soup click here.
And as for bars? I spotted one that had the football on, offered the god awful Ganzberg, but had very little else going on.
The night was duly ended at one of the many stores that cater to the truckers and smugglers that cross the border back and forth from Thailand. The place had wine everywhere cases of Hanuman Beer (its new), as well as two new flavours of Spy Wine cooler.
And that is how I party in Preach Vihear Town!