Khao Phra Viharn reopens
historic Khmer temple of Khao Phra Viharn, which straddles the Thai-Cambodian
border, has been reopened to visitors after a two-year closure due to
a part of Cambodian territory, the temple, known as Phrea Vihear in
the Khmer (Cambodian) language, can be visited from both the Thai and
Cambodian sides of the border.
From the Thai side,
visitors can pass through the Khao Phra Viharn national park in Si Sa
Ket and Ubon Ratchathani provinces. The park has numerous other natural
attractions like waterfalls, caves and walking trails which are open
Thai visitors have
to pay 20 baht, and international visitors 200 baht to enter the national
park, and a further 50 baht or 200 baht respectively to enter the Khao
Phra Viharn area. Passports are not necessary for foreign visitors.
Two other access points
are available from the Cambodian side. Tourism Authority of Thailand
(TAT) Governor Mrs. Juthamas Siriwan said, "Khao Phra Viharn is
one of the most important historical temples in the Mekong region. We
welcome the re-opening because it will give a major boost to travel
to the Northeast Thailand region."
noted that Northeast Thailand is one of the richest in terms of cultural
attractions but also very much in need of economic development. Hence,
the better the attractions, the greater the likelihood that visitors
will try and include it in their itineraries.
Thailand and Cambodia
have discussed the possibility of developing the area into a major tourist
area via a proper and well-regulated master plan. The temple is located
about 630 kilometres from Bangkok and 95 kilometres from Si Sa Ket province.
On the Cambodian side, it is 405 kilometres from Phnom Penh or 108 kilometres
from the provincial town of Phrea Vihear.
The hilltop temple
is reachable by a steep ascent from the Cambodian side but a more gently
sloping ascent from the Thai side.
Phrea Vihear temple
was built at the end of 9th century and at the beginning of 10th century
by four Cambodian kings. It was the subject of a territorial dispute
between Thailand and Cambodia for several years but was officially declared
to be a part of Cambodia in 1962.