Khao Phra Wihan National Park

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Khao Phra Wihan National Park
IUCN category II (national park)
Mo view from Pha Mo I Daeng Stairway.JPG
Mo view from Pha Mo I Daeng Stairway
Map showing the location of Khao Phra Wihan National Park
Map showing the location of Khao Phra Wihan National Park
Location within Thailand
Location Kantharalak District, Thailand
Nearest city Sisaket (town)
Coordinates 14°26′42.25″N 104°43′58.52″E / 14.4450694°N 104.7329222°E / 14.4450694; 104.7329222Coordinates: 14°26′42.25″N 104°43′58.52″E / 14.4450694°N 104.7329222°E / 14.4450694; 104.7329222
Area 130 km²
Established 1998
Visitors 712,515 (in 2006)
Governing body National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department

Khao Phra Wihan National Park (Thai: อุทยานแห่งชาติเขาพระวิหาร) is a protected natural area in Sisaket Province, Thailand, that contains numerous ruins of the 11th century Khmer Empire. The park lies 98 km (61 mi) south of the town of Sisaket, at the end of Thai highway 221. Sited on a red stone cliff that is part of the Dangrek mountain range on the southern edge of the Khorat Plateau, it abuts the international border between Thailand's Sisaket Province and Cambodia's Preah Vihear Province. The name of the cliff in the Royal Thai General System of Transcription is Pha Mo I Daeng (ผามออีแดง).

Gateway to Prasat Khao Phra Wihan[edit]

Welcome to Pha Mo I Daeng 1 June 2001.jpg

The park atop Pha Mo I Daeng is the Thai gateway to ruins associated with the temple of Prasat Preah Vihear, and is generally open to everyone upon payment of entrance fees. When relations between the two countries are normal, the temple ruins are also accessible from the Thai side. Both sides charge additional entrance fees for such access, but Cambodia does not require visas. Access from the Cambodian side is to the temple ruins only. The International Court of Justice awarded the temple ruins to Cambodia in 1962,[1] but these are located in an area of 4.6 km² that Thailand still claims.[2] Nevertheless, in 2008 the World Heritage Committee's 32nd Session listed the Temple of Preah Vihear as a UNESCO World Heritage Site,[3] which prompted an armed dispute.

Danger!! Mines!!.JPG

For visitors' safety, areas with landmines are clearly marked.


In 2007, Cambodia proposed to the World Heritage Committee's Thirty-First Session that Preah Vihear Sanctuary be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As Cambodia and Thailand had not resolved border issues concerning the site, the Committee postponed consideration to its 32nd session, and asked Cambodia to provide a complete management plan for the area. Early in January 2008, Cambodia invited Thai experts to participate in a site survey of the Buffer Zone, and then to Siem Reap and Phnom Penh to collaborate with a team of international experts in the making of a plan for the area in Cambodian territory. Thai experts found "unacceptable scientific inaccuracies" in documents presented, dissociated themselves from the group, and then published in rebuttal their own Management Plan for Preah Vihear Mountain and Its Setting. A PDF English language version of the Plan has been released.[4]

Following a February 2011 request from Cambodia for Thai military forces to be ordered out of the area, judges of the International Court by a vote of 11–5 ordered that both countries immediately withdraw their military forces, and further imposed restrictions on their police forces. The court said its ruling would not prejudice any final ruling on where the border in the area between Thailand and Cambodia should fall. It could take the court many months or even years to reach that decision.[5] Abhisit Vejjajiva (caretaker Prime Minister since the just-concluded Thai general election, 2011) said that Thai soldiers will not pull out from the disputed area until the military of both countries agree on the mutual withdrawal. "[I]t depends on the two sides to come together and talk," he said, suggesting that an existing joint border committee would be the appropriate place to plan a coordinated pullback.[6]


The park takes its name from the Thai pronunciation of Khmer language Prasat Preah Vihear.

Prasat (ปราสาท) is from Sanskrit prāsādacastle”. Both languages use Prasat to designate ruins resembling forts.
Preah and Phra (พระ) both are from Sanskrit varaḥ “excellent.”
Vihear is from Sanskrit/Pali Vihara (“temple” or its central structure.) Thai "วิหาร" may be transliterated as Viharn, but is pronounced and usually transcribed as Wihan.
Khao (เขา) is Thai for a mount, mountain, or hill ("phnom" in Khmer; Cambodians may say "Phnom Preah Vihear".[7]) เขาวิหาร may be translated into the English language as Temple Hill.[8]

Pha Mo I Daeng[edit]

Mo at Pha Mo I Daeng.JPG
Pha (ผา) is a cliff, crag, rock or tor.[9]
Mo (มอ) pronounced like English "maw" with an even tone means gray or gloomy.[10] (Royal Institute Dictionary 1982 edition “mo” definition 4: [qualifier] blurred, such as mountains obscured darkly (มอ ๔/มอ/[วิเศษณ์] สีมัว ๆ อย่างสีดำเจือขาว.)
I (อี) pronounced like English "ee" is a designation for one without customary restraint.[11]
Daeng (แดง) is red.
Mo Ee Daeng Cliff.jpg
Mo I Daeng rock art.JPG

Mo Ee Daeng Cliff rears over 500 metres above the Cambodian plain. In 1987, a Border Protection Ranger Unit discovered two groups of bas-relief images and engravings. The Management Plan says on p. 14, "Based on iconography, the figures are dated circa 10th century, or older than Preah Vihear Temple." The figures are now a highlight of the park. Some parts have flaked off, so the area is barred behind a gate. A staircase leads down to the gate, where the images are clearly visible.

Other sights[edit]

The park is covered by dry evergreen forest, mixed dipterocarp forest, and deciduous dipterocarp forest with tree species like Pterocarpus macrocarpus, Shorea siamensis and Xylia xylocarpa var. kerrii. It is home to numerous wildlife which roams between two countries such as wild hog, deer, barking deer, rabbit, squirrel, gibbon and civet.

Twin Stupas

'Twin Stupas. The Twin Stupas are two red sandstone structures, 1.93 m. square and 4.20 m. high, with lotus-bud-shaped apices.

Don Tuan Khmer Ruins. Built during the 10th -11th Century, the Khmer Ruins near Ban Phume Sarol (บ้านภูมิซรอล) are located at 14°24′26″N 104°44′45″E / 14.40722°N 104.74583°E / 14.40722; 104.74583, 350 meters onto the Cambodia side of the distinct watershed border ridge, at an elevation of 250 meters above sea level, 30 meters below and 350 meters southwest of the border ridge. The only road access, however, is from Thailand. Legend tells that in the past a lady known as Nang Nom Yai or Nieng Non dor (in Khmer), stopped to rest here on her way to visit a king.

Namtok and Tham Khun Sri. The three-tiered waterfall, above the cave, is situated west of Sra trao close to trail to Phreah Vihear. Khun Sri Cave is of gigantic proportions and was believed to have been the accommodation of Khun Sri, a noble man who controlled rock cutting at Sra Trao at the time of the construction of Preah Vihear Sanctuary.

Namtok Phu La-Ō (น้ำตกภูละออ). Situated in Phanom Dongrak Wildlife Sanctuary, Tambon Sao Thongchai, the small waterfall turns vibrant during September to February.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Temple of Preah Vihear (Cambodia v. Thailand)" (text/html 19.79 KB). Summary of the Summary of the Judgment of 15 June 1962. International Court of Justice. Retrieved 2010-11-25. Judgment of 15 June 1962 :Proceedings in the case concerning the Temple of Preah Vihear, between Cambodia and Thailand, were instituted on 6 October 1959 by an Application of the Government of Cambodia; the Government of Thailand having raised two preliminary objections, the Court, by its Judgment of 26 May 1961, found that it had jurisdiction. :In its Judgment on the merits the Court, by nine votes to three, found that the Temple of Preah Vihear was situated in territory under the sovereignty of Cambodia and, in consequence, that Thailand was under an obligation to withdraw any military or police forces, or other guards or keepers, stationed by her at the Temple, or in its vicinity on Cambodian territory. By seven votes to five, the Court found that Thailand was under an obligation to restore to Cambodia any sculptures, stelae, fragments of monuments, sandstone model and ancient pottery which might, since the date of the occupation of the Temple by Thailand in 1954, have been removed from the Temple or the Temple area by the Thai authorities. :Judge Tanaka and Judge Morelli appended to the Judgment a Joint Declaration. Vice-President Alfaro and Judge Sir Gerald Fitzmaurice appended Separate Opinions; Judges Moreno Quintana, Wellington Koo and Sir Percy Spender appended Dissenting Opinions. 
  2. ^ Bora Touch, Esq. (29 June 2008). "Preah Vihear Temple and the Thai's Misunderstanding of the World Court Judgment of 15 June 1962" (JPEG Image). Retrieved 2010-11-22. (Preah Vihear A Disputed Area)) 
  3. ^ "Temple of Preah Vihear". World Heritage Convention. Retrieved 2010-11-23. Cambodia / N14 23 18 E104 41 2 / Date of Inscription: 2008 / Criteria: (i) / Property : 155 ha / Buffer zone: 2,643 ha / Ref: 1224rev 
  4. ^ "Management Plan for Preah Vihear Mountain and Its Setting" (PDF Version 1.6 (Acrobat 7.x)1.02 MB). File 03MgnPlan Created 7/1/2008 ; modified 7/2/2008. Office of Archaeology (สำนักโบราณคดี), Fine Arts Department (อำมาตยากรมศิลปากร), Ministry of Culture, and ICOMOS Thailand (อืโคโมสไทย) 81/1 Si Ayutthaya Rd., Dusit District, Bangkok 10300, THAILAND. 2008. p. 1. Retrieved 2010-11-21. From the meeting [11th – 14th, January, 2008 in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh,] it has been discovered that there are unacceptable scientific inaccuracies in the content of the documents, from the Nomination File composed by the Cambodian party to the Conclusion Report composed by international experts. The Thai experts, therefore, declared dissociation from the international experts group and rebutted the scientific information as mentioned.  :Contents :Preface :1. Background :2. Values and Significance ::2.1 Architecture and Site Planning :::Fig.2-1 Preah Vihear Temple and its setting on Preah Vihear Mountain :::Fig.2-2 Preah Vihear Temple Layout by Parmentier :::Fig.2-3 Main Sanctuary :::Fig.2- 4, 2-5 Naga Bridge and Baphuon style Nagas :::Fig.2-6 Distinctive architectural features of Preah Vihear Temple ::2.2 Related Elements and Ancient Communities :::Map: Surroundings with Locations of Related Elements :::Shiva Lingam Engraving ::::Fig.2-7 Shiva Lingam engraving on stone plain, whose location is on centre line of the main axis to Preah Vihear Temple ::::Fig.2-8 View from Naga Bridge toward Sa Trao and stone plain, location of Shiva Lingam. :::Ancient Dam in Sa Trao Pond Area ::::Fig.2-9, 2-10, 2-11 Sa Trao and Preah Vihear Mountain / ancient dam, the oldest stone dam in Thailand :::Ancient Dam near the Main Stairs ::::Fig.2-12 Ancient dam near Main Stairs :::Mo I Daeng Cliff Archaeological Site ::::Fig.2-13 View of Mo I Daeng Cliff and verdant forest ::::Fig.2-14 Stone cutting site at Mo I Daeng :::Sathup Khu (Twin Stupas) ::::Fig.2-15, 2-16 Sathup Khu (Twin Stupas) / Location on Preah Vihear Mountain :::Mo I Daeng Rock Art ::::Fig.2-17, 2-18 Mo I Daeng bas-reliefs :::Tham Khun Si (Khun Si Caves) ::::Fig.2-19, 2-20 Tham Khun Si and traces of adaptation for dwelling :::Prasat Don Tual :::Prasat Don Tual Inscriptions ::::Fig.2-21, 2-22 Prasat Don Tual Fig.2-23 Inscriptions on door frame :::Ancient Communities ::::Fig.2-24 Archaeological evidences found in Non Nong Krachao and Rai Mae Tam ::2.3 Integrity and Setting :::Fig.2-25 Topography of Preah Vihear Mountain which slopes toward the foot of the mountain in Thai territory, resulted in natural waterways that flow along the mountain slopes to the lowland. ::2.4 Protective Measures * Prasat Phra Wihan (Preah Vihear Temple), was registered before the decree of World Court in 1962 by the Fine Arts Department on 11th October, 2483 B.E. (1940 AD), under the name “Monuments on Phra Wihan Mountain” which was the registration of the monument only. :::Later, on 4th December, 1959, a declaration of additional area was issued. The area of the later declaration is approximately 2.11, covering the Naga Bridge, Sa Trao, and the Twin Stupas. *Prasat Don Tual, registered under the name “Chong Ta Thao” since 1935. :::Registration map of Preah Vihear Temple :::Map: Monuments and Sites in Study Area :::Protection of natural heritage comprises 3 categories : :::: 1. National Reserved Forest :::: 2. Wildlife Reserve :::: 3. National Park : the study area has been officially declared as Khao Phra Wihan National Park since 1998. In nearby area, there is Phu Chong-Na Yoi National Park declared by the Royal Decree in 1987. National parks are under responsibility of the National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department. Declaration of national parks aims for conservation of fertile and beautiful natural areas which have distinguished identity. :3. Existing Conditions ::3.1 Demarcation of Management Area ::::Map of Management Area :::3.1.2 Topography :::3.1.3 Climate :::3.1.4 Geographical Features :::[Two maps] :::3.1.5 Land Use :::[Two maps] :::3.1.6 Access :::3.1.7 Chong Sa Ngam Border Pass ::3.2 Communities in Preah Vihear Mountain Cultural Heritage Site ::3.3 Values of Preah Vihear Mountain to the Communities Way of Life :::Ecological Values :::Economic Values :::Educational Values :::Tourism Situation of Preah Vihear Mountain ::3.4 Natural Resources and Protection ::::Map: Responsible Organizations in Study Area :::Forests :::Sandstone Plains Water Sources :::Waterfalls :::Wildlife :::Natural Resources Management :3.5 Existing Conditions and Study Area : Present Development ::::Area 1 : Parking area, western side of causeway ::::Area 2 : Stalls, open ground in front of the main stairs ::::Area 3 : Sala (open pavilion), flagpole, Mo I Daeng Cliff ::::Area 4 : Military camp ::::Area 5 : Tourist Information Centre and tourist facilities ::3.6 Visual and Landscape Analysis :::[Two maps: Visual Analysis Plans] :::3.6.1 Views from Preah Vihear Temple in Relationship with Surrounding Perspectives [two sectional views] :::3.6.2 Views from Highway No. 2235 :::3.6.3 Views from Sattasom Mountain :4 Site Analysis and Management Plan ::4.1 Guidelines for Area Management for Conservation :::a. Core Zone :::b. Buffer Zone for Conservation of Environment :::c. Conservation and Community Development Zone ::4.2 Recommendations on Monument Conservation in Core Zone and Preah Vihear Mountain area :::4.2.1 Ancient Dam in Sa Trao Pond Area :::4.2.2 Ancient Dam near the Main Stairs :::4.2.3 Mo I Daeng Cliff Area :::4.2.4 Sathup Khu (Twin Stupas) :::4.2.5 Mo I Daeng Rock Arts :::4.2.6 Tham Khun Si Cave :::4.2.7 Prasat Don Tual ::4.3 Guidelines for Transportation Management ::4.4 Guidelines for Improvement and Revitalization of Area and Landscape of Former Tourist Information Centre to Conform to Overall Conservation Plan ::[Map] :Working Team : Management Plan for Preah Vihear Temple and its Setting  horizontal tab character in |quote= at position 2953 (help)
  5. ^ "UN orders troops away from temple". The Independent. July 18, 2011. Asia. Retrieved 18 July 2011. 
  6. ^ Arthur Max (July 18, 2011). "UN court draws DMZ for Thai, Cambodia troops". The San Francisco Examiner. AP. Retrieved 18 July 2011. 
  7. ^ "Prasat Preah Vihear Temple". Retrieved 2010-11-22. 
  8. ^ So Sethaputra, สอ เสถบุตร (1999). New Model Thai-English Dictionary. Bangkok: ไทยวัฒนาพานิช : Thai Watthanā Phānit. p. 49. ISBN 974-08-3253-9. 
  9. ^ So, p. 194
  10. ^ So, p. 222
  11. ^ So, p. 339

External links[edit]

Media related to Khao Phra Wihan National Park at Wikimedia Commons