What to see in Prey Veng, Cambodia
Prey Veng "grand forest" or "long forest") is a province (khaet) of Cambodia. The capital is Prey Veng town. In 2008 it had a total population of 947,357 people.
This densely populated agricultural region is located on the east bank of the Mekong. The name literally means "long forest" in khmer, but the last great forests have gradually disappeared there over 30 years to provide for agricultural land.
In early Christian era, the province was a major center of the kingdom of Fu-nan, between economic and political capitals of the country what were Oc Eo (now in the Vietnamese province of An Giang) and Angkor Borey (in the Cambodian province of Takeo).
However, with the advent of Chen-la, the hub of the kingdom moved farther west, to Koh Ker and Angkor and the region lost its importance.
In the 15th century, the Khmer emperors, under threat from the Siamese (former name of people of current Thailand) decided to resettle back to the east, to Oudong, Lovek then Phnom Penh. Prey Veng did favor them as it was too close to another danger, namely the Annam. Neverless they formed an army at Ba Phnom in 1473 to defend against an invasion of Siam.
Under the French protectorate, the colonial authorities saw potential of the region in terms of agriculture and fishing and its proximity to the French colony of Cochin China. Mass deforestation took place, to create land for agriculture.
In 1975 when the Khmer Rouge took power, the province experienced its first famine, until 1977. Thousands of people in Prey Veng Province were killed by the Khmer Rouge and buried in mass graves.
As the Vietnamese army advanced in January 1979, the region regained its position and became one of the first areas of Cambodia liberated from the Khmer Rouge.
Ba Phnom is located 78 kilometers east of Phnom Penh and 45 kilometres south of the provincial capital. Its name literally means "ancestor of the hill". There is actually a mound of 139 meters.
Archaeological research has shown that it was an important cultural center of the kingdom of Fu-Nan, and a sacred place in which they worshipped Shiva. The site seems to have retained its sacred character throughout the Angkor period, and traces of animist and Buddhist rituals have also been found.
The provincial capital is located on the National Road 11 between Nak Loeung and Kampong Cham. It is located about 2 and half hours by road from Phnom Penh and 3 hours from Ho Chi Minh City. This quaint town is off the usual tourist trail and is uncrowded. It houses several old dilapidated colonial homes. There is a large lake west of the city which is dry from March to August.