Udong, a city deserted by history.
Udong, former capital of Cambodia between 1618 and 1866 under the Khmer rule, is now a small rural town. The city is located not far from Phnom Penh, on the route linking Saigon to the Tonle Lake and is therefore accessible by the Mekong River cruises.
The town used to harbor a large number of buildings, erected by t King Ang Duong in the 19th century. Many bridges and pagodas, canals and terraces have been built in order to beautify the capital city.
Unfortunately, the village was later to be abandoned by King Norodom and more recently suffered heavy devastation by the Red Khmers in 1977. The continuous armed clashes of that time have severely damaged the ancient vestiges of the city.
The cruises of Rivages du Monde are generating a small travel business activity. Udong retains a typical local and rural appearance with its simplicity. The city is very welcoming with its market in a pleasant rural setting. Farmers and traders are quite inclined to be bargaining with the visitors.
The few remaining monuments of the city are mainly located around the two hills of the area. The Vipassana Dhura Pagoda, a meditation place of Buddhist monks, is the main attraction.
The hills of Udong have a genuine historical record. The highest houses three stupas of different times: the Tria Treng, built by King Prache Kietia in 1623, the stupa of King Ang Duong, constructed in 1981. The biggest and the latest, built in concrete in 2002, is the tomb of King Norodom Sihanouk’s family. It is said to retain some relics of the Buddha.
On the top of the second hill stand the remains of the Preah Atharas Pagoda. It consists of a large statue of Buddha, which suffered from bombardment and its columns. A recent reconstruction of the pagoda and the restoration of Buddha give a beautiful view of these monuments. A large Buddhist establishment was built at the foot of this hill to reflect the importance of religion in this part of Asia.