Ancient City of Oudong, Cambodia

The ancient capital of Oudong once stood as a central hub of development in Cambodia’s history before it was forgotten. Over the centuries, Oudong has preserved its unique architectural works and holds great historical significance for Cambodia. Join us as we explore this remarkable ancient capital in the following content.

Overview of the Former Capital Oudong

Located on Phnom Udong Mountain in Kampong Speu Province, about 40 km northwest of Phnom Penh, Oudong was the capital of Cambodia from the 17th to the 19th century. This capital was founded in 1601 under King Srei Soryapor, after the old capital of Longvek was abandoned.

For around 250 years, Oudong served as the residence of Khmer emperors before the capital was moved to Phnom Penh in 1866. During this period, Oudong became the political, cultural, and religious center of Cambodia.

Former Capital Oudong

Many Cambodian kings and queens built unique architectural structures in Oudong, creating an admirable cultural heritage. However, Oudong gradually fell into neglect after the royal court relocated. The lack of management and inhabitants, coupled with destruction from wars, left the area in ruins. After being abandoned for several decades, Oudong was gradually reclaimed by the surrounding dense forest.

Read more: Wat Bo Pagoda – One of the Most Ancient Temples in Siem Reap

Today, the remnants of the former capital Oudong cover a large area with dozens of structures, many of which are no longer intact. The standout feature of the landscape is Phnom Udong Mountain, adorned with intricately built tall Gropa towers.

Many important religious relics of Cambodia are present in Oudong, including the tombs of Khmer kings from the time when this place was the capital. The Cambodian government is currently promoting the restoration of Oudong using traditional Khmer craftsmanship methods.

Oudong is not well known because its structures are not as grand or distinctive as many other Cambodian relics. In recent years, the Cambodian government has nominated the former capital Oudong for inclusion in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list.

Former Capital Oudong

Exploring the Monuments of Oudong

Phnom Oudong Hill

Almost all the highlights of a trip to Oudong can be found on the famous Phnom Oudong Mountain, known for its magnificent Buddhist temples, stupas, and exquisite architectural structures. To reach the summit, you’ll need to climb over 500 steps from the base. This also provides a great opportunity to enjoy the fresh air and the shade of the lush, large trees that line the staircase.

At the foot of the mountain is a memorial containing bones collected from the killing fields. It stands as a testament to the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge and serves as a reminder of the darkest period in Cambodia’s history as well as the country’s resilience in overcoming hardships.

Read more: Angkor National Museum, Cambodia

Phnom Oudong Hill

Preah Reach Troap

The Golden Stupa is a square structure with a multi-tiered roof. The highlight of the temple is a 90 kg gold Buddha statue. It also houses the ashes of King Chey Chettha II and several other Khmer kings. The stupas in the ancient capital of Oudong are built from sandstone and adorned with colorful murals and intricate carvings.

Address: Sangkat Preah Reach Troap, Krong Oudong, Cambodia
Operating hours: 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily

Preah Neang Khmao Tower

Preah Neang Khmao Tower is a Gropa (funerary tower) built in the 17th century to commemorate Queen Neang Khmao, the wife of King Chey Chettha II. This tower has a multi-tiered conical structure made of bricks. It is decorated with numerous statues of Buddha and Hindu gods. Preah Neang Khmao Tower is one of the best-preserved Gropa towers in Oudong and is a popular tourist destination in Cambodia.

Address: Oudong, Kandal Province, Cambodia
Operating hours: 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily

Arthaross Temple

Arthaross Temple, famously destroyed entirely during the Khmer Rouge era, has been completely rebuilt. It is also known as the “Eighteen-point Temple” because the structure includes 18 points or corners. The temple still holds the remnants of a giant Buddha statue that was destroyed by the Khmer Rouge. Unlike the traditional east-facing Buddha statues, this Buddha faces north.

How to Get to Oudong

By Tuk Tuk

The ancient capital of Oudong is located about 40 km north of Phnom Penh, so the journey takes around one hour. Traveling by tuk tuk is not only affordable but also quite safe. The drivers know the way and make excellent companions. Along the way, you will have the chance to see traditional Cambodian houses, temples, and mosques. The cost of hiring a tuk tuk from Phnom Penh to Oudong and back ranges from $30 to $40.

By Car

You can also hire a car with a driver from Phnom Penh to Oudong for about $50 for a round trip. This option is popular among tourists, especially in hot weather.

Read more: Preah Vihear Temple, Cambodia

Former Capital Oudong

The Unique Cuisine of Oudong


Amok is a Khmer curry made from fish, coconut, and fish sauce. This dish is typically served with rice. Amok has a rich, creamy, and slightly spicy flavor, making it very palatable.

Nom Banh Chok

Nom Banh Chok is a traditional Khmer dish known for its refreshing taste and beautiful presentation. It is made from simple ingredients and is often enjoyed as an appetizer or a light meal.

Khmer Beef Salad

Khmer Beef Salad, also known as Lap Khmer, is a traditional Cambodian dish made from minced beef, lemongrass, chili, shallots, garlic, fish sauce, lime, and various herbs. This dish is usually served with grilled rice paper. Its attractive presentation makes it an excellent appetizer.

Kdam Chaa

Kdam Chaa, or stir-fried black pepper crab, is a traditional Cambodian dish. It is made from fresh crab, marinated in spices, and then fried with black pepper. Kdam Chaa is often served with rice or salad.


The former capital of Oudong is an intriguing destination with its rich historical and cultural beauty, perfect for those who appreciate Cambodian history and architecture. It offers opportunities to explore ancient monuments and experience the simple life of the local people. If you have the time, be sure to visit Oudong on your journey through Cambodia.

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