Udong is the former capital of Cambodia. The name Udong, often also spelled "Oudong", means "victorious". It was the former capital of Cambodia from 1618 to 1866, after the Khmers shifted from Angkor, and before the capital moved again, to Phnom Penh. It is a place that the Thais have plundered, the Americans have bombed and then finally the Khmer Rouge have blown up.
Set astride a series of hillocks, Phnom Udong is made up of a row of stupas and shrines in a variety of condition that can be thoroughly explored at a comfortable pace in a couple of hours. On weekdays you could well have the entire site to yourself, but on weekends it can be quite busy with visitors and wedding parties from Phnom Penh.
Best approached is from the north, your motorcycle rider will most likely drop you at the base of the stairs towards the northern end of the hill. There is a cluster of souvenir shops and hordes of children who will accompany you during your exploration. Beggars lined the stairway to a glitzy modern temple home to a Buddha relic, previously housed in Phnom Penh. The attraction here is not so much the stupa but the view over the surrounds, which it breathtaking.
From here you can take a path that runs along the ridge allowing you to visit each of the sites without going downhill.
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