A wooden staircase with over one thousands steps, built in August 2017 to transport supplies to soldiers on the site of a contentious military frontier with Thailand, has now become an unlikely tourist attraction for many in the Kingdom.
The staircases’ 1181 steps lead to Than Temple at the summit of the Dangrek mountain range – in which Cambodian troops patrol in a long running border dispute with neighbouring Thailand – offering breathtaking views over the national frontier into the Thai countryside.
Located in Samrong town’s O’Teuk Chaol village, Oddar Meanchey province, the wooden staircase was initially built for the benefit of soldiers to transport supplies to the mountain’s peak, but it now also attracts tourists who want to experience the views from the top.
“Soldiers make a bit of money from selling food and beverages to tourists,” Oddar Meanchey provincial Department of Tourism head Thiny Mony Raksmey said.
Before reaching the temple, tourists encounter a giant ancient grinding stone mill that was carved into the mountain’s rock hundreds of years earlier, as well as the somewhat newer bunkers dug by soldiers as part of the ongoing dispute.
It is recommended that tourists refrain from taking photos or videos of military personnel on the site due to the sensitive situation.
The current Cambodian-Thai border dispute began in June 2008, but it is merely the latest in a century-long dispute between the countries involving the area surrounding the 11th century Preah Vihear Temple in the Dangrek mountains straddling northern Cambodia’s Preah Vihear province and Thailand’s Sisaket province.
Nearby Than Temple on the Dangrek mountain range, tourists are able to combine their tour with a visit to O’Teuk Chaol waterfall and Ta Krabey Temple.