At the end of the second week we were beginning to get into the flow of things; it was only right that we should visit the rushing waterfall of Phnom Kulen and the national park that surrounds it.
Kulen is seen by the locals as one of the most sacred mountains in Cambodia. It is home to a Buddhist pagoda that holds an 8 metre long reclining Buddha carved into the mountain in the 16th Century. The pagoda is within the rocks of the mountain and the walkways are covered with flags of red, pink, yellow, purple and green. As we wound our way round the pagoda in bare feet there was a sense of holiness. It was not the usual sense of reflection and quietness though. The pagoda was filled with prayers and incense and music. Climbing up more stairs we reached the reclining Buddha surrounded by beautifully vibrant paintings on the walls and miniature statues of Buddhas lined up along the body.
The River of 1,000 Lingas was also a beautiful sight where the waterbed is old carvings. However, it was the waterfall that was the highlight. The waterfall itself is holy and is believed to bless the Cambodian waterways as it flows through into Tonle Sap. Down and down we went through the trees to a cluster of huge rocks. Through the gaps in the trees and the rocks we could see the flow of water from the waterfall. We quickly became surrounded as we swam by stunning butterflies whose wings, as they opened, were midnight blue. There was lots of screaming and laughing as we entirely emersed ourselves under the torrent of water pouring from above us.