Though it’s more than 500 years old, Wat Preah Prom Rath is a modern-looking temple and monastery located in the heart of Siem Reap. The front gate is the perhaps the oldest looking piece of the site, with Bayon style carvings that are similar to the ones found in Angkor Wat. The temple grounds are large, home to a university building as well as the main hall. However, the main attraction is the reclining Buddha—which is now sinking as well as reclining—and the story that explains how the statue came to reside there.
As the legend tells it, a famous monk was traveling on the nearby river when sharks attacked him and the boat broke into two pieces. The monk escaped in the prow of the boat and soon landed ashore. The remains of the boat were carved into the reclining Buddha that is housed in the Preah Vihear building. Outside of the Preah Vihear building is a statue that illustrates the monk and his boat; it’s a popular spot for photos. Wat Preak Prom Rath is an oasis in the hustle and bustle of Siem Reap and it’s worth a visit if only to walk in the gardens, taking a break on one of the benches and simply enjoying the peace and quiet.
Located on Pokambor Avenue, Wat Preah Prom Rath is an active monastery and is open to the public from sunrise to sunset. Entering the grounds is free, but make sure that you’re dressed to enter a temple: shoulders and knees should be covered; no smoking, chewing gum or mobile phones should be used in the grounds and be sure to remove your shoes before entering the temple.