Sihanoukville / Kampong Som has an iconic statue where thousands of visitors have gone to take photos and visit.
The Preah Thong and Neang Neak statue represents the beginning of Cambodia’s Khmer civilization, culture, and traditions. The monument is the largest copper statue in Cambodia and stands 21 meters tall on a pedestal that is 6.34 meters high (for a total height of 27.34 meters). It faces the sea and weighs a total of 60 tonnes.
In Khmer tradition, Preah Thong (Kaundinya I / Y Da) and Neang Neak (Queen Soma / Y Ga) are symbolic figures. They are thought to have established the Funan state, which existed before Angkor. Preah Thong and Neang Neak’s union is largely responsible for the development of Khmer wedding traditions.
Two Chinese envoys, Kang Tai and Zhu Ying, claimed that an Indian named Kaundinya founded the state of Funan. Around the first century CE, Kaundinya received instructions in a dream to use a magic bow from a temple to defeat Soma (Chinese: Liuye, “Willow Leaf”), the princess of the Naga people and the daughter of their ruler. She eventually wed Kaundinya, and as a result, the Funan royal dynasty is descended from them. Afterwards, Kaundinya constructed Vyadhapura as a capital, and the kingdom thus acquired the name Kambojadea.
The Story of Neang Neak and Preah Thong
Once upon a time, in the kingdom of Cambodia, there was a young prince named Preah Thong. One day, as he was swimming in the ocean, he came across a beautiful mermaid named Neang Neak. He was immediately smitten by her, and they fell in love.
However, Neang Neak’s mother, the queen of the mermaids, did not approve of their relationship. She forbade her daughter from seeing the prince and warned her of the dangers of falling in love with a human.
Preah Thong was heartbroken and sought the help of a powerful sorcerer to help him win back his beloved. The sorcerer gave him a magical conch shell that could summon a giant flood, powerful enough to destroy anything in its path.
Preah Thong used the conch shell to create a massive wave that swept Neang Neak and her mother out of the sea and onto the shore. Once on land, the queen of the mermaids transformed into a giant snake and attacked Preah Thong.
But the prince was not defenseless. He had a magical sword that he had received from the sorcerer. With the sword, he was able to fend off the snake and defeat it.
Neang Neak was overjoyed to see her beloved prince again, and they were finally reunited. However, their happiness was short-lived, as the queen of the mermaids had cursed them. She said that they could never be together unless they could find a way to break the curse.
Determined to be together, Neang Neak and Preah Thong set out on a quest to find a way to break the curse. Along the way, they faced many challenges and obstacles, but they never lost hope.
Finally, they came across a wise old sage who told them that the only way to break the curse was for Preah Thong to journey to the underworld and retrieve a magical flower that grew there. The flower was said to have the power to break any curse.
Preah Thong bravely ventured into the underworld, where he faced many dangers and obstacles. But he persevered, and in the end, he found the magical flower.
He returned to the surface and gave the flower to Neang Neak, who used it to break the curse. They were finally able to be together without any obstacles.
The two lovers were overjoyed and grateful to have each other. They lived happily ever after, and their love story became a legend in Cambodia, a tale of love conquering all obstacles.
Location of the Statue
Below is the location of the statue in case you want to visit: