Little is known about LOVEK, the capital of Cambodia during the reign of King An Chan in the sixteenth century. It was captured by the Siamese in the latter part of the century, and the name has been passed down through a well-known local legend as much as anything else. Today a sparse village stretches across the site, consisting of a few houses, a school and two fine shrines at the farthest reaches: the larger Wat Preah Kaew (Pagoda of the Emerald Buddha) and Wat Preah Ko (Pagoda of the Sacred Cow) a little further beyond on the same site. In both wats, every inch of wall is painted with colourful murals of the legend. To the south of Wat Preah Ko is a two-metre, smiling green-marble Buddha surrounded by bowls of water that worshippers use to bathe him.
Finding Lovek is a bit of a challenge; to reach the village by moto, head north from Oudong on National Route 5 in the direction of Kompong Chhnang; after 12km take the turning at the small blue sign on the right for Traleng Keng Pagoda site. Beyond the concrete portico flanked by golden lions, the village stretches along a 5km straight track, before it bends at a right angle towards the shrines. You could get as far as the main road turning on the Phnom Penh–Kompong Chhnang bus, but the driver will need clear instructions.