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www.hotsia.com > Combodai > Kampong Cham


 

Kampong Cham is the capital of the province of the same name and the third largest city in Cambodia. With its Mekong River location and relatively close proximity to Phnom Penh (123km) and Vietnam, Kampong Cham has always been an important trade and transportation hub. The highway from Phnom Penh is in excellent condition-you can get here in just under two hours by road or by the bullet boats that are a main mode of transportation between towns on the Mekong River. Either way its a nice fide, with views of the rural countryside or river area, depending on which way you go.

The town itself is quaint and charming with its bustling morning river scene and wide boulevard streets beside the river. There are a few worthwhile attractions nearby and with its location on the way by boat or road to Kratie, Mondulkiri, Rattanakiri and Stung Treng Provinces; its a nice jump-off point.

Kampong Cham is a mix of the old and the new, with a new temple being built in and around old ruins and the big ferry boats taking people and goods to the other side of the Mekong, right next to the construction of the first bridge ever built here.

 

Because there is little foreign investment and no massive tourism (almost every foreigner who comes here is a backpacker), this city is quite poor with a few modern buildings, though not lacking in French architecture from the colonial period. It is similar to many other Cambodian cities, being rather dirty, with garbage a common sight. The people of Kampong Cham are very friendly and open to engaging with tourists.

If recent projects seem to be improving the state of things here (relative to other Cambodian cities), remember that both PM Hun Sen and former Phnom Penh Governor Chea Sophara are originally from this province.

 

This province is located in the eastern heard of Cambodia bordering following provinces: Kratie to the Northeast, Vietnam to the East, Prey Veng to the South, Kampong Chhnang to the west and Kampong Thom to the Northwest. Due to its advantageous location with the mighty Mekong flowing through the whole province, Kampong Cham has not much to fear of water supply.

The sprawling township of Kampong Cham stretching lazily along the west bank of the Mekong River has much to offer, from temples to deep forests of numerous rubber plantations (a legacy of the French colonial period) to peaceful stalls along the river where visitors can sit back and soak in the atmosphere over a beer or fresh coconut. Kampong Cham is also located at a crossroads. It is the gateway to exotic Mondulkiri Province through Kratie, and its a common port city on the mighty Mekong. Via the national highway No 7 the province is easily to enter and to explore.

The province is divided up into 16 districts, with 173 communes and 1,748 villages. Its geographic location is 12.00N, 105.46E.

 

How to get there

Bullet Boats:
This is a nice option for you travel along the Mekong. Phnom Penh to Kampong Cham takes two hours and costs 10,000 riel. The boats depart just north of the Japanese Bridge (around 150m) on the Phnom Penh side of the Tonle Sap River.

Kampong Cham to Kratie is a three hour boat ride and the cost is about 15,000 riel. The boats usually do not continue on to Stung Treng, as the water level must be very high to enable the boats to clear all of the small islands and clumps in the river between Kratie and Stung Treng. The boats usually dont even go during the rainy season, as there arent many people travelling on this route.

Bikers:
The cost for taking a motorcycle with you by boat for a section of the trip is the same price as for a person. Its not recommended, though, as the porters who load and unload the boats are a hassle to deal with and if they happen to drop your motorcycle in the river (a real possibility), its your loss and not theirs. If you have a motorcycle, ride it. Its not recommended to combine the two modes of transportation.

Bus:
Hoh Wat Gentling Bus Company and Sorya Bus Company (168) have a/c buses to and from Kampong Cham on a regular schedule every day. Their main bus terminal is near the southwest corner of the Central Market (or New Market) in Phnom Penh. The trip is 6,000 riel. In Kampong Cham, bus arrivals and departures are at the Kampong Cham Market. Please see the Getting Around chapter towards the front of the book for all bus schedules.

Share Taxis:
As it is quite cheap and quick with the air-con buses from Phnom Penh to Kampong Cham, there is not much of a reason to take a taxi. A share taxi from Kampong Cham to Kampong Thom is 8,000 riel. The road is in good condition. The share taxi do not go all the way to Kratie at this time, only as far as Snoul, the small town that is the juncture point for the road to Kratie and to Sen Monorom town in Mondulkiri Province. In Snoul there are only sometimes share taxis plying the route to Kratie. If you dont have your own motorcycle as transportation, your surest bet is to take the bullet boat if you want to go to Kratie from Kampong Cham.

Phnom Penh to Kampong Cham
As mentioned earlier, the highway from Phnom Penh is in excellent condition; you take Highway No 6 from Phnom Penh (crossing the Japanese Bridge) and go to the roundabout in Skun comprising a stature of children holding a bird. Highway 6 continues on to the left, going to Kampong Thom and Siem Reap. For Kampong Cham, you veer to the right and follow Highway No 7. A scenic option to this is to follow the river road on the eastern side of the Mekong River (if own vehicle). It takes a bit more time but if you have time its worth it. Security is not a problem.
Until the new bridge over the Mekong River is finished, you still take the big ferry across if you want to explore the eastern side of the province or continue on to Kratie or Mondulkiri Provinces by motorcycle or vehicle. Its 200 riel per person and 400 riel for a motorcycle.

Kampong Cham to Snoul and Kratie or Sen Monorom
The motorcycle ride from Kampong Cham to Snoul is not with the best road equipped, but its doable. Just before you reach Snoul there is a junction in the road with a police box on the right side. Follow the road to the left and you are on the highway to Kratie. You go through the town of Snoul just ahead where there is food and fuel.
Back at the junction by the police box just before you get to Snoul, following the curve to the right takes you to Mondulkiri. About 7 km past that curve you come to a four-way junction. Turn left there and you are on the dust highway (laterite surface) to Sen Monorom. Fuel and drinks are available at the four-way junction and 60km later, so you can bypass Snoul if you like. The road from Snoul to Sen Monorom is generally in good condition. Its only a dirt road but its nice and level, because it was put in for the logging trucks. The road gets quite tricky during the rainy season, however, when the clay gets wet and it becomes similar to riding on ice. The scenery is beautiful and youre passing one of the remotest places in the country.

 

Where to eat

Apsara Restaurant:
Near the Kampong Cham Market. They serve a good breakfast and continue throughout the day. They have some western food and an English menu.

Kimstrun Guesthouse & Restaurant:
The guesthouse has a small rice dish and noodle soup restaurant.

Hoa An Restaurant:
This place is popular with locals and the Kampong Cham NGO crowd. It looks like a two-story hotel and has some a/c rooms for private dinners, in addition to the main eating area. Good Chinese and Khmer food along with the usual beer girls.

Phnom Prosh Hotel & Restaurant:
This newer hotel also has a restaurant. Good Chinese, Khmer and a bit of western food.

Two Dragons Restaurant:
Located in the centre of the city, this restaurant has a menu in English and a range of good Khmer food (some international dishes).

Boeng Kan Seng Restaurant:
Located in the West of the town on the lakeside this peaceful restaurant offers more than 100 Khmer and Chinese dishes.

There are also small food and drink stands along the River Parkway.

 

Where to Stay

Pounleurasemei 2 Guesthouse:
Names this long should be illegal. Its good value at US$ 5 for a fan room and US$ 10 a/c. The rooms have a Western bath and some have a view of the river.

Chamnortunle Guesthouse: (A shorter name than the neighbour, but not by much.)
There is a nice second-floor terrace over looking the Mekong River. There are US$ 3 fan rooms on the third floor. The other rooms have a Western bath and TV added. US$ 5 for a fan room and US$ 10 for adding a/c.

These next four places are close to the market ad river:

7 January Guesthouse:
Its a dive, but at 5,000 riel thats what you get. It has a share bath and a second-floor terrace.

Angkor Thom Guesthouse:
Same as the 7 January, US$ 30 on a monthly basis.

Chann Chhaya Guesthouse:
Its the same as the others at 5,000 riel.

Nava Guesthouse:
In the middle of the pack of the three others. There are small, clean rooms with a Western bath in each room at US$ 5 a night.

Monorom Guesthouse:
Newly refurbished, they now have nice rooms with TV, fan, Western bath for US$ 5, adding a/c puts the cost at US$ 10. There is karaoke on the premises and the place always has working girls hanging around making this place fairly lively for Kampong Cham. Its located behind the Mekong Hotel.

Bopharik Guesthouse:
It has a nice terrace overlooking the market, Simple fan rooms with Western bath for US$ 5, $ 10 for a/c.

Bopear Guesthose:
Located one block in from the river, its a clean and well-run place. There is also a nice second floor terrace. Western bath and a big fan room go for US$ 4.

Sengly Guesthouse:
This place has simple rooms with attached bath for US$ 4 w/fan or US$ 10 a/c.

Hakly Guesthouse:
Unfriendly staff makes this place a bad choice even though the rooms are fairly decent.

Kimsrun Guesthouse:
A simple place with a small restaurant on the premises. US$ 3 a night.

Shopping

Kampong Cham market has a gaudy look similar to that of the Central Market in Phnom Penh, and it has a complete supply of just about anything that you may need. A night market springs up on the western side in the evening. There are plenty of photo shops and pharmacies on the perimeter roads.

Where to see

Chhrouy Chek
Chhrouy Chek is a name of the place that was built for stocking water to irrigate the rice fields. Its beautiful flora and water sources have made it a popular location for Kampong Cham dwellers to visit, especiallly on weekends and holidays. Young people in particular enjoy swimming there.

The site is about 15 kilometers from the provincial town, north of Kampong Seim District. The road is good, and there are lots of food stands along the way. Some food can be served with no waiting. There are also floating houses that can be rented for 2,000Riel (USD0.50), where visitors can sit and relax. Boats are also available to rent.

Chhrouy Chek dam was built from 1975 to 1978, during the Khmer Rouge regime, for the purpose of storing water to grow rice during the dry season. Many Cambodians died while building this dam, and others were killed by the Khmer Rouge. The place where they died is called Prey Tranoab.
 

Haong Waterfall
The site is a mountain that features a cliff and waterfall. Inaccessible at one time, it has become a popular tourist destination in Kampong Cham province. There might be no other place like Haong in the province, where visitors can see real nature. Those who have visited will never forget the jungle and the beautiful waterfall thpt is perfect for swimming. Buddhists often come there to pray to the Buddha statue and to seek blessings from the monk who lives there. According to local authorities, there are 1,800 hectares of jungle at Haong. Some of the trees have been cut by local villagers to clear land to farm. Haong is in Memut district on the border of Tambe district, about 90 kilometers east of the provincial town. The road to Haong is desolate, so it is recommended that visitors either take a tour there or travel with a group of people. At one time, Haong was entirely jungle. Then a monk named Prak Mony arrived there, and Haong began to change. Today, monks live there and a pagoda is being built. A visit to Haong is an unforgettable experience.

 

Kings Residence
Its been unused for over three years, and the local government has let the outside building and grounds go in a way that does not show much respect for the monarchy.

 

Koh Pen Beach
2km (2mn) From Provincial Town. Operations of Recreation Park and Beaches, Location: Kampong Cham & Kampong Siem District.
 

Man-Made Resort Of Teuk Chha
Next to the temple, there is a canal existing since the ancient time. The canal has water all year round, either dry or raing seasons; water which is clear and non-stopped flowing which leads to attracting tourists to enjoy it happily. On either side of the clear-water canal, there are plants and trees growing; but now these plants and trees have been cut off to make a big plain where the wast water spreads out at the rock temple.

In order to take advantage from the canal, a dam has been constructed to provide water to big rice fields in Prey Chhor District, Kampong Cham Pronvice and in Ba Ray District, Kampon Thom province. Because the area is the cool place with great quantity of water and cool shadow from the trees that are growing around the ancient temple, these can sometime attract tourists to visit and enjoy during their holiday leading to be well known. Nowadays, the ancient pond, which we described as the achievement of Dr. Chung Kheal is the wast-water pond located in front of the dam that has been just constructed recently. The canal has water flowing from above and has source at the North in Kampong Cham province; the water flows from the North to the East, when touching a side of the temple, it flows down into a big slit. From the ancient time, the slit has been full of water; but there are small currents of water shared from the slit, then flow into rice fields of the surrounding villages such as Kroch village in Sre Chhor District as well. Because the canal is old, the Ministry of Agriculture has organized a dam for stocking water in order to accelerate the water flow of the canal to thousand Hectars of rice fields in districts of Prey Chhor and Ba Ray. The canal of Teuk Chha has corner where they can enjoy swimming; if someone like swimming in the shallow water, he/she can swim in the old canal, North of the dam because the bottom of the old canal has four-meter or five-meter width. The clear water, we can see its bottom with flock of small fish swimming in reverse direction to the water flow. If some one like swimming in deep water, he can swim in a wast water, South of the dam. Around the Slit of the canal bank, there is a high tree which provide shelter to tourists and birds. The water surface of Teuk Chha has appoximate 3-square kilometre size filled by nearly 10 sources at the Northeast Mountain and plateau called Kbal Teuk. The tank of stocked water has appoximately more than two-metre depth and pours to three accesses: two accesses via the dam can be closed and opened, and another one is the 10-meter Slit, North of the dam. The first dam is opened every day

 

Nokor Bachey Temple
Nokor Bachey temple is a cultural and historical site. It is located 2.2 kilometers from Kampong Cham provincial town along National Road 7, about 122 kilometers northeast of Phnom Penh. Visitors traveling from Phnom Penh will see the gate to the pagoda on the right. The temple was built in the middle of the 11th century, during the reign of Suryavarman II and King Ouphey dedecating to Brahmanism. The temple is about 200 meters inside the gate. The site is accessible
to almost all types of vehicles. The temple is divided as follows:

Tonie Om
Tonle Om is a pond about 400 by 500 meters in area, about 300 meters east of the temple.
First Gallery
The first gallery surrounds the temple. It is about 3 meters high and 2.5 meters wide. Today much of the first gallery has been damaged. Points of interest in the gallery include six lion statues at the entrance to the second gallery; eight statues of Naga behind the six lions; and two statues of Asura(a Titans that are enemies of humans) that guard both sides of the entrance.
Second Gallery
The second gallery features two statues of Decho Dam Din, the commander of the army, two statues of Asura, and two ponds, both 20 meters square, located between the first and the second galleries. The ponds are full of lotus flowers and never dry up, even in the dry season.
Third Gallery
The third gallery, wider than the first two galleries, has entrances on all four sides. This gallery includes statues of Vishnu with eight arms and the other with four on either side of the main entrance.
Fourth Gallery
The fourth gallery is constructed of laterite and was built like a room. It has eight entrances.

Once visitors reach the center of the temple, they will see a high sandstone peak topped with a statue of Buddha facing north, south, east and west. Nokor Bachey temple is one of large compared to other temples in Cambodia. It is the main gathering place for Kampong Cham province and other cities and province dwellers.
 

Phnom Han Chey
Han Chey Mountain has official name Chey Kiri Mountain located at the East of Kampong Cham province, at the northern part of Mekong River. This resort located at Han Chey village, Han Chey commune, Kampong Siem District in the distance of 18 kilometres by water and 20 kilometres by land. The mountain can be climbed up by 295 beautiful stair steps, and has pagoda and the temple of Kuk made of ancient solid bricks each has seven-square meter size.

In addition, there is another temple having square shape made of sandstone located at the North of pagoda; at the valley of the mountain, there is another temple called Pra Sat Neang Khmao made of stones each has seven-square metre size. The mountain of Han Chey has beautiful scenary and also has many visitors; the international visitors who go there as group by boat. Recently, there are many tourist sites which have been found in the province Kampong Cham; but not yet operated for tourists to visit. Along the Mekong River, there are a beautiful bank and island of Pen, which have been needed by the provincial visitors ho visit there during the Khmer New Year festival.

 

Phnom Srey and Phnom Pros
Han Chey Mountain has official name Chey Kiri Mountain located at the East of Kampong Cham province, at the northern part of Mekong River. This resort located at Han Chey village, Han Chey commune, Kampong Siem District in the distance of 18 kilometres by water and 20 kilometres by land. The mountain can be climbed up by 295 beautiful stair steps, and has pagoda and the temple of Kuk made of ancient solid bricks each has seven-square meter size.

In addition, there is another temple having square shape made of sandstone located at the North of pagoda; at the valley of the mountain, there is another temple called Pra Sat Neang Khmao made of stones each has seven-square metre size. The mountain of Han Chey has beautiful scenary and also has many visitors; the international visitors who go there as group by boat. Recently, there are many tourist sites which have been found in the province Kampong Cham; but not yet operated for tourists to visit. Along the Mekong River, there are a beautiful bank and island of Pen, which have been needed by the provincial visitors ho visit there during the Khmer New Year festival.

 

Preah Theat Teuk Chha
Located at Kro La Commune, Kampong Siem District in Seven- kilometers distance from the provincial town of Kampong Cham or 114-kilometers distance from Phnom Penh with exceeding 500 Metres to the left. The pagoda of Phnom Pros has official name called What Sovan Kiri Rotanak Phnom Pros; in 1000 Meters to the North, there is another mountain, which has pointed peak called Phnom Srey. North of the Phnom Srey, there are ranks of mountains such as mountains of Dang Rek, Ba Ley and Chhuk. The mountain of Pros has dull peak and has approximate 30-metre height. It can be reached by road until the top. At the top, there are a high-five peak temple adapted the model of Bontey Srey temple and two pagodas closed to each other: one is the old pagodas having two peaks built in Sang Kum Reas Niyum time and the other one is being built. Under the temple, there is a big statue with 15-metre height built by the first dead of pagoda, named Keo So. At the mountain base, there are Kot for monks staying.

In addition, at the top of Pros Mountain we can view the beautiful scene of Kampong Cham province. From 1975-1979, the mountain of Pros was a big detention place for torturing Cambodian people in Kampong Cham province. The mountain of Srey has pointed peak and can be climbed up by 308 Stair steps. At the top, there is a ruined temple, with a few nuns and no monks who stay to maintain and collect contribution to rebuild the temple. In this resort, there are many local people who go there during the Khmer traditional festivals such as Khmer New Year and Pchum Ben.

 

Prey Nor Kor Knong-Krau Temple
Is an ancient site located at the Southeast of Kampong Cham province, at Prey Nor Kor village, Daun Tey Commune, Ponhea Krek district in the distance of 42 Kilometers from the provincial town of Kampong Cham. Prey Nor Kor Knong-Krau temple can be accessible by the National Road No 7 and turn right by a trail at Dam Nak Cha village. This resort has five trails at the public gathering place of Daun Tey Commune such as: - The trail at the public gathering place of Knar has six-kilometre distance. - The distance from the main road to Preah Theat is five kilometers. - he distance from the main road to Preah Theat is five kilometers.

The distance from the trail to Dam Nak Cha is 10 Kilometres. - The distance from Poan Chrey to Prey Nor Kor Knong is 5.3 Kilometres. The resort of Prey Nor Kor Knong-Krau temple is the gathering place where the local people and tourists meet each other for enjoying popular games and religious purpose during the traditional festival. The Temple of Prey Nor Kor has the same form to the temple of Sam Bour Prey Kuk, and it was built in the 9th century. Until the assassinated plan set up by the princess of Kun Bot he had mobilized troop to fight successfully against the princess. Prey Nor Kor Knong-Krau temple has 2500-square meter landarea consisting of: - Thum Temple: Located on high hill of the Khoeun of present temple. It included three temples made of solid brick: one at the left was completely damaged and other two temples remain good forms. Inside these two temples, there are some statues and broken ancient objects remain. The local people believe that the temples have been protected and maintained by sacred spirit if tourists would like to photograph the two temples, they should light incense to pray for allowance first otherwise the picture of the two temples do not appear in their cameras.- Preah Theat Temple: Located at the East of Thum temple. It included six temples, which were damaged by war. At the present, there is one temple remains but it is almost collapsed because of digging in search of treasure. - Preay Theat Pond: Located at the Northeast of the Thum temple. At that time, there was a Pond called Ku Teuk. - Koh An Det or Kor Prak (30 meter length by 20 meter width): or another name called Sras Toem located at the North of the village. - Tum Nup or Kam Pheng Poat Chum Vinh: Located around the city of Prey Nor Kor Knong-Krau and was planted the complex and inaccessible wild bamboo. - This dam has approximate 10-metre height, 15-metre vertical angle, and square angle; each angle has 2,500 Metres. Some parts of the dam have been damaged.
 

Teuk Chhar
Next to Preah Theat Teuk Chhar temples is a canal dug during ancient times. Water fills the canal year round, and the water is very clear and free-flowing, making it popular with tourists who enjoy bathing in it. At one time, there were many trees and plants along both sides of the canal, but they were removed to make a big plain, where the water flows alongside the main temple.

Today, the ancient pond designed by Leaksintra is a vast source of water that is contained by a dam built several years ago. The water that fills the canal flows south from Kampong Cham province, pass the temple and into the big slit, which for many years has been full of water that irrigates the rice fields of nearby villages such as Kroch village in Prey Chhar district.

Because the canal is old, the Ministry of Agriculture has built a dam to store water to supply thousands of hectares of rice fields in Prey Chhar district, Kampong Cham province and Baray district in Kampong Thom province. The surface of Teuk Chha is 3 square kilometers. The water
that fills it comes from about ten sources in the mountainous northeast and the plateau region, which is called Kbal Teuk. This basin has an average depth of 2 meters. The water flows through three channels. Any two of the channels can be closed at one time, allowing the water to flow into the
third channel and into the dam. The first channel is opened every day, and the rapidly flowing water sounds much like a waterfall, attracting many tourists. The second channel is opened only occasionally during festival days; therefore the water flow is not very strong. Water from the north channel flows only during the rainy season, because during the dry season, the water level is lower than the dam.

Because the canal of Teuk Chhar is angled like a carpenter's tool, people can swim there. Since the water is clear, visitors can watch schools of small fish swimming in opposite direction of the water flow. In addition, the trees that line the canal bank hold many birds and provide shade and shelter
to visitors. The cool climate along with the water and big trees that surround the ancient temple make this site popular with tourists and locals, who enjoy spending their holidays there. Thus, this place is very well known.

Wat Joy Tmaw
This temple is on the opposite end (north) of the river road, overlooking the Mekong.

Wat Preah Theat Thmor Da Temple
Wat Preah Theat Thma Da temple is an ancient site located in Preah Theat Thma Da village, Preah Theat commune, O'Rang Oav district, about 38 kilometers southeast of Kampong Cham provincial town. Take National Road 7 from Kampong Cham town, turn right at National Road 11 and continue on to O'Rang Oav district. The site is 8 kilometers down a dirt trail.

Wat Preah Theat Thma Da temple is 190 meters long and 60 meters wide. The temple includes Preah Theat temple and a pond that is 180 meters wide and 950 meters long. The water in the pond is very clear. It is called Tonle Sa Ngout. Along the entrance to the temple is another temple
called Preah Vihear Preah Chul Nipean. At one time there was a statue of the reclining Buddha reaching nirvana, but the statue was stolen.

There are a number of statues in Wat Preah Theat Thma Da that local people worship. They include statues of Atitep Vero, Kongchak, Hekpous, Srei Krupleak, Tuosmuk and Angkrong Pleung.

Behind the temple there is another hall Meru Mena built during French colonial times. At the front door, there is a Meru with a lintel (a horizontal beam that supports the weight of the wall above a door) that is sculpted on sandstone. Much of it has been damaged. Inside Meru, is a sculpture of Haothi Neang Umaparvati, which the Brahmans worshiped. It is believed that if a coconut is dropped into the hole inside Meru, the coconut will appear in the middle of the pond. Meru was built was on the site of an old temple.

 


 
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