Sometimes, you gotta get away from the main sites to really digest what a country is really about. Sure, Phnom Penh and Siem Reap do present their fair share of sites, sounds and color. And excursions there do come highly recommended. But if you want to truly experience Cambodia, sometimes you have to go where the crowds aren’t there. Head east to Kampong Cham.
Let’s throw in some facts about this place you may have never heard of before. Kampong Cham is Cambodia’s third largest city and the capital of the province of the same name. Its location on the banks of the Mekong River and close proximity to Phnom Penh and Vietnam makes it an important trade and transportation hub between the two countries.
If you like colonial flair, this is also the place for it. A lot of French influenced buildings and structures still remain, a lot of it in tip top condition.The city has a population of just under two million people. It is a quaint and charming city with beautiful backdrops of the Mekong River and wide boulevard streets. If you are looking for a quaint and charming place, Kampong Cham certainly fits the bill.
So, what’s there to see and do in Kampong Cham? Not as much as Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Which is the appeal of the town. There are site to see though. One of which is Nokor Wat, an 11th century Angkorian temple containing a range of architecture from the era. You’ll get a double dose of ancient and the country’s sad recent history here, with bones and skulls from the Khmer Rouge’s reign also present here. There are daily Cambodian dance performances here as well. This should certainly put a smile back on your face.
Not too far from the town center is the 8th century hilltop temple of Phnom Hanchey. And yes, the view is worth the climb up. Picture time!
We’re mentioned three cities in this post. Why not visit all of them via a cruise? Start from the capital and make your way to Siem Reap with stops to this charming city as well as the similarly named Kampong Chhang. See our Cambodia tours for more options into this fascinating country.
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