We added Kampong Cham to our list so we could get to know the smaller Cambodian city. We plan to explore the local landscape, including the Mekong River, which is the seventh largest river in Asia. Kampong Cham is not a well-known and touristic city, but we do not mind. So we get on the bus again, this time we traveled Sorya Bus and we are ready for another adventure. We would like to mention that although Cambodia is poor country it has an expensive bus service ( compared to other states in SoutheastAsia). Sorya is one of the better companies, and yet their buses are not the newest and have experienced a lot.
Must see and visit places in Kampong Cham
Honestly there is not much to discover in Kampong Cham, one or two days should be enough. We spent there three days and were quite bored. Rather, it is about absorbing the atmosphere of the Cambodian city, seeing the lives of local people and admiring Buddhist monuments.
1. Bamboo bridge
By 2018, a new bamboo bridge was built annually between Kampong Cham and Koh Pen Island. Why new? Because it was washed down every year in the rainy season by the Mekong River. But in 2018, they finally finished the concrete bridge to replace it. However, the locals did not like it, because the bamboo bridge attracted tourists from all over the world and therefore, since 2018, a new and smaller bamboo bridge designed for visitors is being built. Bridge measures 800 meters and admission fee of $ 0,5.
2. Phnom Srei and Phnom Pros (“Woman and Man Hills”)
Literally translated Hill for Men and Hill for Women is located about 9 km from the center of Kampong Cham. It is a pilgrimage site and a complex of shrines, temples, libraries and gardens. There are also pagodas nearby. We learned from the locals that it serves as a burial ground for people killed by the Red Khmer. We had to climb 308 stairs to get to Phnom Srei and enjoy the view of the city. We were alone in both temples and did not have to pay any entrance fee, just $ 0.5 for motorbike parking.
3. Phnom Bros Pagoda
Silver pagoda and temple are located only few metres from Woman and Man Hills. We met there lot of monkey so watch out your food and drink 🙂
4. Banteay Prey Nokor
Ruined temple with pagoda in the middle reminded us Angkor Wat temple. This one was much smaller and we did not come across a single tourist. Wat Nokor is the main temple built of black sandstone. The ruler had it built as a symbol of the unification of religion (mostly Buddhist and Hindu). In front of the main gate of the temple, corrupt tourist police are collecting unauthorized admissions of $ 1. That’s why we went through the side entrance and avoided the main one. Watch out for bikes and possibly a motorcycle. We read a few stories about how this police stole the wheels and then demanded a ransom.
5. Koh Pen Island
Koh Pen is a long and narrow island that lies in the middle of the Mekong River. Either you can reach it by bike or walk across the bamboo bridge. But if you have a motorbike, you have to drive just like us across the Koh Pen Concrete Bridge. The interesting thing about this bridge is that it is the first bridge that the Cambodians could build themselves without international help! The best activity on the island is simply to go and enjoy rural villages, countryside, fields or stalls. You can find there also richly decorated Buddhistic temples and pagodas.
6. Hanchey temple and Mekong viewpont
Hanchey temple is located approximately 20 km from the center of Kampong Cham, so a motorbike or tuk-tuk is a must for transportation here. Along the way we had the opportunity to see Cambodian villages and fields. It was a shock to us to see how the locals live and how poor they are. We read on the internet that the people of Cambodia rely on international aid, so we were not surprised when children ran to us and screamed money, money…
We reached the top of the hill on a motorcycle and enjoyed the view of Mekong. The locals are obviously prepared for tourists, as there are several stalls with food, drinks and other goods. Our well-being was again disturbed by the tourist police, who wanted to pay from us an admission fee. Moreover, we were not even in the temple, but were sitting on the lookout. Then he questioned suspiciously about where our motorbike was parked and whether we locked it (luckily we locked it). So we said we had her under the hill and we wouldn’t pay him anything and he eventually gave up and left. This is not good if you can’t even trust the police. We walked around the temple, got on a motorcycle and drove back to town. We were disgusted with this approach.
7. Night market and night life along Mekong river
Located from Mekong Crossing guesthouse and beyond along the Mekong river and opened every night. There are several snack bars, ice cream, popcorn and other snacks. We don’t know if it is happening every night, but we had the chance to see local people dancing and singing on Friday Night. We got to know the Cambodian from a different angle and it was amazing cultural experience.
Accommodation in Kampong Cham
This city is not touristic famous se there is not so much hotels or dormitory rooms. If you don’t want to make any reservation in advance, we recommend walk along the river Mekong from Mekong Crossing Guesthouse to KC River. There are usually restaurants that offer accommodation on the upper floors.
1. Mekong Crossing Guesthouse
Price: around 9 USD/night (double room)
We booked the room in this hotel because it is convenient location by the water and good ration on Booking.com. Staff and hotel owner were also very nice and even though the room was without window and wet it was OK just to overnight there. They offer affordable breakfast and main dishes. You can rent there also bicycle (2 USD/day) or motorbike (5 USD/day). More info about hotel and availability here.
2. Moon River Guesthouse
Price: around 11 USD/night (double room)
Accommodation with really good location close to river and city center. There is a restaurant downstair where you can enjoy some meal. More info about hotel and availability here.
3. Mekong Bamboo Hut Guesthouse
Something for adventure loves! If you want to spend a night in hammock in the countryside and view of Mekong river, this place is created for you! We didn’t stay there but we believe that it can be unforgettable experience 🙂 More info and review about this place here.