Discover The Captivating Beauty of Kampong Cham in Cambodia

By Katie May

Step back in time and immerse yourself in the rich history of Kampong Cham, a province in Cambodia whose name translates to "Port of the Chams" in Khmer. The city was once a bustling trading post during the French period, and remnants of this era can still be seen today as you stroll through the charming streets lined with timeless, classic buildings. If you want to experience the perfect combination of everything Cambodia offers, Kampong Cham Province is definitely worth visiting.

Deep Dive Into The History Of Kampong Cham Province

In the past, Kampong Cham played an important role as a trading post during the French colonial period, which is reflected in the traditional architecture of the buildings that line the streets. In 2013, the region was divided into two provinces by the ruling party, with the Mekong River serving as the boundary. Kampong Cham remains on the west side of the river, while the east has become Tbong Khmum province. Despite its underdevelopment and lack of foreign investment, Kampong Cham boasts many classic French buildings from the colonial era. The completion of the Kizuna Bridge has recently brought hope for the region, as it connects the city to the northeastern parts of Cambodia and is the country's first bridge spanning the Mekong River. This project has initiated a slow recovery for Kampong Cham, which has been in a state of decline for several years.

Nokor Bachay pagoda in Kampong Cham in Cambodia 

Nokor Bachay pagoda in Kampong Cham in Cambodia 

Where is Kampong Cham located?

Nestled in the heart of the Mekong River's central lowlands lies the charming and tranquil province of Kampong Cham. Surrounded by Kampong Chhnang to the west, Kampong Thom and Kratié to the north, Tbong Khmum to the east, and Prey Veng and Kandal to the south, this province is perfectly situated to explore the beauty of Cambodia's countryside. And, with a name that translates to "Port of the Chams" in Khmer, the capital city of Kampong Cham beckons visitors with its rich history and fascinating culture.

Fun And Uniques Things To Do In Kampong Cham With Friends

Discovering the secrets of Wat Nokor

Wat Nokor is an ancient temple located in the Kampong Cham province of Cambodia. Built in the 11th century, it is one of the few remaining archaeological sites from that era. The temple is located 2.2 kilometers from Kampong Cham provincial town along National Road 7, about 122 kilometers northeast of Phnom Penh. The Nokor Bachey Temple is divided into four buildings and the biggest is 421 meters by 371 meters in dimension. It is believed that Jayavarman VII used this as his headquarters for a time, from where he extended his influence over nearby principalities. Wat Nokor is a fascinating historical site that offers visitors a glimpse into Cambodia's rich cultural and religious heritage.

Discovering the secrets of Wat Nokor 

Discovering the secrets of Wat Nokor 

Admire the beauty of the French Colonial Watchtower

The banks of the Mekong River in Kampong Cham offer a spectacular view of the iconic French Colonial Watchtower, built back in the 1900s. This tower was constructed as a guard post for the river, serving as an important trading port for the French during that era. Visitors are immediately transported back in time as they witness this magical structure that exudes the grandeur of its past. Don't miss the chance to climb the steep staircase to the top, where you'll be rewarded with breathtaking views of Kampong Cham City and the majestic Kazuna Bridge.

Experiencing the magic of Apsara Dance performances

If you're a fan of performance arts and looking to experience the rich cultural traditions of Cambodia, then be sure to catch an Apsara dance performance at Nokor Wat. These stunning shows are usually held on weekends and holidays at around 5 pm, and showcase the classical Khmer dance style, often featuring religious or mythological themes. The colorful and intricate costumes add to the enchanting ambiance, making it a memorable experience for all.

Experiencing the magic of Apsara Dance performances 

Experiencing the magic of Apsara Dance performances 

Explore the boundless beauty of Wat Maha Leap

An enchanting temple to explore beyond the city limits is Wat Maha Leap. It stands out for being one of the few remaining wooden pagodas. Once serving as a hospital by the Khmer Rouge, the original ornaments were hidden from view, but have since been carefully restored by devoted monks. You can observe the monks living and praying in a nearby building. Another captivating pagoda situated just outside the city is Wat Hanchey. Dating back to at least the 8th century, this temple atop a hill provides breathtaking views of the Mekong River and its surroundings.

Learning traditional weaving techniques from local artisans

The weaving villages in Kampong Cham Province, especially those around the city, are a must-visit for anyone interested in traditional crafts. Among these is Prek Changkran, where weaving is a way of life, and almost every home has a loom. The village is renowned for producing the traditional Cambodian krama, a versatile piece that locals use as a scarf, bandanna, or decoration. The region is also renowned for its locally produced silk, which is used to create many of the garments woven here. So, take a break from the city hustle and bustle and witness the art of weaving up close in these charming villages.

Getting Around Kampong Cham: A Guide To Transportation In Cambodia

  • Bus to Kampong Cham

If you're leaving from Phnom Penh, Sorya and GST services offer daily buses to Kampong Cham, taking around 3 hours and costing only US $7 for a one-way ticket. Sorya has more frequent buses and you can purchase your ticket at the counter. Alternatively, most minibusses stop at the petrol station near the Mekong bright roundabout for a brief time, providing slightly more comfort and speed than a bus.

  • Boat to Kampong Cham

Slow boats are a more affordable and secure transportation option than speedboats, although they operate slower. In addition, slow boats follow a fixed route, while speedboats have reduced their frequency of service.

Slow boats is a more affordable and secure transportation option 

Slow boats is a more affordable and secure transportation option 

  • Car to Kampong Cham

Kampong Cham has road links in good condition to major Cambodian cities, so it’s convenient to travel by private means of transport. It is proactive to control your itinerary, but driving via the highway may make you insecure and feel exhausted.

In summary, Kampong Cham is not only a stopover for tourists transiting to other parts of the country, but Kampong Cham is also a great destination to spend a few days discovering its rustic atmosphere and quaint charm. Kampong Cham offers not only a rustic atmosphere but also an authentic charm that is unmatched by any other destination. As you explore the streets of the city, you will discover remnants of the colonial past along with modern developments that give it a unique character. In particular, what really sets Kampong Cham apart is its people - warm, hospitable, and always ready to share their culture and customs with visitors. If you are looking for a truly authentic Cambodian experience, then Kampong Cham is the place to be. Come and discover for yourself the magic of this charming city!

If you want to visit this wonderful land, what are you waiting for? You can apply for a Cambodia e-visa within minutes to obtain an access permit, but it is important to verify whether your nationality meets the e-visa requirements beforehand. With an e-visa, you can visit Cambodia at any time, provided that the visa is still valid. Cambodia Immigration Services hope this article provides you with useful information about the Kampong Cham in Cambodia. Let us know if you'd like any revisions or if there's anything else we can help with.

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