Kampong Cham in Cambodia is the third largest city of the country. This city has proximity to Phnom Penh, and functions as the significant trading and transportation hub. Tourists today have known about Kampong Cham and visited it on a daily basis. Though the destination is noted for the countryside scenarios, it is also charming with the tranquil riverscape, beach, and holy temples. If you travel to Cambodia, just don’t miss Kampong Cham!
About Kampong Cham
Kampong Cham City can be reached either by waterway or land at ease. Predominantly, the tourists prefer traveling to Kampong Cham once they already discover Phnom Penh, as the two cities are closely connected. Kampong Cham itself is pretty with the busy morning river scenery and the grand boulevard streets. And, the most remarkable attractions in this area include King’s Residence, Koh Ben Beach, Nokor Bachey Temple, and Preah Theat Teuk Chha. Besides, what makes Kampong Cham attractive is that it is the jump-off point to visit the other captivating destinations by boat or road to Kratie, Rattanakiri, and Mondulkiri. The mix of the old and the new in Kampong Cham makes it interesting indeed; while the new temples being built in, the ancient ruins are well-kept. With no massive tourism (because most tourists who come to this remote site are the backpackers), nature here remains tranquil and primitive. Meanwhile, people are extremely chummy and hospitable. They treat the backpackers as the long-time-no-see friends.
Most Captivating Attractions in Kampong Cham
The King’s Residence is a significant tourist attraction in Kampong Cham. This site was the dwelling headquarter of the monarchs of Cambodia in the past, comprising an outside building for the local people to meet the King. The Residence used to be abandoned for a period. All of the monarchal events in Cambodia were held in the King’s Residence so that this Residence had been the inaudible onlooker of the glory and grandeur of the Cambodian monarchs. When visiting this site today, you see the captivating fountain, many multi-functional chambers, and some local people gathering there. The local elders prefer to have a walk and gather at this site in the afternoon. Perhaps, they want to be back in time for a while right in the splendid King’s Residence.
Koh Pen Beach
Koh Pen Beach is a touristy beach and a recreation park of Kampong Cham in Cambodia. This beach is only 2km from the Kampong Cham Town, and it gains fame for the spectacular sight and pleasurable atmosphere. Today, more and more beach lovers visit this beach via motorcycle, car, or bus. On par with many other pristine and beautiful beaches in Cambodia, Koh Pen Beach is the paradise for various beach activities, from sunbathing to playing water sports. Lots of fun recreational games for you to try. Coming to this popular beach as wells the entertaining park, the holidaymakers can discover the charm of Koh Pen – the natural gem of Kampong Cham as well as the whole Cambodia.
Nokor Bachey Temple
This temple holds the cultural, religious, and historical value. It was erected in the 11th century, under the reign of King Suryavarman I and King Ouphey who dedicated Nokor Bachey to Brahmanism. The whole temple looks scenic and eye-catching from the first sight. In general, it can be divided into four distinct, long buildings. The first building was made of laterite stones and included figures of Six Lions, Eight Dragon, and Two Devils. The second long building had gorgeous architecture and contained statues of the two Devils. The third long building consisted of the eight-hand statue of Preah Norey set nearby the entrance. And, the fourth long building was also built from laterite stone and hosted the sandstone Buddha statue. Overall, Nokor Bachey Temple is impressive, and the four long and religious buildings in the temple are all valuable. The divine statues inside each building ask the later generations to respect and protect them rightly. Provided that you appreciate the merit of history and spirituality, the antique 11th-century Nokor Bachey is the must to praise for.
Phnom Srey and Phnom Pros
Phnom Pros is the important pagoda in Kampong Cham while Phnom Srey is the captivating mountain, around 1000m to the north of the pagoda. The complex of pagoda and mountain makes this site appealing to the tourists. In the top of the mountains in this area, you can view the whole of Kampong Cham that is beautiful and primitive. Know that both Phnom Srey and Phnom Pros are the historical sites that hold the priceless culture and heritage of the Khmers. There also stand out several legends regarding these hills. Legendary and historical, Phnom Srey and Phnom Pros are all beautiful, especially during the sunrise. People usually see Phnom Srey as the ideal place for sightseeing the whole charming Kampong Cham while Phnom Pros is the nice relaxation spot for the stress-free weekend.
Preah Theat Teuk Chha
This group of the temples is around 39km from Kampong Cham Town. The temple sites of Preah Theat Teuk Chha were erected in AD 1005, during the era of King Suryavarman I. The religious complex were dedicated to Hindu gods, and some of the temples housed a Shiva lingam as well as the divine statues in Hindu mythology. The architect of this complex was Leaksintra. Once constructed, Preah Theat Teuk Chha was used for religious practices from King to King. While some practiced Brahmanism, the other followed Mahayana Buddhism. Therefore, the temples in this complex were impacted by both Brahmanism and Buddhism. By years of wars, many temples were eliminated and damaged. Today, some temples are rebuilt for both spirituality and tourism purposes, thanks to the accurate scientific works. Truly speaking, the presence of this temple complex on the ground of Kampong Cham brings the city the sense of antiquity that only few can compare.
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How to Get to Kampong Cham in Cambodia
If traveling from Phnom Penh to Kampong Cham, it takes 2 hours and might cost 10,000 riels, for instance. That boat will depart on the Phnom Penh side of Tonle Sap River and run toward the destination. Note that the bullet boats often don’t work during the rainy season; therefore, this means of transport is not used by many people.
Motorcycle and Car
If you have a motorcycle or a car, ride it to Kampong Cham! Make sure you do research about the driving route in advance carefully to prevent getting lost. And if even you get lost, be confident to ask the local people; some are friendly to help.
Bus, Coach, and Taxi
In the case of the bus, you can take buses of Hoh Wat Gentling Bus Company or Sorya Bus Company (168) to and from Kampong Cham every day. The major bus arrival and departure are at Kampong Cham Market. For the air-conditioned trip from Phnom Penh to Kampong, you can decide to take either coach or taxi. While coaches are run in the fixed prices, the taxi can be bargained over charges. Therefore, be mindful of using your bargaining skill! Luckily, the road condition in Kampong Cham is quite good. More fascinating, the driving route is scenic with the green and picturesque scenery, and you will be pleased to pass by some of the most remote landscapes in Cambodia.