Kampong Thom in Cambodia remains attractive to the foreign nature lovers who cherish the natural gifts of lake, forest, and mountain. The tourism potentials in this destination make it ideal for ecotourism throughout the year. Also, the site is famous for an indispensable highlight of ancient temples that none wants to miss. Any trip to Cambodia will be incomplete if you ignore an appealing spot in the country map: Kampong Thom.
About Kampong Thom in Cambodia
Kampong Thom is a capital of the province with the similar name. Based on the entire area, this is the second largest province in Cambodia. Geographically, the site is bordered by Tonle Sap Lake to the west, making it the relative part of the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve. Besides, Kampong Thom province is located on the National Highway No.6 just between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. The local people mainly live on the banks of Stung Sen River. Together with the natural highlights, the destination becomes recognizable for various Angkorian monuments, and the two most outstanding sites are Prasat Sambor Prei Kuk and Prasat Andet temples. Note that there are over 2000 historical temples in the land! The religious sites exist in harmony with the natural surroundings of the tranquil lake, thick forest, and rugged mountains. In particular, the Tonle Sap Lake showers the area with an abundance of fish, rice field aquaculture, and even cashew nuts. Beautiful and wild, Kampong Thom is the fantastic jump-off point for people to begin a memorable Indochina journey. Also, this is the interesting stopover on the way to Phnom Penh or Siem Reap.
What to See in Kampong Thom
Phnom Santok (Santok Mountains)
Situated in Ko Koh Village, Phnom Santok stands beautifully, around 17km to the south of Kampong Thom town. The site refers a cluster of the four impressive mountains including Phnom Srah Kmao (or Phnom Tbeng), Phnom Champa, Phnom Kraper, and Phnom Santuk. Each of the four mountains looks highly spectacular, and especially the top of the mountains preserve the antique heritages. You can expect to see lots of Buddha statues carved from the mountain rock, the sandstone pyramid shape, the ancient wooden Tempe, and various other sculptures. The history of these heritages could be dated back to the year of 1474-1494. They withstood the ravages of time. Without a doubt, the scenery in Phnom Santok is compatible for sightseeing, and if you reach the top, do feel free to enjoy the wonderful panorama!
Prasat Andet Temple
Approximately 27km to the northwest of Kampong Thom, Prasat Andet is a magnificent temple erected in the second half of the 7th century. The creation of this temple began during the reign of King Jayavarman I. The temple was dedicated to God Hirihara and made of brick, laterite, and sandstone. According to the King’s intention, the temple faced to the East, and the lintel of the site was carefully made in the Khmer style. This is the significant and revered temple to see in Kampong Thom, and you should always include it in the itinerary.
Prasat Kok Rokar (or Preah Theat)
Around 14km from the scenic town, the temple of Prasat Kok Rokar is famous for the Khleng style at the end of the 11th century. The temple was made from sandstone and laterite during the reign of King Suryavarman I, and dedicated to God Siva. This temple also faces to the East, and the eastern entrance welcomes you to get into the site. If you look around, it’s feasible to notice the lintels and inscriptions which have been there for ages. Also, expect to see some antique objects in the surrounding area which were left by the French colony that brought these objects there from other temples. With a long history and ancient look, this temple can bring you back in time for a while and then obtain a healthy spirituality.
Preah Bat Chan Tuk
Preah Bat Chan Tuk refers to the Budda Statue which is exceptional and magnificent enough to attract the travelers. This attraction is one of the key touristy places in Kampong Thom and is often included in the tour itinerary. The favorite place of interest is famous for the revered Buddha statue as well as the bewitching landscape. Historically speaking, the site was erected in the 16th century under the reign of King Ang Chan I. This is among the biggest pride for Kampong Cham tourism. People come to visit this religious site day after day. There are many stories to tell from the carvings on the massive ancient stones here.
Wat Kampong Thom (or Wat Indrisamavora)
Nestled in Kdei Village, the Wat Kampong Thom is around 1km from the little town. It is the antique and revered temple in an area of 2,053 square meters. The temple is filled with lots of valuable statues which serve as the narrators of the Buddha stories. At the first look, you might be interested in the color and style of the fences here. It looks exceptional and colorful. In reality, this place is supposed to be the ideal place for relaxing and calming.
How to Get to Kampong Thom
The bus is the most popular means of transport to Kampong Thom. As noted, this province is set just mid-way between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, which means that it’s easy to get to Kampong Thom from either of the cities. In particular, the provincial town is 165km away from Phnom Penh, and 150km away from Siem Reap. With the basic road condition and many bus companies that take Kampong Thom the convenient stopover, you find it trouble-free to reach the destination.
The share taxi is another favorite choice to travel by road. So, check the map to see how far it is from your place to Kampong Thom, and consider the taxi charge. For instance, it might cost 12,000 Riels for a taxi from Phnom Penh, and 15,000 Riels from Siem Reap.
What’s more, if you desire for a motorcycle tour to this destination, remember to check out all direction before you go! Since the road condition is primarily okay, you don’t have to worry about it! Have a map on hand, and head toward National Highway No.6 if you start from Phnom Penh, for example!
When to Visit Kampong Thom
This part of Cambodia shares the characteristics of the country’s tropical climate. The weather is warm and humid most of the time. But for pointing out the best time to see Kampong Thom, the new guests should bear in mind the specific timeframes for the rainy, cool, and hot seasons in the destination.
- May – October: This period brings Kampong Thom with some rain, high humidity, and average temperature of 24-36 Celsius degrees. The travelers should watch out for the rain because it might ruin the road condition, make it impassable. And, September and October bring the highest rainfall!
- November – February: The cool atmosphere is dominant during this period. At the time, the average temperature is around 18-26 Celsius degree, while the lowest rate is 16. If you ask for the two coolest months here, then the answer is December and January. It’s cool and fresh.
- March – May: The hot condition in this period features an average temperature of 27-35 Celsius degrees, and April is the hottest month. Regardless of the heat, this season invites the travelers to Kampong Thom effectively thanks to the dry access as well as the sunny outdoor play.