Photo: Streetside drying chillies near Kompong Cham.

Things to see and do

Kompong Cham escape

We're sitting under a great old tree, on plastic chairs by the slick stirring waters of the Mekong. To our right the brilliantly lit Kasuma Bridge spans into the darkness. Beyond, the faint outline of the French-period guard tower is set. Below us a gaggle of sampans bob and bump in the river's current. Above the far bank, the moonrise lights the river in electric ghostly hues. It's midnight in ... Read more about Kompong Cham escape .

Wat Nokor
Near the Nokor traffic circle

At the centre of the ancient complex a more contemporary and brightly coloured wat has been built, but the two are set within each other like Russian dolls and are so close together that the new temple uses parts of the ancient Khmer sanctuary's laterite walls as its own exterior. The sanctuary shows signs of being rebuilt in places, but overall it is in very good condition, with a wild ... Read more about Wat Nokor .

Phrom Proh and Phnom Sray
20-minute moto ride from Kompong Cham

Phnom Proh (Man Hill) is the smaller of the two and a paved, gently sloping road leads to its summit, while the summit of Phnom Srey (Woman Hill) is reached by a 300-plus step staircase, which is a lot steeper than it looks. Phnom Srey offers splendid views over the countryside with Kompong Cham and the Mekong easily visible, while further in the distance the rising plateau of Mondulkiri can be ... Read more about Phrom Proh and Phnom Sray .

The French watchtower
Opposite Kompong Cham

The Kompong Cham Governor's house has a direct line of site to the watchtower and when a warning was needed a large fire would be lit in the tower announcing the pending danger. Today it is used to alert the motodops of the arrival of a tourist bus. If you are fine with heights, an incredibly steep staircase runs up the interior of the tower, allowing you to climb to the summit and enjoy ... Read more about The French watchtower .

Ko Paen Bamboo Bridge & Ko Paen

The island has sandy beaches, lots of fishermen and some tobacco plantations and makes for a pleasant half-day wandering or cycling around. In wet season the bridge disappears under the water and the island is only reachable by boat. For the dry season, a beach resort of gazebos and portable bars is set up next to the bridge. On the east bank of the island you can see fishermen using ... Read more about Ko Paen Bamboo Bridge & Ko Paen .

Wat Maha Leap

It looks rather bland, but the interior reveals towering gilded teak columns supporting a beautifully painted, sky blue roof. Each pillar required a whole tree. Sadly, a large beam fell down in early 2012, partly destroying the central altar and access has been restricted, although a smile and donation should find the key. We found Wat Maha Leap, while not as large, to be reminiscent of the ... Read more about Wat Maha Leap .

Prey Chung Kran Weaving village

Famous across the country for its high-quality kramas, sarongs and hol, the weavers here work under the stilted homes that line the long dirt road. You're more than welcome to take a look at the women weaving and fabrics are available for sale fresh off the loom. It takes three days to make two metres, so be prepared to pay between $50 and $90 per unit. You'll also see silks being dyed, but ... Read more about Prey Chung Kran Weaving village .

Prasat Han Chey
20km north of Kompong Cham

Han Chey is set atop a hill accessible by two roads and also a 300-step staircase, buttressed by protective lion statues. A road on the hill's south end (turn left at the crossroads with a sign that says 400m) is rocky, steep and covered in slippery wet clay during the wet season. The road on the hill's north side -- paved and gradual -- is recommended. Once at the top, visitors find a rather ... Read more about Prasat Han Chey .

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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Kompong Cham? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Cambodia.

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