The bamboo bridge and Koh Pen

The bamboo bridge and Koh Pen

An island escape

More on Kompong Cham

It is the longest bamboo bridge in the world, and is rebuilt every year once the rainy season passes and the Mekong subsides to reveal the sandy banks below.

Travelfish says:

Almost a kilometre long and made entirely of blonde bamboo poles, the bridge remains until it is submerged and washed away again every year when the Mekong, flush with snows from the Himalayas, surges again.

A feat of bamboo engineering. : Nicky Sullivan.
A feat of bamboo engineering. Photo: Nicky Sullivan

Only a 15-minute walk from the main riverside area, or quick hop on a bicycle or moto, the bridge is an experience in its own right. The curious rattling as vehicles of all descriptions—even trucks and, to our delight, a horse and cart—pass over it to get to Koh Pen, the very scenic island on the other side.

This is a lovely jaunt if you’re looking for a relaxing diversion, and a chance to see one of the prettier Cambodian villages we’ve come across. The island seemed to be virtually litter-free, which is painfully unusual. Along shaded lanes, wooden, stilted houses are tucked in along palm and sandalwood trees and great blooms of bougainvillea.

Koh Pen beach. : Nicky Sullivan.
Koh Pen beach. Photo: Nicky Sullivan

If you’re getting thirsty, you could drop into the Mekong Bamboo Hut Guesthouse for a cooling drink, or hit the beach on the northeastern shore of the island. You can rent a sala there for 50c, we were told, and sit back, relax and enjoy the afternoon as the sun starts to slide down in the sky behind you.

Contact details for The bamboo bridge and Koh Pen

Address: Off Sihanouk Rd, Kompong Cham
Coordinates (for GPS): 105º27'40.1" E, 11º58'39.89" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Admission: Crossing the bridge by moto costs $1, 25 cents on foot.

Reviewed by

Nicky Sullivan is an Irish freelance writer (and aspiring photographer). She has lived in England, Ireland, France, Spain and India, but decided that her tribe and heart are in Cambodia, where she has lived since 2007 despite repeated attempts to leave. She dreams of being as tough as Dervla Murphy, but fears there may be a long way to go. She can’t stand whisky for starters. She was a researcher, writer and coordinator for The Angkor Guidebook: Your Essential Companion to the Temples, now one of the best-selling guidebooks to the temples.

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