Wat Maha Leap and Prey Chung Kran weaving village

Wat Maha Leap and Prey Chung Kran weaving village

Beautiful

More on Kompong Cham

Along the prettiest of waterways, 24 kilometres outside Kampong Cham, Wat Maha Leap is the last working wooden pagoda of its kind in Cambodia.

Travelfish says:
Elegance in wood. Photo by: Nicky Sullivan.
Elegance in wood. Photo: Nicky Sullivan

Each of the enormous pillars required an entire tree. Sadly, a large beam fell down in early 2012, partly destroying the central altar and access has been restricted since then—although a smile and donation should find the key.

We found Wat Maha Leap, while not as large, to be reminiscent of the magnificent Wat Phra That Lampang Luang in northern Thailand. Beside the temple, monks pray and converse in their red, stilted dormitories and you may see an old woman arranging betel nut to dry in the sun. At the rear of the wat is a stupa-strewn cemetery and an unexceptional reclining Buddha, plus a yellow cremation tower.

A small donation to interested parties should help to see you in. Photo by: Nicky Sullivan.
A small donation to interested parties should help to see you in. Photo: Nicky Sullivan

In wet season, the area beyond the Buddha is often totally under water, and covered in lily pads. Horses, cows and goats meander throughout the grounds. Follow the dirt path to the end and you’ll find palm trees rigged with ladders and friendly villagers drinking sweet syrup. The men who tap the trees enjoy offering their nectar. Highly recommended.

The trip from Kompong Cham is best in the early morning, before the sun is high and when there is a better selection of boats docked in two places, near the underpass of the Kizuma Bridge and almost directly across from Mekong Crossing hotel. Alternatively, secure the services of a motodop (or ride yourself if you are experienced with unsealed roads) to take the same route as horse-drawn tobacco carts (you will need your GPS or a decent spattering of Khmer to find it, as there are some ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 300 words.)

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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.

Tours in Cambodia



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