Quality not quantity
Published/Last edited or updated: 24th February, 2019
The tiny Kompong Thom Museum was opened in 2010 but is already gathering dust, and if it sees an average of one visitor a day we’d be surprised—we were the first visitor in days when we last swung through in early 2019.
Exhibit-wise they’ve gone for quality not quantity—there are some superb exhibits, particularly a collection of Sambor Prei Kuk and other early period lintels. There is a large map on the central wall you face as you enter which marks the staggering number of sites within the province, and as you walk around you’ll see other explanatory boards helping you understand what you are seeing.
All the favourite Angkor statue subjects are there: lions, nagas, Buddha, Lokesvara and Vishnu, in stone and in wood, along with some impressive lingas and a seventh century inscribed stele. The way they are kept is a bit concerning, some stuck in a glass storage cabinet off to the left as you walk in, but the signage is all reasonable and informative.
These exhibits are near priceless and it’s a shame more people don’t get to see it. Good as it is—and all exhibits come with English-language explanations—it would be difficult to spend more than 20 minutes here even if you peruse every item. Still, there isn’t too much else to do in town and the museum is free to enter.
The location is not ideal—a solid 30 minute walk to the north of the bridge (or a couple of minutes in a tuk tuk). If you are walking, stop off and see Wat Kompong Thom (also known as Wat Indrisamvora) on the way there or back. The grounds include a large collection of very gaudy statues depicting scenes from Buddhist mythology scattered around the grounds and a large bright yellow main worshipping hall, but some of the associated temple buildings are perhaps more interesting. The original temple dates back to the 17th century, though much of what you see is obviously of more recent date.
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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