Well enough off of the tourist track to maintain an adventurous vibe, Kampong Cham is the third largest city in Cambodia but usually treated as a stopover town for travellers. Those that stick around longer will find Kampong Cham a charming secret along the Cambodia travel route, and are in for a cultural surprise that makes the city well worth a visit. Though most of the city is inhabited by ethnic Khmer people, a significant population of Cham people means a bit of cultural discovery is likely in store for your visit here.
One of the most pleasant places to visit in Kampong Cham is the rural island on the Mekong River, Koh Paen. Connected by an elaborate bamboo bridge during the dry season or by ferry during wet season, the island offers unique local experiences and the closest thing to a “beach” that you’ll find in this part of Cambodia.
There’s also the fascinating fusion temple of Wat Nokor Bachey. It combines a modern Theravada Buddhist temple with a stone-walled 12th Century Mahayana Buddhist temple creating a unique environment that’s undeniably charming and a bit bizarre.
For a peak at the area’s unique colonial heritage, head over to the Old French Lighthouse. After abandonment, it has since been renovated – and its towering view over the Mekong offers a fantastic base for the area’s amazing sunsets.
If you’ve ever wondered where rubber comes from and how it’s made, Kampong Cham is a great place to learn. As the heart of Cambodia’s bustling rubber industry, Chup Rubber Plantation Factory lets visitors take a peak around its facilities to see just how the inconspicuous rubber tree is turned into one of the world’s most useful materials.
How to get there:
By Bus: Most arrivals by bus come from Phnom Penh or Kratie. Buses arrive near Kampong Cham Market. From there you can easily find a tuk tuk or motorbike taxi to your hotel or simply walk.