Sunday, 25 March 2012

Kompong Cham

Thursday 15 March: Having picked-up my passport in Phnom Penh, complete with full Thai visa, I've decided to break my journey back to Siem Reap in the lazy, less touristy, provincial capital of Kompong Cham. Set on the banks of the Mekong river, it's an old colonial town with a pretty pink French lighthouse as well as an impressive Khmer bamboo bridge which crosses to one of the islands. The equally impressive new concrete bridge was the first in Cambodia to completely span the Mekong, helping give Kompong Cham renewed life as an important transport hub.
Friday 16: Cycling over the hand-built bamboo bridge to the pretty island of Koh Paen is a fantastic, if nerve racking, experience. So, I peddle a mile or so west to relax at Wat Nokor, a modern Buddhist temple built inside an ancient, 11th century, Buddhist shrine. Five miles further west is the Big Buddha complex with many modern Buddha statues in various poses. Returning back to town it's a hot exhausting ride over the Mekong to climb to the top gantry of the old French lighthouse - seen the movie vertigo?
Saturday 20: Bus to Siem Reap for three nights at the Mandalay Inn, then onto the workaday town of Sisophon for one night and an early morning start to Poipet and the Thai border.

Photos of Kompong Cham plus a video clip of early evening line dancing on the promenade.

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