Kampong Cham

Prior to visiting Cambodia, I had never heard of Kampong Cham, I wasn’t really sure what to expect of it.

It was quite a small town with a market place in the centre and it sits on the banks of the Mekong river – like so many other towns.

When we arrived in Kampong Cham, we were greeted by the usual tuk tuk drivers but just nowhere near as many as normal. This was because we were the only Western faces on the bus. It looks like a lot of tourists tend to miss out this part of the country.

We told the driver what the name of our hotel was and asked how much it was to get there. He said it was nearby so we could just pay whatever we wanted to pay.

Half jokingly, I offered $1 and he was fine with that. It only took a few minutes to get to our accommodation. We checked in and were impressed by the fact that the room had a fan with a remote control on the wall.

The beds were comfortable and the room was clean so that was our two requirements met – all boxed ticked, we went out on search of some dinner.

Near where the bus dropped us off, we noticed a market so we made our way there to find that it was closing up. But near that was another market looking place which had a few things to eat.

As this wasn’t much a tourist area we were a bit unsure on what we’d be getting for dinner. But we were served by a woman who, with some pointing and nodding, was able to work out that we were looking for dinner.

A massive plate of soup later, we went for a walk around. On the face of it, there wasn’t a massive amount of things to do in the area but there was enough to fill up a few days.

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One of the main attractions was the bamboo bridge which takes you to a small island where a load of local people live. There is one guesthouse on the island. The bridge shows how strong bamboo is as motoribkes, people walking, 4 x 4s and cyclists were all passing over the bridge.

When the rainy season arrives and the water levels rise each year, the bridge falls apart so every year, it has to be rebuilt.

It’s quite a long bridge so I can only imagine how difficult the rebuilding job must take. We had a bit of time walking round the island. The island offers an insight into more traditional way of life. The majority of the houses were wooden with steel roofs and there were cows and chickens all over the place.

A lot of the houses had small fields and you could see the local people out working on the fields. Most of them, especially the children, were happy to see tourists and you were met with a happy wave and a hello.

After a bit of walking around, we found our way to the one guesthouse. It wasn’t to stay there we just fancied something to drink and a wee break from the sun. A French couple who were staying there informed us that the owner had gone away and would be back later.

But they should us where the drinks were kept so we helped ourselves and as we went to sit down, we found a new friend. A puppy was running around and came over to see what we were up to.

After playing around with it for it a bit and establishing that it had a liking for shoes, we sat down to enjoy the view over the river.

From where we were sitting, we couldn’t see the bamboo bridge and couldn’t hear very much happening either. We could see some local people down at the river with their fishing nets. Some were working on wooden boats too.

The dog, after a while, gave up on the shoes and seemed quite happy with the cushions that were near where we were sitting and had a great time fighting with them.

By the time we left, it was a close call but I think the dog was winning in the dog v cushion fight.

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