KAMPONG CHAM - CAMBODIA - MEKONG RIVER
Kampong Cham is the capital of the Cambodian province of Kampong Cham. It is the third largest city in Cambodia. Kampong means 'the side of a river or any other water body' with Cham meaning Cham ethnicity of Champa. A similar Malay word 'Kampung' means 'village.'
Kompong Cham is a gateway to the real Cambodia, a land of picturesque villages, pretty wats and fishing communities. More a quiet town than a bustling city, it is a peaceful provincial capital spread along the banks of the Mekong. It was an important trading post during the French period, the legacy evident as you wander through the streets of chastened yet classic buildings.
Long considered Cambodia’s third city after Phnom Penh and Battambang, lately Kompong Cham has been somewhat left in the dust by the fast-growing tourist towns of Siem Reap and Sihanoukville. Kompong Cham remains an important travel hub and acts as the gateway to eastern and northeastern Cambodia. This role has grown thanks to the first bridge to span the Mekong’s width in Cambodia, dramatically cutting journey times to popular destinations like Kratie and Mondulkiri.
The town itself is quaint and charming with its bustling morning river scene and wide boulevard streets beside the river. Kampong Cham is a mix of the old and the new, with a new temple being built in and around old ruins and the big ferry boats taking people and goods to the other side of the Mekong, right next to the construction of the first bridge ever built here.