Our next stop in Cambodia was Kompong Chhnang (sometimes spelled Kampong Chhnang). A port city on the Tonle Sap River and capital of the province with the same name, it was an easy bus ride and figurative world away from Phnom Penh. It made a nice change from Cambodia’s capital. With a population of about 42,000 (says Lonely Planet) and not on the typical tourist’s to-do list, it felt much more down to Earth. Our visit was short but sweet.
We stayed at Sovannphum Hotel. Excellent value at USD 8 per night for a room with fan (not a/c – this was mostly fine although there were some too-hot-and-sweaty moments during the mid-day). The room was simple but clean and decently kitted out and, being at the front of the hotel, had massive windows that let in loads of light.
We mostly ate at the attached hotel restaurant which had a massive menu (literally, the thing had wooden covers and looked like it weighed about five pounds!), decent food, a totally delicious and addictive coconut smoothie, a family of resident bats and a waiter that drove Roman nuts (very friendly but he answered every request with “Why not?” 🙂 ).
Things to do
The town itself is ok but the real attractions are the outside the city. Amazing floating villages, interesting local pottery production, beautiful scenery, a lovely Wat with a peaceful hill-top temple. Details to follow in a later post but suffice to say the place is definitely worth a visit!
We got lucky and ended up with two moto drivers who were terrific guides. Easy going and interesting to talk with, Channy and Sary (no idea if that’s the correct spelling of their names!) enabled us to experience a wonderful, full day of exploration around Kampong Chhnang. They’re also really conscientious drivers – making sure we had enough breaks for photos, water, etc. Feel free to look Channy up if you’re ever there – his mobile number is 077357361. 🙂
I really enjoyed chatting with him (Roman was on the back of Sary’s bike) as we drove from site to site. Was fun answering his questions about our lives back in Switzerland and revealing hearing his experiences with and opinions on Cambodia’s politics, the presence of the NGOs, his profession as a driver, his distant dream to one day ride in an airplane…
Channy (in the window) watches a Japanese potter (at a Japanese-run NGO) at work