The West of Cambodia


Global Mark : 11.14

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Culture Market Relax Fiesta 


3 3 2 2 3 2 3 10.29

Ratings by backpackers :

Surveyed Liked  Comeback  Recommend  Range AVER.
1 100% 0 100% 12 12.00

Description : An extended relaxed town offering both fishermen and colonialist charms

Comments : The colonial buildings may not be as nice as in Battambang and the river bank sceneries as charming as in Pursat but the full package remains attractive enough for a brief stopover. 

What to do ? Wander around the two parts of town (Fishermen's life & floating houses in the NE, colonial houses and greenery in the SW), with a 2km road bordered by houses on stilts in between / Say "hello" then "bye-bye" at every kid you meet / Make people laugh just by being there / Spot monkeys on the trees by the Park / Watch a Chinese movie with the local / Rent an house as plenty are available / Play petanque with the police / Degust great snacks / 

What you may not like ? The dusty roads / Meeting too many kids / The length of the place / The poor English of the locals / The lack of "real" attraction / The loud speakers / 

How long ? One night would be just fine. 

Where to stay ? Not too many exciting places around here, in particular after Pursat...

  • Krong Dei Meas GH, on the road to Battambang, near the Central Park & the market / Basic rooms w. shower $4 / Go there to get the price down a bit or if claustrophobic as some rooms are big & high with lots of windows / What you may not like : the lack of cleanliness even after being cleaned & the noise from the two roads
  • Sokha's GH (026 988622), south-west of the ugly Victory (or Independence) Monument / Upstairs Sgl $3, downstairs Dbl w. shower $5, one bigger & cleaner room w. HW shower $10 / Go there for the nice house set in a big relaxing garden off traffic noises & the English of the owner / What you may not like : the tiny size of the not so spotless rooms 
  • Apsara GH (026 988744), 150m after the above / Sgl or Dbl w. shower $5 / Go there for the cleanest rooms in town / What you may not like : the small house without garden nor upper floor & the lack of English spoken
  • Rithesen Hotel, by the pier, 2km from the National Rd / Sgl or Dbl w. shower $5 or $7, w. AC & outside window $10 / Go there if arriving or leaving by boat or if fond of fishermen's atmosphere / What you may not like : the claustrophobic cheaper rooms at an high price, the lack of English spoken, the noisy surroundings

Where to eat ? Plenty of food stalls all over town offer some great & original snack delicacies for R100 a piece. The market area around the park also offer naem (R300) & big spring rolls (R500), as well as the usual rice dishes, barbecued or fruit juice stalls. Better but more pricey restaurants can be found near the Victory Monument. 

 << Discover the village


Leaving Kompong Chhnang ? 

To Siem Reap : the speed boat coming from Phnom Penh should pass at around 9am and reach destination 3-4 hours later. Cost is high at $20 and there aren't apparently much to see as soon as you reach the wide Tonle Sap lake. If time, it might therefore be more interesting to go via Pursat & Battambang. 

To Pursat (2.5 hours, R5000 outside) : A few pick-up coming from Phnom Penh should have tiny space left outside. They stop opposite the Petrol Station Tela & the road toward the pier. It was recommended to show up early. 

To Phnom Penh : A boat should leave at 8am & the one from Siem Reap should pass at 10am. It cost $5 for the interesting 2 hours trip. AC Buses (K4500), minibus (K4000) or taxi (K5000) are however considered a better option. The only pick-up are the one coming from Battambang or Pursat. Buses leave at 6:45, 7:30, 9:30, 11, 12, 13, 15:30 & 16:30. Minibus leave regularly when packed. The station is just north of the Victory Monument. 

Backpacker's Tips : Helle-Mai and Jarek, Estonia & Poland (March 04)
 Boats in Kampong Cham are no more leaving in front of Mekong Hotel, look for them south from the bridge. Express boat to Kratie 5$.
Minibuses from Kampong Cham to Phnom Penh (5000R) drop the passengers few kilometers north-east from centre on the other side of river in some new minibus terminal. There are next minibuses to Central Market (1000R), but motodup drivers don't let you to get this price and want to take you themselves for 1$. Walk! Nice views from the bridge.. To Old Market area it takes 40 min walking. Or you could get another moto from the road. Can be better idea to take the big bus from Kampong Cham (8000R) and not to have this hassle as those finish around Central Market. 

The trip to Phnom Penh : SSS / R / R4500 / 2.5 hrs / AC Bus
I had been told that the AC bus would leave at 7am so I reached the station at 6:30. A nice bus was there, perfectly still. - What time does it leave ? - 6:45. But again at 6:50 : - What time does it leave ? - 7:30, the 6:45 bus left just before you arrived...
I was tempted to go by minibus but I had the choice of either waiting forever for one to fill up or get another crushing experience. Before I could decide, the bus showed signs of life. I would stick with the AC comfort after all !
This indeed proved to be the most comfortable ride I had in Cambodia so far. I therefore did not really mind that it took much longer than expected : 2h45 while quotations had been 1h30 at most. OK, we stopped a bit along the way to fill up the bus (it was full only an hour after departure), get new ticket girls (my ticket was issued by one, checked by two others and the driver asked to get it back at the end) and had a 10mn break but basically, the time difference seemed due to local's ignorance. 
In the morning, sitting on the right will have you avoid the sun. The scenery was also better on this side : a few nice colonial buildings, a few mosque, the usual lotus flower garden and, more original, the hilly Phnom Oudong in the background. We passed near the Lake and reached Phom Penh's Central Market at 10:15. 

See also the trip from Pursat