Kampong Cham, Cambodia, colonial French charm with a genuine wild west feel

Kampong Cham, Cambodia, colonial French charm with a genuine wild west feel

Kampong Cham is the third largest city in Cambodia, but has yet to be heavily touristed like Phnom Penh or Siem Reap. It carries with it plenty of colonial French charm, and has a genuine "wild west" feel to it. Most travelers who do find themselves in Kampong Cham are in transit to elsewhere in the country, but those that choose to spend at least a couple of days in the provincial capital will enjoy the laid back atmosphere and quaint charm.

Most people in Kampong Cham are of course ethnic Khmer, but there is a sizeable Cham minority in the province's towns, including a disproportionately high number of Muslims and Christians.

Kampong Cham is the capital of the province of the same name. Because there is little foreign investment and no large scale tourism (almost every foreigner who comes here will be a backpacker), this city is very poor with few modern buildings, though not lacking in French architecture from the colonial period. It is similar to many other Cambodian cities, being rather dirty, with garbage a common sight. However, with the completion of a modern two-lane bridge across the Mekong, the city has begun a slow recovery from decades of irrevocable decline. The people of Kampong Cham are (like all Cambodians) very friendly and open to engaging with tourists.

If recent projects seem to be improving the state of things here (relative to other Cambodian cities), realize that both PM Hun Sen and former Phnom Penh Governor Chea Sophara are originally from this province.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.Based on a work at Wikitravel.org & Traveldudes.org.


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