|Kampong Cham is the third largest city in Cambodia and the capital of the
province with the same name. 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.
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 (This
is no longer true - a campaign to clean up the town has been put in place,
resulting in a very clean, pleasant city). 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 and the current Governor is actually the PM's brother.
HOW TO GET IN?
highway between Kampong Cham city and the capital, Phnom Penh, is one of the
best in the country, being paved and divided. It runs along the Mekong, and
buses frequent this route daily, so you should have no trouble getting between
the two cities.
If you have your own motorcycle or car, the trip
will be so much faster and easier, just make sure to bring a map.
To get from Phnom Penh to Kampong Cham, there are
several options for buses. The standard rules for bussing apply here, and try
taking as early a bus as possible, to avoid arriving close to or after dusk,
where your choice of accommodation will be limited.
Taxis are a less popular and more expensive
method, costing about $10-$15 USD one way. These do, however, offer much more
comfort and speed than a bus usually does, but make sure the vehicle's air
conditioning is functional before getting in.
Trucks are also an option, but with much less
comfort than buses or taxis, and are not advised.