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KAMPONG CHAM - CAMBODIA

This city 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 travellers 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.
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?
The 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.

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