Colonial building in Kraties CAMBODIA UNCOVERED

Experience authentic Khmer culture


Trips North East of Phnom Penh

A great way to experience Cambodia is to visit the provinces. Few tourists venture off the Phnom Penh-Siem Reap-Angkor Wat route so you will be rewarded with an authentic holiday where you are often the only tourist amongst the local population. Trips can be organised to the following places:

Kampong Cham

It is possible to drive to Kampong Cham visiting various villages along the way and staying in Kampong Cham overnight. Or for the adventurous or those who love boats, you can take Neang Niak and spend a couple of days reaching the river port witnessing life on the river and observing the various activities in villages on the way

Kampong Cham is a large province with more than 1 million inhabitants. There is plenty of agriculture including mung bean, peanut and sesame seed fields, kapok orchards, tobacco growing, various fruits including custard apples, pineapples, breast milk fruit, cashews and bananas. Depending on the season you may also see fruit and vegetables being dried (chilli, mango) or fermenting (cucumber or white radish). You will see regional foods being sold along the side of the road including tarantulas, sticky rice barbecued in bamboo, cassava, barbecued maize and rice flour sweeets. Fishing is a large industry also and you will see many fishing activities when on the river or driving along its banks

If not travelling by boat, we will take you off the highway and travel on the road close to the river where you can see many local activities including water jar making, mat weaving, blacksmiths, brickworks, noodle making, tobacco drying, incense making, tofu skin being made, other cottage industries as well as fruit and vegetable growing

As with most other provinces, there are numerous temples within the province including pre-Angkorian (Wat Hanchey) and Angkorian (Wat Nokor). Wat Hanchey lies north of the town on the river. There are wonderful views of the river meandering through the landscape from this temple. If you travel further to Kraties with Cambodia Uncovered you will pass this temple and it is worth a stop. There are ancient Khmer inscriptions in stone some of which can be read by Souen (trained in Pali and Sanskrit when a monk). Nokor Wat in the town of Kampong Cham is a small temple with few tourists. If one is interestd in architecture, the Angkor Empire or history, then both of these temples should not be missed

A few large islands in the Mekong grow significant amounts of fruit, vegetables, kapok and tobacco. During the dry season, a bamboo bridge, large enough for 1 tonne trucks to travel over is rebuilt and used for the dry months. In the wet season, the bridge is submerged and boat transport takes over from trucks. If you are visiting in the dry season it is worth seeing (and travelling over) this unusual bridge to the island. The narrow roads make for a wonderful trip to see normal village life on this island where gardens are well established and tended, there is an abundance of fruit and vegetables grown in the fields, horse and ox carts are readily seen and tobacco barns with drying tobacco line the side of the roads

Other activities in Kampong Cham can include a visit to Wat Maha Leap, a very old wooden temple which survived the Khmer Rouge days or a visit to an 'ikat' silk village where many families are involved in this ancient art form. As silk prices rise, more and more people are unable to make a living from weaving however some families persist as they have been weaving for many years

Only two or three star accommodation is available in Kampong Cham however better hotels will probably spring up in the near future (as they have in other provincial towns)
From Kampong Cham, one can either continue north east to Kraties, Stung Treng, Rattanakiri or Mondulkiri or for those you have little time, you may prefer to travel onto Siem Reap via Kompong Thom

Chhlong and Kraties

The nicest way to travel from Kampong Cham to Kraties (if not going by boat)) is to travel along the river stopping to see various village activities and enjoy the river as you meander along the banks. Busses always take the most direct route not allowing one to stop and observe interesting architecture, cottage industries or see different crops growing. With Cambodia Uncovered you will spend a day travelling on the river roads, crossing on a ferry and observing life close up. There will be plenty of tobacco grown so you can stop and see the tobacco drying sheds, various vegetables growing, drying or fermenting, watch fishermen use various techniques to catch their dinner and for those interested in architecture, you will notice the changes in both the temple roofs and houses. You will go through Chhlong, a quaint town which sits on the river 30 or 40 minutes west of Kraties

Once in Kraties you will enjoy the peace and tranquility of this small town where beautiful sunsets can be seen over the Mekong. The province is home to both the vulnerable Irrawaddy dolphin and the critically endangered giant soft shelled turtle. Trips to see the dolphins in their natural habitat - deep Mekong pools - can be arranged and for those interested in conservation, you may like to visit the very low key Mekong Turtle Conservation Centre. In 2007 the once thought to be extinct turtle was found north of Kraties. Conservation International (an international NGO), in collaboration with monks in a local temple, the government Fisheries department and the Association of Buddhists for the environment, established a community led nest protection programme. A small centre can be visited and one can see the hatchlings that are protected until they are 10 months old before they are returned to the river areas

We can either leave you in Kraties to explore for a day or two or we can take you further north or north east to the provinces of Stung Treng, Rattanakiri or Mondulkiri

Stung Treng

Stung Treng is rarely visited and often only passed through by persons travelling between Laos and Cambodia. However it is a lovely town and there are numerous activities available within the province for those interested in nature, beauty and adventure. Boat or road trip to the Mekong waterfall on the border with Laos is a spectacular site as are the flooded forests of the Mekong in the stretch between Stung Treng and the border. During the dry season, the trees previously flooded during the wet, display their root systems which are incredibly intriguing and well worth seeing. For bird watchers, there are lovely islands within the Mekong that are a haven for various birds including hornbills, parrots, cormorants and egrets. For the really serious birdwatchers, there are critically endangered giant and white shouldered ibis in remote areas close to Stung Treng. See Sam Veasna Centre for more details
For those who are really adventurous, kayaking on the Mekong is also possible in and around Stung Treng. Ask and we can help you organise this if you are interested
Within the town of Stung Treng, a 'must see' is the Stung Treng Women's Development Centre where sericulture has been established and silk dyeing and weaving is taught to local women. The entire process from silk worms being fed, cocoons spun, the silk then removed and spun into raw or fine silk before being dyed and then woven can be seen. The women participating are also provided with health and literacy education and childcare and kindergarten is provided for their children to enable them to attend the training then continue to work if they wish. There is a cafe with attached gallery displaying their finished products available at the site.

From Stung Treng one can now travel by very good road to Siem Reap or Kampong Thom - via the province of Preah Vihear. The first half of the road is through northern forests and is a much quicker (and more pleasant) trip than retracing one's footsteps back through Kampong Cham. The direct road to Siem Reap passes the temple complex of Koh Ker which, due to its distance from Siem Reap is rarely visited by the thousands visiting Angkor Wat each day. For those very interested in history and archeology, one can delay one's arrival in Siem Reap by a day and stop to see the remote Preah Khan temple in Preah Vihear province. Overnight will be spent in Kampong Thom (2 or 3 star accommodation only) before visiting the pre Angkorian temples of Sambor Prey Kuk prior to proceeding onto Siem Reap and Angkor Wat

Rattanakiri and Mondulkiri

Both Rattanakiri and Mondulkiri can be visited from Kraties or Stung Treng. Both are sparsely populated provinces with many indigenous communities practicing traditional ways of life

There are National Parks in both provinces where one can trek however more and more deforestation and rubber plantations are taking over in this northeastern part of Cambodia. Waterfalls are particularly lovely in the wet season and elephant rides are available in both places. Yaklom lake is a beautiful volcanic lake that one can safely swim in Rattanakiri. For those adventurous souls who like to trek and rough it, these two provinces offer that experience

As with all Cambodia Uncovered tours, we will help you plan an interesting trip to suit your interests. Just let us know what you like to do (and what you don't like doing) and we can help you organise a trip of a lifetime. Contact Us


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