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Named after the ethnic Cham people originating in the area, Kampong Cham Province is in a lowland region with a huge stretch of the Mekong River running alongside it.

Known for its rural charm, riverside activity and quaint city life in the province’s urban centre – also called Kampong Cham, many people travel here from nearby Phnom Penh for a slice of ‘real Cambodia’. While the city has a mixture of French colonial architecture and a combination of Chinese and traditional Khmer influences, the broader province is all about rustic charm, working the land or fishing in the river. With a number of off-the-beaten-track Angkor-era temples to visit too, Kampong Cham Province has a little bit of everything that better-known Cambodian resorts have to offer, but on a smaller scale and with fewer people.

Best time to visit

Cambodia has sun almost year round. The average temperature is around 27 degrees Celsius; minimum temperature is about 16 degrees. December and January are the coolest months during the year. General information about the climate: 

  • Rainy season: May - October (27-35c, with humidity up to 90%.)
  • Cool season: November- March (17-27c)
  • Hot season: March- May (28c -36c)

Check the below table for the general idea of Kampong Cham weather throughout the year.

Month Avg. High (°C) Avg. Mean (°C) Avg. Low (°C)
Jan 30.8 27.3 22.3
Feb 32.8 28.7 23.3
Mar 34.3 30.3 25.1
Apr 34.8 30.7 25.8
May 34.8 30.5 26.2
Jun 33.9 29.8 25.8
Jul 32.9 29.2 25.2
Aug 33.1 29.1 25.2
Sep 32.2 28.6 25
Oct 31.8 28.6 25
Nov 31.4 28.5 24.6
Dec 31 27.7 23.1

Kampong Cham’s current weather and 7-day forecast

KAMPONG CHAM WEATHER

One of the most famous sites in Kampong Cham city was previously its bamboo bridge, connecting the mainland to a Mekong River island called Koh Paen. Previously the longest bamboo bridge in the world at 1km long, it could amazingly carry large trucks as well as the numerous cars, motorcycles and bicycles that crossed it every year. Washed away each and every year during monsoon season, the famous bamboo bridge was painstakingly rebuilt every year without fail. A concrete bridge has now replaced this famous bamboo bridge, although a smaller bamboo bridge has been built nearby, which people can cross on foot or by pushing a bicycle over it.

It's worth making the trip over to Koh Paen for the bridge experience as well as to explore one of the Mekong’s islands. Cycle around for the best experience and to discover small villages, island temples and the beach where there are some snack stands selling traditional Khmer flavours too.

On the edge of the city is Wat Nokor, part of the ancient Banteay Prey Nokor temple complex. This is the location where it is believed King Jayavarman VII used as his headquarters for a significant period of time to exert his influence over other local regions. Unlike many other temple complexes in Cambodia, which are usually constructed using brick or red sandstone, Wat Nokor is built from black sandstone. The central tower of the temple depicts a number of scenes from Buddhist teachings.

One of the most iconic sights in Kampong Cham is the French Colonial Watchtower on the banks of the Mekong. It was built in the 1900s to guard the river, as Kampong Cham was an important trading port for the French at this time. It looks magical on the riverbank and reminds visitors of a former era. It’s possible to climb the very steep staircase to catch the views from the top, from which Kampong Cham city and the Kazuna bridge are both visible.

A temple worth visiting outside the city is Wat Maha Leap, as it is one of the only wooden pagodas left in Cambodia. After being used by the Khmer Rouge as a hospital with original adornments covered up, monks have painstakingly restored some of the pagoda’s features to their former glory. Monks still live and pray from a building next to the temple. Another interesting pagoda just outside the city is Wat Hanchey. With origins at least as far back as the 8th century, this hilltop temple also offers fantastic views of the Mekong River and the surrounding area.

Phnom Srey (‘Woman Hill’) and Phnom Pros (‘Man Hill’) are two hills located on the outskirts of Kampong Cham city. Home to temples, statues and pagodas, there are also many local legends that relate to these hills and stories between men and women that the name of the hills originate from. The hills also offer magnificent views over the surrounding countryside.

Kampong Cham Province is well-known for its rubber plantations, and it’s possible to pay a visit to some of them to see how the fascinating process works. One plantation not too far from the city is the Chup Rubber Plantation, where tours for visitors are possible.

For those visiting from Phnom Penh, or for those who want to visit Cambodia’s capital from a base in Kampong Cham, it’s as quick to travel between the two by road as it is by boat along the Mekong River. The latter option offers a wonderfully scenic experience of Mekong life, so take advantage of the opportunity.

Budget

Mekong Hotel

Mekong Hotel, a massive 70-room riverfront property, is Kampong Cham’s most popular hotel. It’s a bit shabby around the edges, but it’s usually clean. AC doubles start from $10.

Moon River Guesthouse

For something more ‘bespoke’, Moon River Guesthouse (from $11) has simple rooms with en suites and a popular restaurant downstairs. Daly Hotel (from $13) offers spartan rooms and balconies overlooking the city.

Mid-range

LBN Asian Hotel

Kampong Cham’s newly opened ‘luxury’ hotel. Rooms are tailored to local tastes (heavy furniture; not a lot of natural light), but they do have an indoor pool. Doubles start from $29.

Homestay

OBT Homestay Chiro 

Run by NGO Organization for Basic Training, OBT Homestay Chiro accommodates guests in rustic bamboo bungalows. The location 7km out of town in a small village makes it a great escape and an ideal way to get a taste for the ‘real’ Cambodia.

Resort

Hanchey Bamboo Resort 

This is an eco-retreat run by local NGO Buddhism for Social Development Action (BSDA). It offers palatial rooms and hosts yoga retreats under an incredible bamboo pavillion. It’s about a 40-minute drive from the centre of town, so I’d treat it more as an overnight getaway than a place to base your stay.

Kampong Cham is a rural and agricultural province, so much of what you find in the shops and restaurants has been sourced locally. This ranges from jackfruit to delectable fish from the Mekong River. Sugar cane is also locally produced, and fresh sugar cane juice is sold from small carts on almost every street in the city.

In the city of Kampong Cham, there is a stretch of restaurants that serve a mixture of Khmer and international cuisine along the riverfront. One of these is SMILE Café, which is run by a local NGO and helps train orphans and vulnerable young people in hospitality skills. Lazy Mekong Daze nearby serves great Mekong fish, for those who want to try the local foodstuffs. A number of food and drink stands also set up along the riverside during the evening for those who want an informal meal.

Low key Khmer food in the city can be found at Hao An or Spien Thmei Restaurant.

A local café, Destiny Coffee House, staffed by at-risk youth.

Coffee lovers should stop off at Destiny Coffee House, which is also run by a NGO working with vulnerable young people.

Adventurous foodies should visit the town of Skun in Kampong Cham Province. The food speciality of this town is deep fried tarantula!

Kampong Cham now has road links with most major Cambodian cities, including Phnom Penh. The highway between Kampong Cham city and the capital Phnom Penh runs along the Mekong and is in fairly good condition with buses running along this route daily.

Reliable Sorya 168 buses run between Phnom Penh and Kampong Cham with multiple daily departures. The journey takes 3 – 4 hours and, according to the Sorya website, buses now depart Phnom Penh hourly from 6.45 am – always check times when you book tickets. Buses fill up so book your ticket a day or two in advance from one of the many travel agents (transfer to bus station included) or at the Sorya office located at the corner of the central market in Phnom Penh.

From Kratie or Steung Trung it will probably be easiest to book travel to Kampong Cham from your guest house who will usually be able to arrange a mini bus.

We recommend you check the latest bus schedule and price via rome2rio.com

Please note that you can no longer reach Kratie by boat from Phnom Penh as the service has been discontinued due to the new highway.

Contact us to get more information

TOUR PACKAGES INCLUDING "Kampong Cham"

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