This relatively small 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.
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.
Kampong Cham features 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 buses frequent this route daily, so you should have no trouble getting between the two cities.
The National Highway 7 from Kampong Cham to Skun is in excellent condition and one of the best in Cambodia.
Shortly after Skun however, the quality changes dramatically with frequent potholes and sometimes not even paved anymore.
There is also a new alternative route to Phnom Penh east of the Mekong.
When travelling to/from Siem Reap, it may be worth taking the way via Skun too due to the better quality of the road instead of the road 71 shortcut.
Update: as of late 2012, repairs and upgrades on Hwy 71 have been completed and the road between Kompong Thom and Traung (shortcut between Siem Reab and Kompong Cham) is quite usable.
The widening of National Highway 6A (between Skun and Phnom Penh) is (as of June 2013) is still underway. It can be a little rough in parts, but not too bad. But due to the construction, there can be some traffic bottlenecks that can slow down traffic a bit.
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. The telephone numbers listed here are for locations in Phnom Penh.
Sorya, Telephone 023-210359. Approximately 5 USD, with buses leaving throughout the day at 6:45, 7:45, 9:00, 10:00, 11:30, 13:15, 15:00, and 16:00. Typically a 3-4 hour trip.
GST, Telephone 023-335199. Also 4.5 USD, but only leaving twice daily, at 9:00 and 15:00 with a 3-4 hour trip.
From Kratie, book at your guesthouse. Two departures a day, 7:30am and 10am. The 7:30 bus leaves from Kratie where the 10am bus comes from further north so you may not be guarenteed a seat. Travel time is 4 hours with one main stop at Memot. $6 or $8 durning Buddhist holidays.
Direct buses can also be caught from Kampong Thom at 8:00am and 10:00am for around $5-6
When departing from Kampong Cham, bus stations tend to be found near the roundabout on the main road in the city center.
One is southwest of the roundabout, on the right side. You buy your ticket at the counter.
Bus Hoh Wa Genting, Telephone 012-923551. Approximately 7,000 riel, with buses leaving throughout the day at 7:30, 8:10, 9:00, 10:00, 12:30, 14:00, 15:00, 16:00 for a 3-4 hour trip.
GST Express, on the west end of the boulevard,
Rith Mony, on Highway 7 about 200 m from the Mekong bridge roundabout, has buses to a couple of destinations including Kratie and Phnom Penh. It is generally a bit cheaper than other bus companies but the buses are also a bit older.
Capitol, US$4, runs two daily busses leaving Kampong Cham also near Highway 7 one block west of the Mekong bridge roundabout. Departing at 8:00 and 14:00 with a 15 minute break. Also takes about 3 hours.
Most Minibuses and other non-Bus transports leave from or stop for a short time at the petrol station or just on the roadside of Highway 7 close to the Mekong bridge roundabout
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.
Beware that boat services may have been discontinued completely.
As for all of Cambodia, there used to be also two types of boats in Kampong Cham: the slow boats and the fast boats. The slow boats are obviously slower than the other option, but are safer.
Slow boats don't have a pier, but simply land on the muddy river bank north of the bridge. Buy your tickets (for approximately 12,000 riel to either Phnom Penh or Kratie) underneath the huge cigarette advertisement. You can sit either on the roof or inside, and regardless of whichever you choose, you're in for a noisy, crowded ride. Get on the boat 1 hour prior to departure. To Phnom Penh the trip takes about 2-3 hours, to Kratie about 5-6 hours, with both boats departing throughout the day.
Fast boats are located on the riverside road, 20 minutes north from Route #7. These are more comfortable. As a result of the competition with road transport, however, there are no scheduled boats going to Kratie and Stung Treng anymore. Occasinally, there might be a fast boat doing the run. Kampong Cham to Phnom Penh costs 15,000 riel, and takes less than 2 hours, while to Kratie costs 20,000 riel and takes 3-4 hours.
The city center is easily walkable and is found north of the National Highway. A couple of hotels and western-style restaurants cluster around the riverfront and couple of streets further east, the central market area is found.
Most of the sights worth seeing are however outside the city itself, so you're going to need some form of motorized transport.
An increasing number of visitors to Cambodia are buying their own motorcycles and then reselling them just before they leave the country (or return home), and this is a great way to see Kampong Cham. Smaller 110cc bikes are the ones seen driven by practically every Khmer in the city, while the larger 250cc bikes are more often driven by foreigners or expats. The smaller bikes are cheaper, but less suited for long distance travel and are more susceptible to theft. It's your call, though most travellers end up buying 250ccs. If you choose to buy a 250cc, expect to pay anywhere from $500 to over $2500 USD, depending on the age of the bike. Note that Vietnam currently does not allow anything larger than 150cc into it's borders, but this will likely change in the near future.
There are very few places to rent a motorcycle in Kampong Cham. A few are available from the Mekong Hotel ($6), Mekong Sunrise ($5) or Lazy Mekong Daze ($5), on the riverfront to the North of the bridge.
There are plenty of motodops offering their service for travel not only within the city, but to outlying areas of the province. For a scant $4 USD, you can be shown the temples at Nokor Wat, the endless jackfruit fields, and other attractions near the city. Be warned though, if your driver takes you to stalls or shops to purchase souvenirs, he will be receiving commission off of whatever you choose to buy. As usual, bargain with your driver. It's okay to set a price beforehand, but sometimes best to agree on the price afterwards. For one way trips within the city, don't pay more than 2,000 riel (and many will consider even that a rip off).
There are tuk-tuks in Kampong Cham, but as the city is not nearly as heavily touristed than others in Cambodia, such as Phnom Penh or Siem Reap, there won't be many of these, but if you arrive by bus there will be plenty waiting at the bus station.
Some of the larger hotels and guesthouses (such as the Mekong Hotel and Mekong Sunrise) have bicycles for rent. They're a good way to get to Wat Nokor and Phnom Pros/Phnom Srey as well as around the city, or for making a day tour to Wat Hanchey. Be sure to always lock your bike to a tree or leave it with someone trustworthy.
Kampong Cham isn't a city chock full of tourist attractions, but its colonial charm and atmosphere will endear itself to you. There are a few temples to see in the area, including one of the country's mass graves.
Ruins at Nokor Wat
Nokor Wat. An Angkorian temple dating from the 11th century, containing a standard assortment of Angkor architecture. Some of the mausoleums are open to tourists and contain piles of bones and skulls from the Khmer Rouge's genocidal reign. Inside one of the buildings is a very elaborate series of wall paintings, depicting torture and executions (of a religious nature), followed by scenes of heaven and the afterlife. This is not always an accessible building, as a Monk has to unlock it for you to enter. He usually does, though your driver may ask you to refrain. To get there by bicycle follow the road to Phnom Penh for about 1 km and turn left when you see a dusty road going down through a gate (there's also a sign). The tourist police may ask you for money for their own purposes. If you are stingy, you can enter the temple from the other side for free. Don't miss the beautiful sunset in the old Angkorian ruins. The visit to this site can easily be combined with a trip to the mountains Pros and Srei.
Traditional dances in Nokor Wat
If you are interested in Apsara dances (traditional Cambodian dances), there are occasional performances at 5 p.m. (mainly weekends and holidays) behind (east of) the Wat Nokor (Nokor Bachey Temple) by the children and teenagers looked after and educated by BSDA, a Non Governmental Oranization (NGO) located at the temple site and managed by the monks. Entrance is free, donations are certainly welcome. Performances seem to be mainly on request, and the children and teenagers will be very happy to show off their talents.
Pros and Srei Mountain are praised in every tourist guide, however actually nowadays they are only two 'brand new' concrete buildings on the top of some small hills. If you don't have too much time, it's better to head for Phnom Hanchey.
Located 20km north of Kampong Cham, Phnom Hanchey is another temple on a hilltop in the area. The view of the beautiful Cambodian landscape that you get when you go there however is certainly worth it! If you can make it up very early (around 5am) you'll see a gorgeous sunrise over the Mekong that will be on your right side all through the way.
There is also a French lookout tower on the other side of the river, once used for monitoring river traffic. It's still standing but in a decaying state. You can climb the stairs inside the tower and have a good view on the bridge, the Mekong and the small village next to the tower. The stairs are difficult and dangerous to climb, however.
An abandoned US airstrip that has been used by B52 bombers is a short distance west of town. To get there take the Highway 7 to Phnom Penh for about 3 km. Just before the factory on the left hand side (looks a bit like a prison) there is a dirt road going to the right between street vendors and two red-white striped poles. Follow this road for about 2.5 km. There is not much left to see apart from the pavement of the airstrip and two decaying buildings next to it - a pillbox and the control tower probably. Leaving the airstrip on the left (west) will eventually lead to Mountain Pros and Srey. Going right (east) to the end of the strip and turning right again will lead you back to Kampong Cham.
Chup Rubber Plantation, 19km East on National Highway 7, is a refreshing forest to visit by bicycle or motorbike. Early in the morning (before 10am) you may come across workers harvesting the trees. The rubber factory can be visited ($1).
Kampong Cham is a sleepy provincial capital, and as such there isn't a whole lot to actually do, and those seeking plenty of activities to keep themselves occupied will become bored within a day.
The Bamboo Bridge
The Bamboo Bridge and Koh Paen, located a few blocks south of the bridge spanning the Mekong, is a solid bamboo structure built to Koh Paen island across the Mekong. On the other side is endless Cham and Khmer villages, entirely mounted on stilts. This is a great place to drive along if you want to check out the people of the land. The bamboo bridge can even withstand trucks, so don't worry about whatever you're taking, just be careful not to fall into the river. The bridge is washed away as the river rises in the wet season, and access to the island is only possible by boat, but it is rebuilt again every dry season.
West of the city are a pair of mountains, with temples on top of them. To get there follow the Highway 7 to Phnom Penh for about 7 km and turn right when you see the hill on the right hand side, a gate and a road leading to the top. This is Mountain Pros. Take the road leaving to the right at about half way to the top of Mountain Pros to go to Mountain Srey. It makes an easy ride on a bicycle but road traffic can be heavy (for Cambodian standards). The Mountain Pros has a dull peak and is approximately 30 metres tall. There are a series of temples at the top, with the centrepiece being a five pagoda temple. There are outlying temples, most of which are ruined and falling apart. Sip at a sugar cane juice from one of the many stalls on the top while watching the monkeys fooling around and stealing bananas from the vendors tables. The Mountain Srey has 308 steps running up it, with a ruined temple at the top. There are no monks in this one, but there are several women and old men who collect donations from visitors. Between the two mountains lies one of the country's many killing fields where the Khmer Rouge dumped countless bodies, though in this case it's nothing more than a cement shed and a pile of bones.
Buddhism and Society Development Association ,N°5, Nokor Bachey Temple, Ampil Village, Ampil Commune, Kampong Siem District is a registered NGO running several charitable projects for the local community. This includes Mekong Kampuchea's Kids project (a street children's theatre) Natural Resource Management and livelihood project (Food security and livelihood for Single Women and poorest of the poor), Education project (School For Life, vocational traning and life skill), Health Project (HIV/AIDS Prevention and Harm Reduction of Drug Abuse project), and as well as Social Accountability Project (Good gorvrnance). There are opportunities for volunteering your help as well.
Wat Maha Leap, one of the few remaining wodden pagodas in Cambodia, it is really quite beautiful. About 20km from Kampong Cham on the other side of the river, you'll probably need a local guide to find it, or ask your tuk-tuk driver. Nearby is a village well known for its weaving. You can see silk being weaved and dyed and (of course) there is always some for sale.
Kampong Cham features a few markets, but the best is the one the locals use. It features all sorts of food, ranging from standard mangoes and other fruits, to pig heads and live fish. As with all other food places in the area, use common sense when buying here, as there are health hazards to the unsuspecting Westerner. It's just down the road from the Mekong Crossing restaurant, but stalls only open during daylight hours. Some food and juice stalls stay open until late, i.e. 9 pm.
Cambodia Public Bank (5-7, Ph Angduong, coming from the bridge turn right at the roundabout from where it is about 200 m) exchange money and has an ATM accepting VISA, MasterCard and Maestro. This is the last ATM when heading north until Pakse in Lao.
Canadia Bank, not to be confused with Canada, this bank is wholly Cambodian owned. This particular branch doesn't take baht, and exchanges money at a slightly poorer rate (approximately 4,000 riel to the USD) than you'll get at your guesthouse or on the street. They will cash traveller cheques and offer free advances on MasterCards. Best to avoid this one unless you need to replenish your supply of American cash while you're in town.
Acleda Bank (31-33, Ph Khemarak Phomin) also has an ATM but doesn't yet accept international cards. They can change dollars and Thai baht only but they accept traveller cheques. Western Union services are also available.
BIDC Bank (full name: Bank for Investment & Development of Cambodial Plc (29, Monivong) has 2 ATM (one at the site & one at the River Wind Coffe shop near the river), accept international cards. They can change dollars . Western Union services are also available.
Money changers are available throughout the city, particularly in and around the markets - look out for packets of money on display. They will give you a slightly better rate than the banks but you have to ask around for the best deal. Some of them do also change other currencies than dollars such as Thai baht and Vietnamese dong. Occasionally, other western currencies are changed as well but expect a poor rate. It is not possible to change Lao kip.
Internet cafes, there are a couple of internet cafes around town, especially on Ang Duong Street between the market and the bridge over the Mekong. The going rate is 2,500 riel per hour.
OPENNET - Kampong Cham Branch Internet Service Provider (Add: No 80, Preah Bat Ang Duong Street, Veal Vong Commune, Kampong Cham City, Cambodia - oposite New York International School) - > Hotline: 0888 016 999
The western style restaurants cluster at the riverfront. Budget travellers can get a variety of local food in the food market just south of Psar Thom. At the northern end of Psar Thom are a couple of local restaurants. Beware of hygienic conditions though. Self-caterers find fresh fruit and vegetables at the market, other ingredients can often be found in the surrounding shops. Flour is hard to get by though.
SMILE Cafe is the smartest eatery in town. Run by a local NGO, Buddhism and Society Development Association, (BSDA) as a training restaurant for orphans and vulnerable youth, it serves tasty Khmer and western dishes and the decor is a cut above everywhere else. The food’s is good quality but many of the Khmer dishes are quite similar. Don’t forget to try the delicious fruit shakes. There is a relaxed atmosphere in the restaurant, with a few sofas having direct few on the Mekong in front of it. If you’re around with your laptop, it’s one of the few eateries in town offering free Wi-fi. Looking for a nice place to eat and enjoy your time, this might just be it. Prices are reasonable with food between $2½ -5 – and you’re helping a good cause. Riverside Kampong Cham, just north of the Monorom VIP Hotel, Tel.: (+855) 42 69 00 605, .
Mekong Crossing, Street, ''042''-67 555 98.. , Cnr Sihanouk and Pasteur Street, 042 -67 555 98. A popular (at least among foreigners) restaurant run by an American expat, this small place serves up a variety of western foods, including burgers, pasta, and pizza. Though it does serve "khmer" food, it's heavily westernized as well. Free wifi. edit
Lazy Mekong Daze, Ph Sihanouk (at the riverside), is very similar to Mekong Crossing. The style of the place as well as the menu targets mainly foreign customers. Since last april, the new french owner Frank, offers a new choice of dishes and cocktails. Try the Mekng Fish with lemon sauce. Has a free pool table and good music. In the tourist season they run a Sunset cruise and also have a couple of bicycles and motorbikes for rent as a sideline.
Hao An, 012-941234 - Large restaurant on Monivong Blvd. Very tourist friendly, and serves plenty of genuine Khmer food, as well as other Asian cuisine. Excellent place to lounge about and drink beer, and good for shared dishes. Most dishes fetch for around $2-$3 USD.
San Te Hap Rest. Southeast side of the market in front of pharmacy. Cheap, tasty tofu and seafood dishes for around 2,000 to 4,000 riel. Try the seaweed curry.
Spien Thmei Restaurant, Ph Preah Bat Sihanouk. Down the road from the Mekong Hotel, Spien Thmei Restaurant (New Bridge Restaurant) is your standard Khmer and Asian restaurant. It's quite large, with oversized doors that never close as long as it's open, though without a doubt you'll remember this place for it's whacky menu. The food is of great quality, but rarely matches what's on the menu. Still, since it's good food regardless of what arrives at your table and you aren't charged more (or perhaps because the staff don't speak much English), be a good patron and don't complain.
Destiny Coffee House, Shop 12 Vithei Pastuer (near the riverfront, opposite Sophary Internet- on the road between the food market and the riverbank), ☎ 017-328-034. 7:00-4:30. Destiny Coffee House is run by a community based NGO that enables rural youth to access employment and high quality vocational training. The cafe serves fresh and vibrant quality food that is a relief to the travelling foreigner! The Coffee House also has a reputation for it's delicious homemade cakes and cookies (~ $1.50), as well as it's real espresso coffee. The decor is clean and crisp, and the complimentary wi-fi makes it a great place to relax and revitalize. Some travellers report that it is often closed.$2-$4. edit
Mekong sunrise, ☎ 088 8057407. The restaurant of the guesthouse. The only place you can drink a draft beer on the riverside. The restaurant has re-opened on january 2012. A good variety of food: the traditionnal "khmer foods", sandwichs, salads, crepes, omelet (khmer), a few western food and also some dish quite original you can order in advance (snake, ...) Free wifi and free pool table for guest.edit
Samaki Restaurant, Street 7, Riverside, Kâmpóng Cham, Kampong Cham, Cambodia (Along Mekong River next to Smile.), . 6-10pm. Samaki restaurant on the riverside is a favorite haunt of locals and international customers. The delicious food is fresh to order and quality is a cut above other Western style restaurants in Kampong Cham. Prices are the cheapest on the riverside and, added bonus, every visit supports vocational training and provides a livelihood for disadvantaged youth. Try the lemon shake with mint. 2-4$. edit
All the western-style restaurants at the riverfront also serve beer and often cocktails, happy hours often offer discounts.
Riverside Beers, in the late afternoon and early evening, food and drink stalls set up shop here opposite the Mekong Hotel right on the riverfront. Trees line the side of the road, making it a great place to pitch up a hammock, crack open a bottle of Angkor Beer, and strike up a conversation with any of the motodop drivers who will congregate here (of course they'll be asking you what your plans are and where you're going the next day). Beers are 2,000 riel a pop, and any of the stands will stay open as late as you want to sell drinks to you.
Fresh sugar cane juice is sold on literally every corner in the city center area. Some of the sugar cane presses are engine driven others require manually turning the wheel. It's fun to watch and makes a refreshing drink. Try out a few vendors since the taste is always a bit different (about 1000 riel a glass).
Penguins of Angkor, (turn left after Mekong Hotel). Very good German and whatever other foods are on the menu at the time. Informative travel information about Cambodiaedit
There are hotels and guesthouses offering decent accommodation options. Although a large number of guesthouses can be found around town, the decent places are concentrated at or close to the riverside. For 5 USD you can get a fan room of a comfortable size with private bathroom (cold water) and TV. There are many more guesthouses around town than mentioned here (especially near the market). They are sometimes (but by no means always) 1$ or 2$ cheaper than a fan room in a hotel but offer tiny and dull rooms in some cases more often rented out by the hour than by night. They are rather a last resort if everything else is fully booked or if you are really on the cheap of the cheap.
Mekong Hotel, #56 Samdach Pann Rd., 042-941536. The best, in terms of quality, hotel in town. 60 rooms over 3 levels. To find the hotel from the roundabout at the bridge, head north until you get to the food market, turn right until you get to the riverbank, turn left, and it's the big yellow building, impossible to miss. All rooms have Wifi, a TV, and a private bathroom with hot water. Rooms facing the river have air-con and cost $15. Rooms facing away from the river have only fans and cost $8. Motorbikes are available to hire at reception. $5 for manual, $7 for auto. You will need to show them your drivers license.
Mekong Sunrise, ☎ 011 449 720 / 088 850 21 70 (firstname.lastname@example.org). The Mekong sunrise is the only guesthouse in kampong cham which has a restaurant downstairs with a pool table, places to relax with sofa and hammock on balcony. And a good view on the Mekong. Rooms are clean and spacious, with free wifi. Double room with a huge private balcony on the top. No air condition and cable tv, but a playstation for children. Bikes and motorbikes for rent.Simple room with shared bathroom (hot water) US$5, double room with private bathroom 7$. edit
Monorom VIP Hotel, Mort Tunle Street 11th, Tel. 097 733 2526, www.monoromviphotel.com. This new hotel is not mentioned in any travelling literature so far (July 2011) and offers high quality, spotless clean, spacious and inviting rooms. The best rooms cost 25 US$ (double per night) and look almost like a little palace, with very beautiful Khmer style furniture (wood carving). The Monorom VIP Hotel is located directly at Mekong river, it's the neighbour building of Mekong Hotel (on the right when you are looking at Mekong Hotel with Mekong river behind you). Monorom VIP Hotel has stunning views on the river, even better than the views of Mekong Hotel.
Mittapheap Hotel, Ph Kosmak Neary Roth (between the roundabout and the riverside). The outside of the hotel looks better than it is in the inside. Still it is one of the better options in town. The rooms are of a comfortable size and come with a fan, cold shower and TV and optional aircon and hot shower. $5-10 (fan room - air conditioning).
Leupviraksa Hotel (coming from the bridge over the Mekong, turn left at the roundabout from where it is about 150 m). The standard is almost identical to the Mittapheap Hotel. It is mainly the view from the upper floor rooms that is better. The drawback is its location a bit outside of the centre. The rooms are okay and come with a fan, cold shower and TV and optional aircon and hot shower. $5-10 (fan room - air conditioning).
Phnom Prosh Hotel , Ph Kosmak Neary Roth (at the roundabout). They have windowless fan rooms with cold shower and TV for 6$ and better aircon rooms (with windows) for 12$. Cleanliness could be better as well as the service from the staff. It might be a place to consider if the other options are full. - July 2011: There are cockroachs coming out of little holes in the walls in the rooms at night.
Monorom Hotel , the pink building just behind the Mekong hotel. The room rates are 5$ for a basic fan room with private bathroom and TV and 10$ for a aircon room or a luxury fan room. This place seems to be very popular but probably not for the quality of the rooms but rather the massage services provided. The staff hardly speaks any English. It might be a place to consider if the other options are full.
Kim Srun Guesthouse, PH Sihanouk (at the Riverside), 012-941507. Rooms come with fan, cold shower and TV. While the windowless single rooms (4$) are merely okay, the double rooms (5$) are much better value for money. Compared to other guesthouses the rooms are large (about the size you can expect in the hotels around) and there is a nice balcony with good views of the river.
Spean Thmey Guesthouse, PH Sihanouk (at the Riverside). The rooms are basic but okay. Price range is 3$-5$ depending on single, double and amenities.
Serey Pheap Guesthouse, #110, Route #7, 012-864565. Very large and good quality rooms. A quiet, family-run establishment with staff that will bend over backwards to please you and your cohorts. $3-$4 (single-double, TV and air conditioning extra).
Rana Country Home Stay, Srey Siam village, ☎ 012-686240, . Traditional Khmer house, home cooked meals with home grown food in a country setting. A couple of pleasant walks can be taken from there. The place is located 7km over the bridge in Kampong Cham, on the main highway to Kratie. Phone or email in advance due to a current occupancy of 5 people. $22/per person/perday. For full info and updates go to rana-cambodia.blogspot.comedit
Mariya Hotel and Restaurant, Riverside, 11th Village, ☎ 0426411144. A brand new hotel facing the Mekong with cozy rooms and a decent, if slightly pricey restaurant on the ground floor. Staff is friendly and willing to help with travel plans, but may push their own services first. Lobby has comfortable chairs, book exchange, and free wifi.$8-25. edit
Bophear guesthouse, Rue Pasteur. Cheap (3$ without bathroom, 5 with), but not the cleanest room of town. edit
Mekong bamboo hut, Koh pene island, ☎ 015905620. A guest house with a pier that overlooking the Mekong, beaches at the dry season, the atmosphere of a khmer traditionnal village, the Mekong Bamboo Hut is the perfect place to relax a few days on an island of the mekong and discover cambodian's lifestyle. You can sleep in a hammock (3$/night) or mattress with mosquito net (6$/2 persons) or private bungalow (8$). There is the possibility to eat on site. Bicycle for rent at 1.5$. Preferential tariff for volunteers of Koh pene pagodaeditOpen from November to April
Chaplin's Guest House, Riverfront Road, ☎ 012 627 612, . A six-suite guest house with big personality along the Mekong, Chaplin's Guest House has clean, bright rooms and panoramic views of the sunset. They also have a great restaurant with a funky dining room, full bar, strong drinks and full sports package on the TV.$25. edit
Since many travellers who pass through here are on their way north to Kratie and other areas, the best thing to do is to simply hop on a bus to wherever it is you are going. If you have your own transportation, just get out and drive. The National Highway 7 is generally in a bad condition, with frequent holes \ bumps and it alternates between a dirt and asphalt road.
Bicycle and Motorbike, Kratie is about a 100 km ride from Kompong Cham along the Mekong. It is mostly a dirt road in good condition so it is possible even by bicycle to reach Kratie in one day. Otherwise stop in Chlong for the night. Take road 223 north out of Kampong Cham up to Stung Trang (Preaek Barang), then take the ferry over the Mekong (1500 riel) and continue along road 338. It should also be possible to first cross the bridge in Kompong Cham and take road 338 from there but this stretch of road is in a very bad condition (although the first few kilometers are smooth) and not recommended.
The border from Trapeang Phlong in Cambodia to Xa Mat in Vietnam is open to international tourists. On the Cambodian side you have to organise your own transport either all the way from Kampong Cham or take first a Kratie bound bus to Krek and then a motorbike for the remaining 14 km to the border. On the Vietnamese side there are regular public busses running to Tay Ninh a few hundred metres from the border. Visas are not available at the border and the formalities may take a while. Be aware that people in Kampong Cham may tell you that this is not an international border although it is. When you get to Vietnam border it looks like that there is nothing, only some sort of highway starts from the gates. If you don't have anyone to pick you up the employees will try to "sell" you a taxi ride. They have an pre-agreements done with local drivers who will try to charge ridiculos fares. Fortunately, bus station is just 500 meters away from the border so it is easy to walk there. Note that, most likely, nobody at the border will ever tell you about the bus station as they want to sell their taxis.