Kampong Chhnang is the capital city of the province of the same name, in Central Cambodia.
Kampong Chhnang is a small provincial town out of the main tourist path, not to say you'll be the first setting foot there. Most travelers stay a couple nights to do a boat trip in the floating villages on the Tonle Sap, eventhough you could easily spend some more time in Kampong Chhnang as the vicinity has a lot to offer.
Kampong Chhnang is conveniently located on the road between Battambang and Phnom Penh. Bus companies have small offices on the main road and it is easy to catch a bus in either direction. Buses tend to go through town in the morning, from 10 to 12.
Speedboats going from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh can also stop in Kampong Chhnang on demand. You will have to pay the same price (around 50$) as for going to Phnom Penh, but the journey is way faster and more scenic then going by bus all the way through Sisophon and Battambang. Departures from Kampong Chhnang can be arranged at the port police station with Mr Mao.
The city is divided in two parts, the city center and the water front, linked by a long stretch of road with stilt houses on both side. The city center is where most amenities are, whereas the water front is a popular gathering around sunset.
- Mr Leng Seng Prak is an advisable English speaking tuktuk driver and guide (Tel : 097 82 96 111 or 092 51 94 24).
- Alternatively, you can rent a motorbike(5-7$ depending on bargain skills)or a bicycle (1$) at your guesthouse, as here you don't need to go far to be in the middle of real Cambodian countryside.
- Tonle Sap river : Kandal and Chong Kos floating villages have been populated by Kampuchea Krom (ethnic Vietnamese Cambodians) for generations. You can hire a small boat from the river front.
- Storntuch montain is well known to Cambodians for many music videos are being shot there. This surprising rock formation is 1.7km south-west of town and easily accessible by bicycle.
- Krang Deymas hill is a 250m high hill North of town. It is possible to hike to the top (one hour) in order to capture the views of the countryside and the Tonle Sap.
- Khmer rouge abandonned airport and water tank echo chamber : situated 14km north of town (follow National Highway and take a left after Krang Deymas hill), this complex was built by the KR with the help of Chinese engineers. 50000 enslaved people worked on it construction, and where killed before the regime fall down. The airport has never been used and is still in good condition. Young people go there to speed up and play with their motorbike. There is a guard at the entrance, who may ask for a small fee. On the other side of the road, on the mountain slope are a few deserted water tank. The echo inside is astonishing.
- Kampong Leang is on the other side of the Tonle Sap and accessible by ferryboat. From the dock at Kampong Leang, you can circle the loop that goes around the Neang Kong Rei mountains (that can be hiked for the courageous ones), passing through villages and rice paddy fields. The area is totally flooded during the rainy season. One can stop en route at Punnareay, Bros, Srey and Slotey pre-angkorian temples. It is also here that were found the most ancient archeological evidence of human civilization in the country.
- Tuek Hout, 15km south of Kampong Chhnang on National Highway has a local women-run handicraft center where bamboo baskets, weaving and pottery are made from local materials and sold for support.
- Pottery village : as Chhnang means pottery in Khmer, Kampong Chhnang is the 'port of pottery'. Clay pots can be bought at the market or at the pottery village, 3km west of town.
- Phsar Leur, the central market : you can get fruits, vegetable, cheap street food. There is a couple other smaller markets on the road to the water front.
- Street food can be find around Phsar Leur, the park and at the water front.
- Van Soleap is conveniently located on the other side of the road from Garden GH. English menu.
- Gold Elephant's Fish is a bit further south on the same street.
- Tabarang restaurant, right on the park, has change owner and is no longer a good advise.
- Sok San restaurant is in the center on the main road at it crossing with the waterfront street.
- There is a few other places on the road to Phnom Penh : Angkor Thmey, Meng Kong, Chhnang Meas, White Elephant.
- Garden GH, located west of Independance monument and south of the park, has a nice garden and clean new rooms (dbl 7$), offers breakfast options, and is aimed at tourists more than locals. English is spoken (Tel : 012 550 633/097 99 097 88 - email : [email protected]).
- Neang Poun GH, a higher rated venue with swimming pool and restaurant, is less conveniently located on National Highway, where Sovann Phum, Sok Thaisan, Raksmey Sokha, Sunday I & II also are.
- A new hotel recently open on the stretch between the town center and the water front, that looks more like the official kind that every provincial capital has in Hun Sen's Cambodia. Still, it's nice to be able to just walk to the water front.