'''Kompong Thom ''' is the capital of
[[Kampong Thom ]] Province in [[Cambodia]]. It's situated about half-way between [[Phnom Penh]] and [[Siem Reap]] and thus most travellers will only rush through on there transfer between these to major attractions.
Nevertheless it is a pleasant and relaxed place and a good starting point for exploring the countryside and the temples of ''Sambor Prei Kuk''.
Current Prices (August 2008)for a share taxi (7 seats) from PP to KT is $5 per seat. If you want the front seat to yourself (2 seats) you pay $10. Highly recommended.
There is an interesting fruit bat roost in the grounds of the old governors residence (a nice colonial
? era building). This is behind the market on the first road off the river.
The grasslands and rice-fields surrounding Kompong Thom of an extreme importance for wildlife conservation. These areas hold the largest global population of the endangered Bustard the Bengal Florican as well as occasional large waterbirds from the Tonle Sap floodplain (Adjutants, Pelican, Painted Stork). Other species include large numbers of wintering palearctic passerines (including Dusky Warbler, Yellow-breasted Bunting, Siberian Rubythroat) and the globally vulnerable Manchurian Reed Warbler. In March large numbers of Oriental Plover pass through the area making this possibly the best area in the world to see this species.
* <eat name="
The American Restaurant" alt="" address=" Por Chea Tepatey Road" directions=" on the side street down from the Arun Ras Hotel; across from the Department of Agriculture" phone ="092 579 410" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price=" reasonable" >Serves handmade ice cream, Australian Beef burgers and homemade pizza. It is quite nice. The owners are friendly. The food is very good especially the ice cream and pizza.</eat> * <eat name=" Arun Ras Hotel" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" email="" fax ="" url="" hours="" price="">An English menu but the food is mediocre and over-priced whilst service can be slow</eat> * <eat name="Stung Sen" alt="" address="" directions="near the river" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price="">The most up-market 'tourist friendly' restaurant in Kompong Thom</eat>
* In the evening, a small night market pitches stalls just in front of the market hall.
* A number of large establishments on the road to Phnom Penh (marked by the ostentatious architecture) are frequented by upper-class Khmer but do good Khmer food.
Don't bother in Kompong Thom. There is Karaoke on the top of the Arunras Hotel
*At the bus stop, walk away from the main street along the little side side street for a minute, there are two simple but quiet '''guesthouses''' in traditional Khmer
-houses with reasonable prices.
*Around the bus stop there are several guesthouses which apparently double as brothels in the evening.
The best place to stay is the Arunras Guesthouse ($3 for a single/double room with a fan). It has cable TV (including ESPN for English football) and is clean with friendly (Khmer speaking) staff. However
its very popular, particularly with Khmer government officials, and can be full.
More up-market are the Arunras Hotel next door and the (favoured by tour groups) Stung Sen Garden Hotel. A number of cheap and dirty
other guesthouses exist.
Whilst 'talked up' by the guide books Sambor Prei Kuk is a disappointment for people expecting temples that even vaguely vie with some of the other Khmer examples. At $3 for a ticket its just about worth it though most of the temples appear to resemble 19th century European brick kilns. Lots of kids hanging around latch on to any visitors (theres not that many) so the 'peaceful' temple in the jungle experience doesn't really happen. Whilst probably important in an historic context a visitor to Cambodia with little time should probably give this temple a miss (Beang Meala outside DomDek is far better).
* Kompong Thom is the starting point for an adventurous tour to the seldom visited jungle plains of northern Cambodia. This '''3-4 days motorbike ride to [[Preah Vihear]]''' is offered by some of the moto-taxi drivers, who will propose it to you once they spot you getting off the bus. With you sitting on the back of the bike, your driver will take you through peaceful villages and rice paddies, passing by friendly locals, spending a night with a local family and visiting the temples of [[Preah Khan Kompong Thom]] and [[Koh Ker]] on your way. A part of the journey leads you along an old Angkorian road and over its ancient bridges. The ride itself is hardship, skidding over sticks and stones, through sand oceans and bamboo forest, sometimes fording small rivers. From [[Preah Vihear]], you will head to [[Siem Reap]] via [[Anlong Veng]], the place where Pol Pot is said to have died.