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Kampong Cham Location Profile

Kampong Cham Location Profile
Kampong Cham Location Profile

Overview

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Kampong Cham (also spelled Kompong Cham) province is located in southeastern Cambodia and is part of the lower plains of the Mekong River.

Kampong Cham means "Port of the Chams" in Khmer - Kampong means port,  while Cham is a reference to the ethnic Cham people living in the Cambodian province. 

The capital of Kampong Cham city is located 124 kilometres away from the nation’s capital of Phnom Penh. Kompong Cham is regarded as a local land and water transport hub and the province is an intersection in Cambodia with bus and road transport frequently stopping here before venturing onto Mondulkiri, Ratanakiri, and other provinces. 

Kampong Cham has been long regarded as an agricultural hub for Cambodia, and agri-business has driven the local economy and enabled Kampong Cham to prosper economically and socially. Agri-business also provides the foundation for further economic development and investment opportunities.

Key Information

Historically, the territory of Kampong Cham was a destination for ships and sailors, and people eventually gathered to settle here and established a major waterway trade center. 

Kampong Cham has numerous historical sites. Wat Nokor temple was built in the 11th century and is one of the few remaining archaeological sites from that era. The site is located 2.2 kilometers from Kampong Cham provincial town along National Road 7, about 122 kilometers northeast of Phnom Penh. The Nokor Bachey Temple is divided into four buildings and the biggest is  421 meters by 371 meters in dimension.

It also believed that Jayavarman VII used this as his headquarters for a time, from where he extended his influence over nearby principalities.

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.

Kampong Cham has previously been awarded Cambodia’s #1 provincial ranking for its pro-business environment in terms of the lowest entry costs; most secure property rights; transparent policies and regulations, regulatory compliance and high private sector participation in policy. In addition, the large, young, educated and inexpensive local labour force is another advantage to business development in the long term.

The province also boasted a 7.9 per cent in average economic growth from 2013 to 2017 which was above the national Cambodian average.

Kampong Cham is mostly an agricultural province and the province is an important producer of rubber, cashew nuts, and rice. It also has an abundance of fruit orchards brimming with mangosteen, lychee, durian, and rambutan. There is a thriving fishing industry along the Mekong River.

The province also produces rice, corn, banana, tobacco, jute, sugarcane, rubber and has several garment factories.

Additionally, there is potential in tourism with many cultural and historical sites, natural forests, mountains and waterfalls along the Mekong River.

Kampong Cham is placed among the highest priorities in the country’s economic development. In the three-year rolling provincial investment programme (2019 – 2021), 46.77 per cent of $521 million was allocated for economic development in Kampong Cham.

In February 2020, the provincial administration announced it was looking to build on the infrastructure throughout the city, with all roads accessible to the city. In addition, the government plans to transform and develop the city of Kampong Cham into a smart city, along with the installation of LED street lights in a number of major streets, to attract and promote tourism in the region.

Whereas most of the country is ethnically Khmer and Buddhist, there is a large portion of Muslims and Christians in Kampong Cham as well as Cambodians with ethnic Chinese backgrounds. 

41.09 % of the population are between 25 and 54 years old, with an average age of 25.7 years across Cambodia.

The population of Kampong Cham province in 2019 is approximately 900,000 people. The results of the latest census should be available in 2020-2021.

Things To Do in Kampong Cham

The local market in Kampong Cham city - the Kampong Cham market, has a complete supply of just about anything that you may need. A night market springs up on the western side in the evenings. This market is not aimed at tourist gimmicks or goods, rather it is where Cambodian purchase their fresh produce, meat, and spices, along with clothing, hardware, and toys.

There are also pharmacies in the city and some souvenirs available as well as local restaurants and Khmer BBQ and bars.

One of the most famous sites in Kampong Cham is the bamboo bridge (Ko Paen Bamboo Bridge), connecting the mainland to a Mekong River island called Koh Paen. 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.

The city is connected to the district of Tbong khmum by the Kizuna bridge, the first in Cambodia to span the Mekong. It was opened in 2001 and construction of the bridge was funded by a $56 million grant from the Japanese government. The Kizuna bridge is 1500 metres long and an estimated 10,000 people crowded the bridge for the opening ceremony!

Kampong Cham has an outdoor Olympic size 50 meter swimming pool with 5 and 10 meter diving boards. As of January 2020 the entry cost was $2 USD. 

The French Colonial Watchtower on the banks of the Mekong was built in the 1900s by the French. 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.

One of the last remaining wooden pagodas in Cambodia, Wat Maha Leap is also located in the province. Mountain Pros and Mountain Srey, two mountains located just west of the city are also popular bike rides from the city.

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 fresh (or popular dried) 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 Kampong Cham city, the popular street food insects are easily available, meanwhile Kampong Cham hosts restaurants and eateries offering a mixture of Khmer, Western, and Asian cuisine along the riverfront. 

One of these is SMILE Café, which is run by a local NGO serving international food in their training restaurant, and former vulnerable children are taught cooking, English and service skills.

Lazy Mekong Daze nearby serves great Mekong fish and Asian food - it also doubles up as a hostel.

A number of food and drink stands also set up along the riverside during the evening for those who want an informal meal.

For coffee lovers, Destiny Coffee House is a great choice, they are also run by an NGO working with vulnerable young people. Other franchised coffee retailers such as Coffee Today and Amazon Cafe are also in the town.

And for those adventurous foodies, suggested visiting the town of Skuon in Kampong Cham Province, where the speciality is deep fried tarantula.

In the early evening in Kampong Cham city, food and drink stalls set up shop along the riverfront offering a great place to stop and enjoy the views of the Mekong.

All the Western restaurants on the river front also serve beer and often cocktails, have happy hours, and often offer discounts.

The nightclubs and bars in Kampong Cham, such as Gold Club, Asian KTV, Phnom Bros Karaoke, Check Sound Karaoke, Ms Ktv, Kravan Lounge Pub are tailored to local Cambodian tastes.

Although, for such a large town, Kampong Cham does not offer a huge array of nightlife.

Several Bus companies operate daily service between Kampong Cham and Phnom Penh, including Capitol Bus, Giant Ibis, Giant Ibis, and Sorya Bus. Bus fares from Phnom Penh to Kampong Cham typically range between $5 and $7 and typically take two to three hours.

In addition minibuses and minivans have routes between Phnom Penh and Kampong Cham. Local taxis are also available, but fares are more expensive, ranging from $60 to $100 one-way, and carpooling is slightly cheaper.

You can walk or ride a bike around Kampong Cham, where bikes and motorcycles are available at regular rental shops, hotels and hotels, or take a tuk tuk, starting at $2.

Bicycles are probably the most relaxed way to get around. As everywhere is flat and closely located this is a good and cheap way to discover the area, especially on Koh Pen.

Tuk tuks or the remork-moto is a carriage attached to a motorcycle and popular in the major cities, while newer smaller tuk tuks have also entered the market in recent years and are popular with a number of ride-hailing apps which are commonly used in Camboian cities.

Boats and cruises also operate in Kampong Cham City.

The Cham population in Kampong Cham is the largest minority group in the province, however, with the development of Kampong Cham, it attracts more and more expats,especially those from China, Vietnam and other Western countries.

There is a large portion of Muslims and Christians in Kampong Cham alongside citizens with ethnic Chinese backgrounds and Vietnamese. 

Real Estate in Kampong Cham

Khans in Kampong Cham