Sights in Kompong Cham
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Koh Paen is a rural island in the Mekong River, connected to the southern reaches of Kompong Cham town by an elaborate bamboo bridge in the dry season or a local ferry in the wet season. The bamboo bridge is an attraction in itself, totally built by hand each year and looking like it is made of matchsticks from afar. There are plenty of local wats on the island and locals make a living fishing, as well as growing tobacco and sesame.
During the dry season, several sandbars, the closest thing to a beach in this part of Cambodia, appear around the island. The best way to get about the island is by bicycle, which is possible to arrange through some of the budget guesthouses…
The original fusion temple, Wat Nokor is a modern Theravada Buddhist pagoda squeezed into the walls of an 11th-century Mahayana Buddhist shrine of sandstone and laterite. It is a kitsch kind of place and many of the older building's archways have been incorporated into the new building as shrines for worship. On weekdays there are only a few monks in the complex and it is peaceful to wander among the many alcoves and their hidden shrines. There is also a large reclining Buddha.
To get here, head out of town on the road to Phnom Penh, and take the left fork at the large roundabout about 1km from town. The temple is at the end of this pretty dirt road.
Looming over the Mekong River opposite town is an old French lighthouse. For years it was an abandoned shell, but has recently been renovated, including an incredibly steep metal staircase, more like a series of ladders. Don't attempt the climb if you are scared of heights, as it is a long way down. There are great views across the Mekong from the summit.