From Phnom Penh I travelled four hours north to the Kampong Thom province, the second largest in Cambodia. Much of this area is on the floodplain of the Tonlé Sap lake, the largest freshwater lake in South-East Asia, a designated UNESCO biosphere reserve. A few sights from the road…
I spent the night in a homestay with the group I was travelling with. At the time (September 2013) this was probably the most basic place I’d ever stayed at. Now it looks positively luxurious!
There was a tremendous electrical storm in the evening.
In the morning I went for a walk around the village, surrounded by lush fields.
Close by were the remains of the capital of the Chenla Empire, which was at it’s peak during the 6th and 7th centuries. Sambor Prei Kuk was home to over a hundred temples, and was a great warm up for the sights of Angkor which followed.
When I visited the site it was relatively unknown, but since 2017 it has been an UNESCO World Heritage Site, and I suspect you’d have been lucky (pre-Covid) to have had the place to yourself as we did.
There are three distinctive complexes within a 1,000 acre site surrounded by double walls.
Continuing onto Siem Reap we crossed an Angkorian era bridge with distinctive architecture.