A small town situated between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, Kampong Thom is the base for a hive of attractions that will get you off the beaten track. Often overlooked by tourists, Kampong Thom is a lively market town with excellent shopping for souvenirs and fantastic dining options, from local delicacies to international delights.
Take a walk down Stung Sen Street, lined with charming wooden houses; visit Wat Kompuong, a temple designed with a bright mix of old and modern Buddhist architecture; or visit the French Governor's Residence, where three old mahogany trees hold the incredible site of hundreds of large bats fanning themselves throughout the day.
The Stung Sen River winds its way through the centre of town, leading to the spectacular countryside peppered with natural and cultural wonders.
Take a journey into the forest to discover the hidden ruins of Sambor Prei Kuk, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nestled deep within the trees, Sambor Prei Kuk is an ancient complex of temples, which was built 400 years before Angkor, between the 6th and 8th centuries. It was the largest temple complex in Southeast Asia at the time, said to have served as the inspiration for the Angkor architects.
Here, you can soak up the serenity of a lesser-visited ancient site, taking in the beauty of the tree vines wrapped tightly around the intricately carved temples. The enchanting atmosphere will make you feel as though you’ve stumbled on a secret.
Closer to town, you’ll find the colourful temples of Phnom Suntuk. Climb the 807 stone steps to be rewarded with a spectacular view over the countryside, cloaked in glimmering rice fields.
For those staying longer in Kampong Thom, take a day trip to Preah Khan of Kompong Svay. Stretching across five square kilometres, Preah Khan is the largest temple complex built during the Angkorian era. Enjoy the tranquillity as you roam through tree-entwined temples and spectacular ruins. Thanks to the remote location, you’ll likely have it all to yourself!
Kampong Thom is the perfect place for travellers wanting to explore a lesser-known locale and discover the hidden gems of Cambodia.