Lazy Mekong Days in Kampong Cham

Please note the disclaimer re VSO at the top of this blog.

Please also credit Matthew and Beth with some of the (better) photographs!

We had an extra day in Kampong Cham to allow Joan to recover from her tummy bug.  She settled enough to take the bus to Siem Reap on Thursday 30th, arriving in the evening.  We must have had the best bus driver in Cambodia.. not a single dangerous overtaking, never over 80km/h and only one emergency brake in 6 hours.   The delay allowed us to see a bit more around Kg Cham, after a lazy breakfast.  In the morning we headed North to Phnom Hanchey (by the way, ‘phnom’ means ‘hill’), a peculiar collection of the ancient and modern, with the remains of 6th Century temples vying for attention with the monastic living quarters and refectories of the modern pagoda and  a collection of (person-sized) concrete sculptures of fruit and vegetables.  The local wildlife, namely a number of scurvy dogs and unwashed orphan kids, took a great interest in us!  The pagodas provide a kind of social safety net for some of those without families.

6th century temple remains at Phnom Hanchey

It's a papaya!

The mighty Mekong from Phnom Hanchey

they were only here for the sweeties....
















































In the afternoon, we went south again.   We saw handloom weaving underneath the house in the shade (didn’t the British handloom weavers of the late 18th / early 19th Century used to put their working room at the top of the house, with extra windows for light?) on a traditional loom.  When we arrived the weaver was on her own, but we attracted a lot of local interest so half the village came round.  Beth and Jo bought a few scarfs.  Later we saw some mechanised weaving in a ‘factory’ that the early factory masters would have recognised, except for the electrical power and unsafe working environment (yes the working environment of the early factories would be slightly safer than the one we saw, with several small machines under the house on uneven flooring with no guards, kids and animals all around… ).

Later we saw a performance of traditional Apsara dancing from some of the orphans being looked after by the Buddhist charity in Kg Cham (see: ), thus ending the day with the colourful costumes and disciplined dancing of the youngsters, in the atmospheric Wokor Not temple.    First was the ‘blessing dance’ followed by the ‘knocking dance’ (with coconut shells!).   The mp4 extract which follows is a little jerky and the movements seem to be slowed down relative to the music, but it still gives you an idea of what was a fabulous end to our day.

the blessing dance

The next morning Joan was feeling better so we took her out to the Lotus Field (see yesterday’s post) and she had a little bit more of the KC experience!


7 thoughts on “Lazy Mekong Days in Kampong Cham

  1. Great to read the stories, sorry to hear Joan is ill… What a pity! Know you are welcome in Battambang, although the sunsets in Kampong Cham are nicer…
    Have fun together!

    • Hi Leandra First of all I hope 2011 brings you and Andre every happiness. It’s great to know you are following our progress.. thanks!! However we won’t make it to BBG I’m afraid. We have temple tours planned and then it will be time to go back to PP! Time is flying but it’s great fun. Joan is on the mend but still a bit ‘wobbly’! Take care Danny

      Best wishes

      Daniel Murphy

      VSO Technical Adviser Dept of Curriculum Development Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport Personal Mobile: 078809938 VSO in Cambodia: 023216734

  2. Happy New Year to you all there in 2011, from 2010! Hope Joan’s feeling lots better and can enjoy where you are now.

    Lots of love and good wishes,


    • thanks Tim.. and to you too!! Every best wish for 2011. Joan is beginning to progress.. slow but steady. Danny

      Best wishes

      Daniel Murphy

      VSO Technical Adviser Dept of Curriculum Development Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport Personal Mobile: 078809938 VSO in Cambodia: 023216734

  3. Thanks for all the well wishes.
    Feeling a lot better and decided that couldn’t have been ill in a better place than the Mekong Hotel and once I was perpendicular was able to watch the world go by from the balcony overlooking the riverfront. I’m now an expert on how many styles of motorbike riding there are – think the most bizarre was a mum with her toddler who was hooked up to a drip!
    Unfortunately Matthew has also developed the dreaded lurgy so we console each other on which flavour of fruit juice is the most gentle on our stomachs. But tummy upsets are all part of the rich experience and will write more when energy permits.

  4. Danny Joan and the Murphy massive hope trip continues well have a great 2011. Hope Joan pheeling better and that great white phone not needed again!

    our love Simpson clan

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