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Kampong Cham, Cambodia

Kampong Cham is the third-largest city in Cambodia located on the banks of the Mekong River relatively close to Phnom Penh and Vietnam. Kampong Cham is an important trade and transportation hub in Cambodia.

The little town was an important trading post during the French colonial period, and the legacy of that time can be seen on Kampong Cham's streets, in the ennobled classic buildings and wide boulevards beside the Mekong River. Thus the city can be described as a mix of the old and the new. Kampong Cham is quaint and charming just like its locals who are very open and friendly.

Among the Kampong Cham must-sees is the amazing Tonle Sap Lake. It is the perfect place to experience the unique Cambodian floating villages built atop the water and see the genuine rural life of the locals. These villages have their own schools, shops, hospitals, and even crocodile farms! In its wet season, the Tonle Sap is one of the largest freshwater lakes in Asia expanding to 12,000 km2 (4633 mi2 ) and providing over half of the country's fishing industry, making it the most densely populated area in Cambodia.

Another place worth visiting is the Kampong Chhnang, a bustling dockside and the clay pot capital of Cambodia. The port town in the very heart of Cambodia is home to the country's main fishery and rice plantations. What is more, the French colonial history had ironed this city with unique marks.

Of course, the Wat Hanchey Temple can't be left unseen during your Cambodia travel. Located about 20 km (12 mi) up the Mekong River from the provincial town of Kompong Cham, this hilltop temple complex is an important center of worship and an outstanding Cambodia landmark. The oldest part of the temple dates back to the 7th or 8th century. It's a red brick edifice with crowded temples, pagodas, stupas, houses, and statues, depicting mythical figures and creatures, wild and domestic animals, and even a huge variety of fruit.

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Boasting impressive temples, pristine nature, and incomparable bright spirit, Cambodia is the hidden gem of Asia that is just waiting to be discovered.