Kandal is one of the smaller provinces of Cambodia. This province completely surrounds, but does not include, the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh. It’s capital is Ta Khmau (lit. Black Grandfather) and is around 20km south of Phnom Penh. The province is re-known for its ancient history. One of the major attractions is Udong, which served as the former capital of Cambodia under several sovereigns between 1618 and 1866. A number of kings, including King Norodom, were crowned here.
The most interesting things to see there, are: several Stupas, some of them recently renewed, a huge 8m high reclining Buddha and the battered Ta San Mosque on the smaller ridge. As Kandal province isn’t far from Phnom Penh it is easily and quickly to enter, even if it’s just a day trip. There is quite a bunch of places of interest such as Ang Kor Chey Pagoda, which is located at Ban Tey Dek commune, Kean Svay District with a total distance of 29km from Phnom Penh or 32,6km from Ta Khmao by the National Road N0 1 (Phnom Penh Svay Rieng province). You have to travel along the National Road N0 1 from Phnom Penh or Ta Khmao to Kilometre 29 then exceed about 50 metres, there is a gate at the right with a handwritten sign: Ang Kor Chey Pagoda.
If we enter by trail about 1,600m, we will reach the entertainment center. The pagoda is constructed with five peaks as the temple’s peaks. Before reaching the pagoda, we need to pass over a 100 meter wooden bridge; under the bridge, there is a big pond for keeping water during the dry season. Behind the pagoda you’ll see an artificial site located on the black hill characterized as resident of Neak Mean Bon or King. It is said that the black hill is a former palace, because they found ancient objects and equipment like bowls and pots characterizing ancient features.
Now, the black hill has been organized and maintained by guards, because it relates to the belief in sacred objects there. Nowadays, Angkor Chey pagoda has a lot of local visitors, especially those, who cling to abstract belief; they go there to have themselves sacredly watered. In addition, Ang Kor Chey pagoda is surrounded with beautiful scenery offering cool shadows from the trees and a pleasant environment.
Kandal province is 3,568 square kilometers big. It’s located in the middle-south of the country and is bordering to the North with Kampong Chhnang and Kampong Cham, in the East with Prey Veng, in the West with Kampong Speu and Takeo and to the South with Vietnam.
The province consists of the typical plain wet area for Cambodia, covering rice fields and other agricultural plantations. The average altitude of the province is supposedly not more than 10m above see level. The province also features two of the biggest rivers of the country (actually they symbolize the provincial borders) the Tonle Bassac and the mighty Mekong.
The country has a tropical climate warm and humid. In the monsoon season, abundant rain allows for the cultivation of a wide variety of crops. This year-round tropical climate makes Cambodia ideal for developing tourism. Travelers need not to fear natural disasters such as erupting volcanoes or earthquakes, and the country is not directly affected by tropical storms.
Cambodia can be visited throughout the year. However, those plans to travel extensively by road should be avoided the last two months of the rainy season when some countryside roads may be impassable. The average temperature is about 27 degrees Celsius; the minimum temperature is about 16 degrees. December and January are the coolest months, whereas the hottest is April.
General information about the provincial climate:
- Cool season: November- March (22-28c)
- Hot season: March- May (28c -36c)
- Rainy season: May – October (24-32c, with humidity up to 90%.)
The current population in this province is about 1,280,781 people or 9% of the country’s total population (14,363,519 person in Cambodia, 2007, provincial government data), with 621,948 male and 658,833 female. The population density is therefore 359 people per square kilometre.
As Kandal province is around Phnom Penh it serves as an economic belt of the capital. For instance Cambodia has become the sixth largest garment exporter in the world in 2007 (most of these factories are in Kandal province). The industry created job opportunities for about 0.5 million Cambodians and generated some 0.3 billion U.S. dollars of monthly payment for the employees. Also agricultural exports flourished in 2007, as palm oil, peanuts, rice, pepper and other rural products became ever more popular in the international markets.
Finally, luxury real estate project like the Longing Resort in Kandal province was demolished on July 31, as it expanded its land illegally and in effect constituted menace to the safety of the capital city. The Asia Development Bank put Cambodia’s economic growth rate for the past year at 9.5 percent and nine percent in 2008, while the Cambodian government gave a conservative estimation of seven percent both in 2007 and 2008.
How to Get There
Bus (general information):
As the Kandal province is very closed to Phnom Penh there is several options to go there depending in which direction you would like to go. Irrespective where you would like to go you?ll find a vehicle at the central bus station southwest from the Central Market. Many buses go to the other provinces so they always have to pass Kandal province. If you would like to go to the provincial capital Ta Khmau there is Sorya buses going to the provincial capital of Takeo every day at 7am, 8am, 12am and 1pm. It shouldn’t cost you more than US$0.5-1. Share Taxis:
Lots of share taxis leave unscheduled every day to Ta Khmau opposite from the central bus station. The prices are around US$1-2. Motorbike Info:
Almost every Highway around Phnom Penh is in best condition, so no worries. Riding your motorbike to Ta Khmau you have to take National Highway No 2 to the South. If you would like to hit the road to the North you have to take the National Highways No 4 or 5, depending on your destination.
What to see
Koh dach, Kandal is a picturesque island located on the banks of Mekong River, on the upstream of Phnom Penh. Kandal is one of the provinces in Cambodia offering a vast range of sightseeing places and historical sites. Koh dach, Kandal is one of the popular tourist destinations in the province as well as in Cambodia. The entire area of Koh dach island covers 30 square kilometers of land lying on the shores of Mekong River. The travelers, who want a break from the buys and hectic life, can land to this secluded and sleepy island. The tourists can reach the island within a minute from Phnom Penh by availing boats. The island is located on the National Road No. 6a in Kon Dach Commune.
The visitors arriving at the island can have ample opportunities to have fresh air and recreation. The riverside resort is an ideal destination for the people seeking peace and silence. The visitors can have abundant of traditional handicrafts like silk weaving, pottery, dyeing and wood carving. If they want to buy these local articles, they can pay a visit to the local workshops and street shops as well as handicraft center. The tourists can also have an insight of the local villages and the lifestyle of the villagers living near the Mekong River by touring this part of the city. There are satisfying arrangements for riding cruise boat and enjoy swimming. The island is also a perfect venue for excursion, day trip and picnic.
The island is famed as an important silk weaving center. The handicraft production is one of the most famous attractions for the tourists. The commune of Koh Dach involves 5 villages, known as Koh Dach, Kbal Koh, Lvea, Chong Koh and Neah village. The prominent occupation of the local villagers consists of: Planting sub-product crop such as corn, sesame, bean and banana Planting fruit tree Manufacturing mosquito net, silk sarong, phamuong, Hol, silk krama and running small businesses There are three pagodas located in the commune of Koh Duch, such as: Ampor Phal ,Kra Pumpich ,Sa Maki kbal koh travel.mapsofworld.com provides you on-line description of Koh dach, Kandal.
Phnom Udongis located in Psar Dek and Phnom Bat communes, Ponhea Leu district, about 41 kilometers north of Phnom Penh. The city drops behind while fishing villages and rice paddies surround either side of the sweeping plains of Kandal province. Then without warning, a mountain rises above it all, topped by the spire of stupas like some fairy castle. The road to Udong is clearly marked, and the distance along this road to the former city is less than 4 kilometers. Picnic huts selling everything from sweet palm fruit to roasted chicken cluster around the base of the hill.
There are three names for this hill: Phnom Udong, Phnom Preah Reach Troap and Phnom Edthareus. The site includes the summits of five hills: Chetdei, Trai Treung, Chetdei Kampul Buon, Preah Ang Chol Nipean, and Ariya Kasaks. Chetdy and Trai Treung summits are the same height. The area of Phnom Udong is about 1,500 meters by 700 meters from the east to the west.
Close up, Udong actually appears as two hump-backed hills. The smaller is topped by shrines and the remains of Ta San mosque, built by a Cham Muslim on ground given to him for the purpose by one of the ancient kings. The main hill is said to be shaped like a naga. The stupas on the main hill house the remains of past monarchs, includil’lg King Moniyang and King Ang Duong. A new huge stupa at the end of the mountain ridge was completed in 2002 and built to hold relics of the Buddha. The relics, once housed in a small stupa near the railroad station in Phnom Penh, were .relocated to the new stupa by King Norodom Sihanouk and Queen Norodom Monineath Sihanouk in December 2002.
This site is of particular interest to visitors seeking to learn about early Cambodian history. Udong was home to several kings when it served as the Cambodian capital between AD 1618 and 1866. In addition, it offers more than an exhibit of ancient history. At the top of the stairs on the left lies the city’s most impressive structure, Vihear Preah Edthareus, sanctuary of the 18 cubit Buddha, retains the scars of heavy strafing inflicted in face-to-face firefights between Khmer Rouge, Lon Nol and American troops in the 1970s. The eight huge columns of the shrine rise into the sky, the roof they once supported was destroyed when Khmer Rouge forces blew up the temple in 1977. The arm and part of one side of a huge Buddha remains, and his face has placed at the foot of the pedestal and a modern shrine built around it.
However, the severity of the fighting and the extent of the damage to this once magnificent building do not take away from its haunting beauty. The views of the surrounding countryside from entire ridge are breathtaking, and the silence casts an air of serenity over the battleground of a war long past.
Phnom Prasithis located in Makak commune, Ang Snoul district and in Chhviang commune, Ponhea Leu district, north of Phnom Penh. To get there, take National Road 5 north about 11 kilometers to Prek Pneuv Market point. From there, turn left and drive another 13 kilometers along a dirt trail. The total distance is about 24 kilometers from Phnom Penh or about 35 kilometers from Takmao provincial town. In the future, once National Road 26 is completed and the trail to Phnom Prasith is improved, visitors will be able to visit Phnom Prasith, and then continue on to Phnom Udong. Or, they could visit Udong first and Phnom Prasith later.
Phnom Prasith is composed of two hills, the East Hill and the West Hill. The West Hill has no stories. The East Hill, however, has stories relating to religion and the Khmer king. It also has a large statue of the reclining Buddha reaching nirvana.There are not many big trees in Phnom Prasith, and there are no development plans for now. The site attracts few visitors because there is poor organization and management. Nevertheless, this area has beautiful scenery, abundant fresh air and is rich in culture and history.
About 1 kilometer from Phnom Prasith, there is a man-made cultural site called Phnom Reap or Prasat Vihear Suor. Based on the style of Angkor Wat which is why it is called the New Angkor Wat, Phnom Reap was constructed of stone and cement between 1996 and 1998 for about 1 million US dollars. The money was raised from local and foreign sources by Mr. Meas Sarin.Today, Phnom Reap attracts many Cambodian and foreign tourists. It is often used as the backdrop for Cambodian videos.
Where to Eat
There are numerous restaurants and bars in Kandal. You can enjoy an authentic dinning experience at the restaurants and bars in Kandal province. Restaurants offer you a cuisine which is quite light on the stomach. And what?s more, the dishes come at reasonable rates. Mostly the dishes come teemed with rice or sometimes noodles. You will also get both Thai and Vietnamese characteristics in Khmer food. The people of Kandal (also all over Cambodia) prefer a stronger sour taste in their dishes. The dishes become spicier with the addition of Prahok. If you are yearning for some Chinese cuisine in Kandal, you won’t be disappointed. A large number of Chinese restaurants are scattered all across Kandal.
You have to take a few sips of the famous Palm wine and rice wine in exotic bars in Kandal. At least the golden muscle wine offers you an authentic Khmer experience. The reputed restaurants and bars in Kandal include the LElphant Blanc Resort, Srey Touch Restaurant, Club Evergreen Co Ltd, Say Sabok Restaurant and Bar, Villa 777 Restaurant, Ses Sor Restaurant, Restaurant Sountepheap Water Park and Samros Bopha Boeung Taben Guesthouse & Restaurant among others.
Say Sabok Restaurant
& Bar: (tel:011564615) Located in Kandal province closed to the Riverside. Restaurant with Khmer and international cuisine. Big Bar. Also rooms to stay overnight.
Ses Sor Restaurant: (tel:012613362) Located at the National Road No N2 , No 068 in Takhmao. They have a huge range of Khmer and Chinese dishes.
L Elphant Blanc Resort: (tel:024398688) Located on the National Road No 1, 7 Km after the Monivong Bridge, in front of Prek Eng Commune. A big resort offering almost everything you need, whether it’s a comfortable room or an exquisite dish.
Restaurant Sountepheap Water Park: (tel:01282138) Located on the National Road No 1 near Mittapheap Village, Prek Eng Commune, Kien Svay District, (on the right).
Where to Stay
Many guesthouse can be found in cheap price in the city but luxury hotels are not available. Phnom Penh is a part of Kandal Province and it is few minutes by taxi or motordop, where you can have luuxry accommodation.
As it is quite common in Cambodia even small cities, such as Ta Khmau have at least one big market. You may also find a market in Ta Khmau center, which are very busy areas with local shops dealing the local daily consumer products, like fish, fruits, vegetables, meats and packed products. Most of the food and drink shops are surrounding the market. To take something special from this province along, buy some famous palm, rice or muscle wine.