The other really awesome thing about Kampong Cham is the islands sitting in the middle of the Mekong River just south of town.
Accessible during the dry season by a bamboo bridge with a $1 toll, this was easily one of the most harrowing driving experiences of my life. With every inch forward the bamboo shifts, screams, and convinces you its on the verge of destruction. This continues the ENTIRE length of the bridge, but somehow you never grow accustomed to it. As I tried to ease my way across while avoiding near certain peril, locals flew past me going at least twice as fast as I was. I may have been quicker at a light jog than I was driving.
After the terrifying initiation ordeal is finished, though, the islands are all about relaxing, going slow, and looking around. This girl’s family invited me to come hang out with them, gave me some strange fruit to snack on, and the girl tried to convince me to give her the water bottle I’d brought with me. She clearly doesn’t understand the amazing utility of a Nalgene…
The further along the road you go, the more spread out the villages are and the stranger it feels to be trespassing through the area. The most unexpected find was a large mosque built on stilts to resist flood waters. On the furthest from Kampong Cham, this little community was a bit of a surprise, though I have noticed mosques every once in a while as I’ve been traveling in Cambodia. Except for this family on the beach who gave me directions to the ferry home, most people didn’t seem to want me to take pictures, though.