The floating village of Phoum Kandal and Wat Oudong

Lying in bed wrapped in a cotton sheet I watch sunrise in Battambang. Through the blind the sky is turning from reds to yellows.

The dull whirr of the air conditioning, the buzz of insects waking, the occasional motorbike whining by and horns beeping; and below it all is the quiet, mourning melody of a Khmer guitar playing a sad stirring tune.

The sky is blue and the sun is up, the traffic is building as cars beep and drive by the hotel. Voices call and the music disappears into the background, drowned out by the sounds of the day.

We left Battambang early, heading for Phnom Penh. The drive was long and so we stopped en-route at Phoum Kandal, a Vietnamese floating village on Tonle Sap. We caught a local boat to visit the village. Unlikely Mechrey I’d visited a few days before, this floating village was along the lake edge rather than out in the depths of the lake. It was also clear that there was a divide between the poor and extreme poor even in the floating village.

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From Phoum Kandal we travelled on to Oudong to visit the Wat on the hillside.

The area of Oudong was the old capital of Cambodia, before it moved to Phnom Penh in the 19th Century. The limestone hillside of Phnom Oudong and its Wat is now the official resting place of the Buddha’s bones possessed by Cambodia and the three large stupas house the remains of three Cambodian kings.

Unlike some of the newer temples I’d visited which are becoming in need of a little love; Wat Oudong was being restored with funding from UNESCO when I visited.

Phnom Oudong is worth visiting there are fantastic views from the top across Oudong and out to Phnom Penh.

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