Kampong Speu Province is found to the west of Phnom Penh. It borders Kampot to the south with Koh Kong to the west. Kandal province the east, Takeo to the southeast with the provinces of both Pursat and Kompong Chhnang to the north. Chbarmorn town is the capital of the province.
Kampong Speu (meaning starfruit in Khmer) is located just under 50km from Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh. The region contains many rivers, mountains and dense forest and is well known for its production of palm wine and palm sugar which is produced from the sap of palm trees.
The sap is boiled until it forms a syrup which crystalizes in molds to become palm sugar. If the sap is not used it starts to ferment and becomes palm wine which not tastes good (though it packs a punch), and is believed by locals to be good for blood circulation.
Kampong Speu is a wonderful place to visit if you want to take some respite from the hustle and bustle of busy Phnom Penh and has a lot to offer curious travellers. It also makes a great stopover on the way to Sihanoukville and is the gateway to the ever increasingly popular Kirirom National Park.
The largest river, Preaek Thnot separates Tang Tonle Village and Ampe Phnom Village, and a swinging wooden bridge, perfect for the adventurous, now joins the two.
Kampong Speu has a semi-tropical climate. In the mountain and forest areas, the temperature can drop a little lower than average.
Rainy season – May – October (26-34c)
Cool season – November- March (16-26c)
Hot season – March-May (25c -35c)
Kirirom National Park was first on the tourist map in 1945, when it gained the name Kirirom (meaning Joyful Mountain) after a local monk suggested the name to the King. The mountain itself is 700 metres tall and covers a massive 35 000 hectares.
Kampong Speu is still home to hill tribes and many believe the surrounding mountains and forests to have spiritual significance. Khmer fortune tellers often retreat into the wilderness in search of sacred plants and ancient artefacts.
The pagoda (Wat) in Kampong Speu dates back to 1632 and is adorned with stunning frescoes that tell the story of the life of Buddha.
Things to Do
Kirirom National Park
Kirirom National Park (named Joy or Joyful mountain by a Khmer monk) is 700 metres tall and expands over 35000 hectares. With a cooler climate than surrounding regions, it’s becoming more and more popular as a local getaway for residents of Phnom Penh as well as international travellers.
The waterfalls, lush pine forest and abundance of flora and fauna it’s easy to see why it’s becoming so popular.
Chambok Ecotourism Site is located in Chambok which consists of nine villages on the outskirts of Kirirom. The site is managed by Mlup Baitong, a local NGO that is working to increase environmental awareness. The local community offers many activities including traditional ox-cart rides, guided nature walks and homestays. You can also visit a local bat cave and what’s even better is that any proceeds are directly fed back into the local community.
Chambok is also home to a breathtaking 40-metre high waterfall that can be reached after a scenic 3.5km hike through natural landscape.
Phnom Aural is the highest peak in all of Cambodia. Located in the eastern region of the Cardamom Mountains, it’s 1,813 meters tall. The local area has been designated as a Wildlife Sanctuary in order to protect the biodiversity of the mountains.
Te Teuk Pus Hot Spring
Te Teuk Pus Hot Spring is located in Phnom Te Village, around 60km out of the town centre. This rare hot spring is the accumulation of six different natural water sources, with a distinguishing smell of sulfur.
The water is a hot 70 degrees but local villagers from the Kuoy minority hill tribe believe the springs hold magical powers and that washing your face in the hot pungent water brings good luck. The waters are also said to hold several health benefits such as curing illnesses and skin diseases.
A beautiful nature reserve, Ampe Phnom is the home of Prek Thnoat River which is adorned with bamboo huts and offers refreshing swimming opportunities. Scenic walking trails and lush greenery add to the appeal and cheeky monkeys may have their eyes on you from the nearby woodland. Fresh cooked chicken and fish can often be purchased from the grills in the huts surrounding the river.