Kandal Province is around 20kms from the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh. Rich in history, it is becoming a very popular weekend getaway or mini-break for those wanting to escape from the city for a touch of the countryside. Both the Tonle Bassac and the mighty Mekong River flow through the province.
The capital is Ta Khmao (which means Black Grandfather) and is well developed. One of the main drawcards of Kandal Province is Oudong, the former capital of Cambodia from 1618 to 1866. Phnom Oudong is an impressive mountain adorned with Stupas.
Khmers believe the town of Oudong is shaped like a Naga, a multi-headed serpent that guarded Buddha and was home to many previous Kings between 1618 and the mid 1800’s.
In Kandal, there are several silversmith villages, where generations of local Khmer have been crafting silver. Today, Oudong is still considered sacred and houses the ancient relic of Preah Serei Roek Theat (Ash of the Buddha) and Arthross Temple (Temple of Eight Points).
Kandal has a long and interesting history and is home to many ancient artefacts. Its capital, Oudong, once served as the Capital of Cambodia between 1618 and 1866. Many kings including King Norodom were crowned in Oudong.
Locals in Kandal follow traditional Khmer customs. Many regions of the province are considered sacred and of historical importance.
For generations, legends have been passed down through the surrounding mountains and wilderness areas. Many sacred temples serve the largely Buddhist community.
Kandal Province is a significant agricultural region, producing palm oil, peanuts, rice, and pepper. Locals in the province also participate in cottage industries such as wood carving, silk weaving, and making handicrafts. Many clothing factories are located in Kandal Province.
Cool season: November- March (22-28c)
Hot season: March-May (28c -36c)
Rainy season: May – October (24-32c)
Things to Do
Oudong and Oudong Mountain
Kandal Province’s Oudong Mountain has an interesting story attached to it. In the 18th Century, a Chinese King ordered his men to set out across Asia and look for potential threats.
According to the story, when they arrived in Oudong they saw a mountain that resembled a Naga with a magnificent temple on top (Arthross) and returned to the king that the Khmers were rich in power and should a Naga appear through the cavern of Arthross, that they could potentially take over the world.
Located behind Arthross is the stupa of Chker Amao. Chker Amao was the beloved dog of the Preah Sokhun Mean Bon, the head Monk at Arthross.
The monk had trained the dog so well that he could tie a shopping list to his collar and the clever dog would go to each market stall, collecting the items on the list and returning them to his much-loved owner.
Legend says that one he passed away, he was reincarnated as the son of Chinese King. When the young boy started to become crippled with headaches a fortune teller believed that the roots of bamboo trees growing across Amao’s head in his grave in Oudong were the cause. Eventually to roots to the bamboo were cut and a temple Chkeri Amao was built at the site.
Viharas Vihear Preah Ko (Sacred Cow), Vihear Preah Keo (Sacred Precious Stone) and Vihear Prak Neak (The Buddha Protected by a Naga) can be found in this region.
Many stupas are dotted around the province including Chetdei Mouk Pruhm (housing the remains of King Monivong who passed away in 1941, and Trai Train that contains four Bayon faces looking out over Kandal which was built by King Norodom in 1891.
Ang Kor Chey Pagoda
Ang Kor Chey Pagoda is surrounded by lovely scenery and is considered sacred. Many locals chose to visit this pagoda for water blessings by monks.
Lok Ta Khmao Statue
This is the statue of the “Black Grandfather” the town was named after.
Shan Tai Zi Pagoda
Was built in the year 2000 and houses many significant artefacts. The pagoda is adorned with gold coloured fountain and sundial. The young God inside is said to bless worshipers with health and successful business.