Oddar Meanchey, meaning “Victorious North” in Khmer, is situated in the far North-West region of Cambodia, close to popular Siem Reap province and Preah Vihear. Its boundaries also make up some of the border with neighbouring country Thailand with O’Smach being a recognized border crossing.
Once a province of Thailand known as Phanomsok, the region was handed back to Cambodia in the early 1900’s during French colonization and what was once part of Siem Reap is now its own province. Rich in nature, the countryside merges with the Dangrek Mountains.
In the South-East of Oddar Meanchey, you can find Kulen Promtep which is a wildlife sanctuary that extends into Preah Vihear province. The sanctuary contains a large swamp and lowland forest as well as a number of endangered animals and birds.
The land that is now Oddar Meanchey formed part of a Siamese (Thai) province from 1795 -1907. After King Sisowath passed away in 1907 the land reclaimed from the Siamese was split to later become Battambang and Siem Reap.
Between 1941 and 1946, the region was still ruled by the Thai government and was known as the province “Phibunsongkram”. It wasn’t until 1966 that the region officially belonged to Cambodia following influence from French diplomats, and 1995 when Oddar Meanchey province was declared its own province by decree of King Sihanouk.
Cool season – November- March (22c-28c)
Hot season – March-May (27c -35c)
Rainy season – May – October (24c-32c)
Things to Do
If you love flowers, Champei (or Laang Ta Thong) waterfall will charm you, being surrounded by many wildflowers including orchids. The falls are around 35kms outside of the town centre and include an impressive 500sqm boulder.
Nearby Ruot Champei is a sacred site where monks meditate and is adorned by many statues depicting various stories about life and religion.
Anlong Veng is a historically significant site. The final home of Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, many come here to pay their respects and learn about Cambodia’s past. Anlong Veng is also close to the Cambodian Wildlife Sanctuary.
For a life-changing experience, you can volunteer at the sanctuary and help care for wildlife, especially elephants. It’s possible to stay overnight in the sanctuary in small wooden huts and learn more about the native wildlife and nearby village life.
Oddar Meanchey has a surprising amount of temples, some easy to locate and others still requiring adventure in order to explore them. In late 2013, a cluster of eleven temples and other historical ruins were found in Tropang Prosat district of Oddar Meanchey province.
Hidden away in the forest they have been named as Rolom Toek Kmao, Tatonh, Lboeuk Chrei, Trapang Toem, Sva Kres, Ou Chek, Krohorm Senchey, Tropang Prosat, Ou Svay, Totoul Cha and Totoul Prosat. Since their discovery, the authorities have worked hard to make them more accessible.