Kampot – a rural province
After lunch we traveled through the province known as Kampot to visit the Kampong Trach limestone caves. The mountains of Kampong Trach became one of the last Khmer Rouge strongholds. Phnom Voar is where the victims of the 1994 Khmer Rouge kidnappings were held.
Kampot is the name of the town as well as the province. Kampot is a very pretty rural area with the Elephant mountains as a backdrop. Along the way we ran into a tropical downpour, glad we weren’t caught out in it (our turn would come later). The rice fields in the region are so green with small farmhouses dotted among them, an odd grey buffalo wading in the paddocks.
Caves – Kampong Trach Village
Kampong Trach is a small village on the way to the caves. Rugged mountain crags rising high above the forest trees indicated we were nearing our destination. The bus parked a short distance away, we continued on foot along a dirt road to the sign leading into the caves. Brightly colored fierce-some, five headed Naga’s guard the pathway into the caves. There are a number of Shrines outside the entrance to the caves.
I was a bit apprehensive about going into the caves, nearly everyone had packed a torch though..so… a new adventure!! It was very dark once we entered the caves, we needed the torch lights to see the way. Our guide filled us in on the history, lighting up interesting rock formations on the cave walls as we moved through the darkness. In places the cavern is quite wide and open, other areas narrowing down. Grottoes with clear water are revealed.
Did you know, that limestone caves are usually the deepest and longest caves in the world. They are also likely to have stalactite or stalagmite formations, or various other shape. These shapes, using a little imagination can resemble animals, dragons etc. One within this cave system was the ‘eye’ of a dragon (or was it an elephant) which is quite distinct.
There are many small shrines within the caves perched on overhanging rocky ledges, nooks and crannies. The villagers look after the caves. It was only a short journey through the caves, pleasing to see a glimpse of sunlight up ahead.
After the darkness of the caves
Coming out from the darkness of the caves was like a revelation. A small clearing in full sunlight, encircled with soaring rock walls covered in bright greenery. It was like standing in a Cathedral. Natures Cathedral. Towering rock walls disappearing into the bright sunlight overhead. Beautiful. It is hard to reconcile this beautiful spot as being a stronghold of the Khmer Rouge.
Exploring around this small clearing we found steps from a narrow crevice leading to other caverns. Huge rope like Liana vines hung down the rock walls, many hidden caves and tunnels. The local children were obviously very familiar with the cave system and led us to many spots we would not have otherwise seen. Water trickles through these mountains and small pools appear within the caves and underneath the rock canopy.
It was an interesting experience exploring the area. Eventually we had to return back through the caves to the entrance, as there is no other way out. They say this small clearing enclosed within the rock walls is where the center of the mountain collapsed eons ago. A fascinating spot.
Different, an enjoyable excursion, local children joined us once more along the dirt road as we headed back to the bus. Curious but friendly, the children happy to make conversion with us. The colors of the rock-face along the track were hues of red, brown, yellow and grey, in contrast to the cream and many shades of green on the interior walls of the caves.
Along the track opposite the village was a beautiful small lake set between two hills, perhaps a sink hole or a crater lake, as these are limestone mountains? The lake setting was very picturesque, the surface smooth as silk, beautiful reflections.
After leaving the Caves of Kampong Trach, thirty minutes later we finally arrived in Kep……amazing how much sightseeing you can do in one day if it is all planned well, all at a leisurely pace.
- Tonle (lake) Bati – Hindu Temple of Phnom Chisor
- Dinkelsbuhl – Medieval fortifications
- Rothenburg – a beautiful medieval town
- Traditional homes country Cambodia
- Temple of Ta Prohm Takeo
- A Mekong cruise on the mighty Mekong River
- Killing fields – Cambodia – a chilling experience
- Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum Phnom Penh Cambodia
- Lotus Blanc- Phnom Penh- Restaurant
- Artifacts – National Museum of Cambodia Phnom Penh
- Emerald Buddha Silver Pagoda Phnom Penh
- Royal Palace Throne Hall Phnom Penh
- Cambodia 2011 Phnom Penh city
- Snapshot of Cambodia Kampuchea
- Emperor Qin’s Terracotta Army-challenges and discoveries
- Terracotta Army|Emperor Qin
- Romantic Road attractions Germany
- Romantic Road Frankfurt Germany
- Bavaria Germany Wurzburg – along the Romantic Road