Caves of Kampong Trach – Kampot – Caves

Kampot- a pretty rural are with rice fields and mountain backdrop.

Kampot – a pretty rural area with rice fields and a mountain backdrop.

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-driving through a rural town during a tropical downpour

Caves – Kampot – driving through a rural town during a tropical downpour

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.

Kampot - KampongTrach-five-headed-Naga-(with teeth) guarding pathway to caves

Caves – Kampong Trach-five-headed-Naga-(with teeth)

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.

Kampot - entering limestone Caves Kampong Trach

Caves  – entering limestone Caves of  Kampong Trach – Kampot

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.

Caves - Kampot---eye-of-the-dragon-

Caves – Kampot-eye-of-the-dragon- Caves of Kampong Trach

Limestone Caves

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.

Kampong-coming-out-from Caves into the clearing - Kampong Trach Caves

Caves – coming-out-of the Caves into the clearing – Kampot

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.

Kampot - Kampong Caves - Natures Cathedral - soaring rockwalls to sunshine

Caves – Kampong Trach –  Nature’s Cathedral

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.

Kampot-underground-pools Caves Kampong Trach

Caves – Kampong Trach – underground-pools

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.

Kampot - Exploring crevices and hidden caves - Kampong Trach

Caves –  Exploring crevices and hidden tunnels  – Kampot

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.

Caves along track walking back to the bus. Caves at Kampot

Caves & rock wall along track  back to the bus. Caves at Kampot

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.

Caves -small-picturesque-lake near caves at Kampong Trach - Kampot

Caves -small-picturesque-lake near caves at Kampong Trach – Kampot

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.


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Comments

  1. It looks like you had a rainy start to your visit. These caves look absolutely incredible! I’ll bet it was chilly. How far did your group venture in? I’m always fascinated by caves. Thanks for this 🙂

    • Our group went through the main tunnel to the centre. There are other cave entrances and tunnels from this point.You would probably need a guide if wished to explore further. Thanks for your comment. Lyn

  2. Cambodia is blessed with too many natural miracles. How did I miss five-headed-snake with teeth? The caves look elegant and awesome. These pictures make me crazy to go once at that place.

    • All the Nagi have teeth, they just seemed more prominant here, perhaps it was the bright colors. The limestone mountains were very rugged and beautiful and the caves just so interesting. Worth a visit. Thanks for your comments.

  3. I’m actually afraid of exploring caves because of bats! They give me the creeps (good thing there’s no bats in the photo). The limestone cave is an exception, I would love to come see it only in the morning though 🙂 Very nice adventure, thanks Lyn.

    • I don’t like bats either. If you go in daylight hours there is no problems, just a very interesting and exciting experience. Thanks for your comments. Lyn

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