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Kampong Chhnang
Kampong Chhnang is a tale of two cities: the bustling dockside seen by those traveling to Siem Reap by fast boat, and the old French quarter with its pleasant parks and handsome building. Connecting these very different parts is a long road lines with stilt houses and a maze of narrow walkways.
 
The name Kampong Chhnang comes from the local clay pots (Chhnang) made in villages around the town and sold throughout Cambodia, and from Kampong meaning ‘port’ (thanks to its location on the Tonlé Sap River).
 
The town has nothing beyond atmosphere to offer the casual visitor, but for those with limited time who want a feel of provincial Cambodia, it makes for a pleasant transit stop between Phnom Penh and Battambang or an easy day trip from the capital, stopping at Udong along the way.
 
During much of the 1990s, plans were afoot to redevelop the old Chinese-built runway, constructed during the Khmer Rouge regime to fly in supplies from China for their ‘self-sufficient’ paradise. The massive runway was never fully operational, but may well have been planned with an attack on Vietnam in mind, as the complex seems too sophisticated for cargo alone.
 
Thousands are believed to have died during construction, as the ultra-paranoid Khmer Rouge leadership was said to have had all workers on the project execute to keep its existence a secret. An investment consortium planned to turn this area into a free trade zone and had hoped it would eventually rival Hong Kong and Dubai-a project that has never materialized.
 
© 2004 Palm Tours , Inc.
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