Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Kampong Trach

A little difficult to find:
From Kampot, or Kep go East on Route 31, in Kampong Trach turn left into dirt road leading through a couple of small villages, maybe 1.2 km.

Kampong Trach is the small, lively center of the province of the same name. The province borders Vietnam; from the town to the border crossing it only takes a short ride over fair to good paved roads. 

The town itself is unattractive, dusty, and seems to be largely unplanned; everything is coated by the red dirt of the surrounding unpaved tracks. 

But the lack of scenic beauty isn't the reason why I came here. The attraction is a large limestone mountain which, -due to groundwater erosion-, has collapsed and left a huge hole in its center, overgrown by the jungle. The way to get to the hole is through a system of caves and narrow tunnels which are home to several religious shrines.

The entrance to the cave system

Light in the pictures is just from the kid's flashlights.

With my mild to moderate case of claustrophobia I am not particularly well suited to walk, or crawl around in tight spaces, but this cave system is worth it.

On my way there I pass tiny villages and in one of the closest to the caves the kids already started screaming and competing for my attention, waving their big flashlights. Everyone wants to be my guide. I decide to select a little girl, by the name of Map, she smiles and is friendly; however the other kids keep following us to the caves. Our little convoy, me on the big BMW, the kids on their bicycles make it to the site, the roads are rocky and rough, it is limestone territory.

After an hour or so in the caves and a drink I wave my tour guides Good By! and I am on my way back to the coast.

Salt worker statue

Rice harvest time. Lady spreads out the harvest to dry in the sun.

At a small landing pier I see monks boarding a small motor vessel. They will cross over to Rabbit Island to celebrate New Year. It is a nice and colorful image.

No comments:

Post a Comment