Kandal is one of the smaller provinces of Cambodia. This province completely surrounds, but does not include, the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh. It’s capital is Ta Khmau (lit. Black Grandfather) and is around 20km south of Phnom Penh. The province is re-known for its ancient history. One of the major attractions is Udong, which served as the former capital of Cambodia under several sovereigns between 1618 and 1866. A number of kings, including King Norodom, were crowned here.
The most interesting things to see there, are: several Stupas, some of them recently renewed, a huge 8m high reclining Buddha and the battered Ta San Mosque on the smaller ridge. As Kandal province isn’t far from Phnom Penh it is easily and quickly to enter, even if it’s just a day trip. There is quite a bunch of places of interest such as Ang Kor Chey Pagoda, which is located at Ban Tey Dek commune, Kean Svay District with a total distance of 29km from Phnom Penh or 32,6km from Ta Khmao by the National Road N0 1 (Phnom Penh Svay Rieng province). You have to travel along the National Road N0 1 from Phnom Penh or Ta Khmao to Kilometre 29 then exceed about 50 metres, there is a gate at the right with a handwritten sign: Ang Kor Chey Pagoda.
If we enter by trail about 1,600m, we will reach the entertainment centre. The pagoda is constructed with five peaks as the temple’s peaks. Before reaching the pagoda, we need to pass over a 100 meter wooden bridge; under the bridge, there is a big pond for keeping water during the dry season. Behind the pagoda you’ll see an artificial site located on the black hill characterized as resident of Neak Mean Bon or King. It is said that the black hill is a former palace, because they found ancient objects and equipment like bowls and pots characterizing ancient features.
Now, the black hill has been organized and maintained by guards, because it relates to the belief in sacred objects there. Nowadays, Angkor Chey pagoda has a lot of local visitors, especially those, who cling to abstract belief; they go there to have themselves sacredly watered. In addition, Ang Kor Chey pagoda is surrounded with beautiful scenery offering cool shadows from the trees and a pleasant environment.
Kandal province is 3,568 square kilometres big. It’s located in the middle-south of the country and is bordering to the North with Kampong Chhnang and Kamponf Cham, in the East with Prey Veng, in the West with Kampong Speu and Takeo and to the South with Vietnam.
The province consists of the typical plain wet area for Cambodia, covering rice fields and other agricultural plantations. The average altitude of the province is supposedly not more than 10m above see level. The province also features two of the biggest rivers of the country (actually they symbolize the provincial borders) the Tonle Bassac and the mighty Mekong.
The current population in this province is about 1,280,781 people or 9% of the country’s total population (14,363,519 person in Cambodia, 2007, provincial government data), with 621,948 male and 658,833 female. The population density is therefore 359 people per square kilometre.
The country has a tropical climate warm and humid. In the monsoon season, abundant rain allows for the cultivation of a wide variety of crops. This year-round tropical climate makes Cambodia ideal for developing tourism. Travellers need not to fear natural disasters such as erupting volcanoes or earthquakes, and the country is not directly affected by tropical storms.
Climate: Cambodia can be visited throughout the year. However, those plans to travel extensively by road should be avoided the last two months of the rainy season when some countryside roads may be impassable. The average temperature is about 27 degrees Celsius; the minimum temperature is about 16 degrees. December and January are the coolest months, whereas the hottest is April.
– Cool season: November- March (22-28c)
– Hot season: March- May (28c -36c)
– Rainy season: May – October (24-32c, with humidity up to 90%.)
As Kandal province is around Phnom Penh it serves as an economic belt of the capital. For instance Cambodia has become the sixth largest garment exporter in the world in 2007 (most of these factories are in Kandal province). The industry created job opportunities for about 0.5 million Cambodians and generated some 0.3 billion U.S. dollars of monthly payment for the employees. Also agricultural exports flourished in 2007, as palm oil, peanuts, rice, pepper and other rural products became ever more popular in the international markets.
Finally, luxury real estate project like the Longing Resort in Kandal province was demolished on July 31, as it expanded its land illegally and in effect constituted menace to the safety of the capital city. The Asia Development Bank put Cambodia’s economic growth rate for the past year at 9.5 percent and nine percent in 2008, while the Cambodian government gave a conservative estimation of seven percent both in 2007 and 2008.
As the Kandal province is very closed to Phnom Penh there is several options to go there depending in which direction you would like to go. Irrespective where you would like to go you?ll find a vehicle at the central bus station southwest from the Central Market. Many buses go to the other provinces so they always have to pass Kandal province. If you would like to go to the provincial capital Ta Khmau there is Sorya buses going to the provincial capital of Takeo every day at 7am, 8am, 12am and 1pm. It shouldn’t cost you more than US$0.5-1.
Lots of share taxis leave unscheduled every day to Ta Khmau opposite from the central bus station. The prices are around US$1-2.
Almost every Highway around Phnom Penh is in best condition, so no worries. Riding your motorbike to Ta Khmau you have to take National Highway No 2 to the South. If you would like to hit the road to the North you have to take the National Highways No 4 or 5, depending on your destination.
There are numerous restaurants and bars in Kandal. You can enjoy an authentic dinning experience at the restaurants and bars in Kandal province. Restaurants offer you a cuisine which is quite light on the stomach. And what?s more, the dishes come at reasonable rates. Mostly the dishes come teemed with rice or sometimes noodles. You will also get both Thai and Vietnamese characteristics in Khmer food. The people of Kandal (also all over Cambodia) prefer a stronger sour taste in their dishes. The dishes become spicier with the addition of Prahok. If you are yearning for some Chinese cuisine in Kandal, you won’t be disappointed. A large number of Chinese restaurants are scattered all across Kandal.
You have to take a few sips of the famous Palm wine and rice wine in exotic bars in Kandal. At least the golden muscle wine offers you an authentic Khmer experience. The reputed restaurants and bars in Kandal include the LElphant Blanc Resort, Srey Touch Restaurant, Club Evergreen Co Ltd, Say Sabok Restaurant and Bar, Villa 777 Restaurant, Ses Sor Restaurant, Restaurant Sountepheap Water Park and Samros Bopha Boeung Taben Guesthouse & Restaurant among others.
Located in Kandal province closed to the Riverside. Restaurant with Khmer and international cuisine. Big Bar. Also rooms to stay overnight.
Located at the National Road No N2 , No 068 in Takhmao. They have a huge range of Khmer and Chinese dishes.
Located on the National Road No 1, 7 Km after the Monivong Bridge, in front of Prek Eng Commune. A big resort offering almost everything you need, whether it’s a comfortable room or an exquisite dish.
Located on the National Road No 1 near Mittapheap Village, Prek Eng Commune, Kien Svay District, (on the right).
As it is quite common in Cambodia even small cities, such as Ta Khmau have at least one big market. You may also find a market in Ta Khmau centre, which are very busy areas with local shops dealing the local daily consumer products, like fish, fruits, vegetables, meats and packed products. Most of the food and drink shops are surrounding the market. To take something special from this province along, buy some famous palm, rice or muscle wine.