We went on a motorbike journey in Cambodia and one of the places we visited was the Kampong Trach District, where the main attractions are the series of limestone caves and the Limestone Mountains.
Kampong Trach is a small and comparatively unexciting town of Kampot Province that borders Vietnam to the east, Gulf of Thailand to the south and Kep Province to the west. In this town, there’s a side road that skirts the base of Phnom Voar (Vine Mountain), where the last holdouts of the Khmer Rouge and where they held more than 100 hostages during the mass-kidnapping victims in 1994.
As soon as we left the main road and passed through the hamlets, we were greeted by children calling out “sua s’dei” or hello. As we approached the caves more and more children were following us on their huge bicycles. They were harmless, inoffensive and wanted to play as guides.
While we were finding the way to the cave, we bumped into a field-like area with cattle grazing, saw beautiful limestone mountains with nice rock formations, and brilliant views over the countryside. We stopped for a while there, and enjoyed a gentle walk while enjoying the view and the breeze.
When we reached the entrance of the cave, we agreed to take two children for a decent fee as guides and off we went. They told us the stories and legends of the cave and the area; gave us commentary about the different figures inside, such as the elephant, crocodile, etc and they enjoyed trying out their English as they took us round. They were also polite and were careful to light up the dark footway.
Inside the caves there were several shrines, lots of Buddha statues, and a couple of interesting Hindu statues. The rock formations inside were nice to see too. The children told us that the head of the reclining Buddha had been restored due to donations as it was snapped off during the war. The ground area near the well was very sticky, so be careful.
All in all, it was very interesting and fun visit especially interacting with local children guides.
Little Lilly travel tip:
- Bring a flashlight and wear good walking shoes.
- Wear mosquito repellent lotion as there are plenty of mosquitoes inside the caves.
- It is better if you go with a guide since it is not a straightforward route from Kampot or Kep to the caves.