Bamboo Wonder

Staff Rec3

My exploration of Cambodia is only just beginning, but the best trip so far was going to see the bamboo bridge in Kompong Cham province.

For decades, the residents of Koh Paen island have built a kilometer-long bamboo bridge in the dry season spanning the Mekong River to link them to the town opposite. When the rains come, it washes away. Said to be the longest bamboo bridge in the world, it’s a huge draw for tourists and less than a three-hour bus ride from Phnom Penh. This year, however, could be the bridge’s last. Two kilometers downriver, a new concrete bridge is taking shape.

Standing by the river, looking at the sweep of bamboo stretching across the water was magical. Even better was crossing the bridge on foot, hearing the creak of bamboo with each step, as motorbikes, tuk-tuks and even a horse trapped by. It’s free for pedestrians to cross and 18,000 riel, or about $4.50, if you’re in a tuk-tuk. Afterward, I swam in the Mekong River.

Hurry before the heavy rains come. It could be your final chance. 

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