Sitting on the west bank of the Mekong River, the city of Kampong Cham takes its name from the exiled Cham people who, pursued by the Vietnamese, settled here in the 17th century. Although it is Cambodia’s third largest city, capital of its most populous province, and something of a transport hub for the rest of the northeast, Kompong Cham retains a small-town appeal. The city has a number of run-down French Colonial buildings and the design of the city’s grid system has a Gallic feel, with wide boulevards, statue-dotted squares, and a pleasant riverside promenade. By night, the city’s streets glow with ornate lampposts and illuminated fountains. The 12th- century Wat Nokor, 1 mile (2 km) west of the city center is an interesting site.
Located 12 miles (19 km) north of town, the 6th-century Han Chey temple is a remnant of Angkorian architecture.