Kampong Thom is a city in Cambodia that is the capital of a province with the same name. It is located east of the Tonle Sap Lake. The National Highway 6 passes through Kampong Thom, and its location is roughly halfway between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, so it’s great place for travelers between the two cities to stop for a short break before they continue their journey.
We stopped at the Kampong Thom Market area during our van ride to Siem Reap. The driver told us that we had about fifteen minutes to stretch, using the restroom facilities at one of the restaurants, and get snacks and drinks. He also warned us to watch the time and don’t venture too far from where our passenger van was parked, so when it’s time to leave, it’s easy to gather everyone and we could continue our journey without much delay.
After a quick bio-break, Kristi and I hung out outside the restaurant near our passenger van — heeding to our driver’s advice. We still had some food that our hotel packed for us in the morning, and I wasn’t that hungry, but I did purchase a can of Coke Light to drink. It’s nice and refreshing as it was getting warmer outside. I thought it’s interesting that they called it Coke Light there (same in Vietnam) instead of Diet Coke. You don’t see many overweight locals, so I guess the concept of ‘Diet’ was not really that popular there.
Kristi ventured a little bit further and found a fresh fruit cart and bought a plastic bag full of freshly cut pineapples. I had a little bit of that — it was great, fresh and sweet. The American girl in our van went to get a num pang sandwich (similar to the one we had for breakfast the day before).
As we gathered near the van and got ready to leave, our driver tried to make some conversation with the foreigners using his broken English. When he found out that the gentleman who sat on the front seat was from England, he smiled and started mentioning Wayne Rooney, a famous soccer player from Manchester United. I also overheard them chatting with the American girl as well. Where the American girl who was an English teacher in Phnom Penh wanted to go to Siem Reap to celebrate New Year’s Eve, the British gentleman was apparently on a spiritual journey, going from places to places in Thailand and Cambodia to visit Buddhist temples and monasteries. It was quite interesting, as he was doing it as a way to retreat from the fast-paced life in western cities especially around Christmas holidays.
Our Cambodian driver also tried to make conversation with the American girl, and asked her where she would be staying in Siem Reap. He seemed to just wanting to be nice and hospitable to the foreigners, but I could tell the American girl was taken aback with that question (especially since she was traveling alone). She mumbled a place’s name — I wasn’t sure if that’s really where she was staying, but the driver just smiled and the conversation kind of stopped there. Then he continued talking with me and Kristi, asking if we’re a married couple. I told him that we’re actually cousins. I wasn’t sure if he understood what I said; he just smiled, nodded his head, and then moved on and talked with other passengers.
After that short pit stop that was quite welcomed as a break in the middle of the five-hour drive, we continued our trip to Siem Reap.
The photo below was taken just outside the restaurant in the Kampong Thom Market area where we stopped for a break. You could see our van on the left, a couple of passengers from another van walking around checking the area, and the restaurant on the right where we went for bio-break and where I got my Coke Light.