Situated atop a remote hillside in Kampong Cham, Cambodia is the ancient 7th-century temple of Wat Hanchey. After climbing 300 steps, visitors can marvel at the panoramic views overlooking the serene Mekong River.

Riverside temple of Wat Hanchey in Kampong Cham, Cambodia

Originally built as a Hindu place of worship during the Chenla Empire (which would later fall to and merge with the Angkor kingdom), this temple is now inhabited by predominantly Buddhist monks. This combination of Hindu and Buddhist faith is apparent in the complex’s buildings, monuments and architecture.

Wat Hanchey temple in Kampong Cham, Cambodia

Most notable upon stepping foot into Wat Hanchey are the scores of young, jovial novice monks, clad in bright saffron robes. They are always delighted at the chance to meet outsiders.

Novice monks of Wat Hanchey fascinated by a visitor and his camera drone

Curious novice monks, fascinated by a visitor and his camera drone

Many of these fledgling disciples are sent to here by their families from surrounding villages. A typical day starts with rising at the break of dawn and starting with a simple, locally donated meal before spending the majority of the day studying and praying.

A novice monk of Wat Hanchey in Kampong cham, Cambodia

During their downtime, they just hang out and socialize amongst each other, just as any other child would do.

 

Heritage Line offers two spellbinding journeys along the lower Mekong River with opportunities to visit the fascinating Wat Hanchey temple:

  • 7-night The Lost Civilizations journey from Siem Reap, Cambodia to Saigon, Vietnam (or vice versa)
  • 3-night Serenity Cruise between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh (or vice versa)

 

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