Old French Lighthouse Travel Guide

This colonial lighthouse is in Kampong Cham town, opposite the town center on the edge of the Mekong River. It sits beside the Kazuma Bridge where the French built it in the early 1900s. Historically, it was used to keep an eye on cargo boats plying the Mekong.

While it was originally conceived as a defensive measure by the French, the lighthouse has had several other purposes in the last century. A line ran from the governor’s house to the tower. Any time there was an emergency in town, a raging fire would be stoked on top of the watch tower.

The lighthouse’s role is less romantic today. When tourist buses roll into Kampong Cham, the tower alerts local taxi drivers that a load of potential fares is on the way.

Tourists staying in Kampong Cham can climb to the top of the lighthouse. It’s a nerve-wracking ascent up the staircase, which is surprisingly steep. Surefooted stair climbers won’t have any trouble, and once you have reached the top the view makes the effort worth it.

From the top of the lighthouse, you can see the Mekong winding through the countryside, with fishermen casting nets and plodding along in small boats. This is the same view watchmen in the early 20th century admired.

In brief

What is it? A French colonial lighthouse on the Mekong River.

Opening hours: 08:00 to 17:00, daily.

Entrance fees: no entrance fee.

Address/website: www.tourismcambodia.com/travelguides/provinces/?proID=4.

Where: on the opposite bank of the Mekong River from Kampong Cham town.

How to get there: walk from any hotel in Kampong Cham, which is a few hours’ drive from Phnom Penh.