Thursday, February 14, 2008

Bridge of bamboo

The bamboo bridge to Koh Paen
It's not the only bamboo bridge in Cambodia, but it's the one that gets the most press and it resides in the middle of the Mekong River in Kompong Cham city. The Bamboo Bridge to Koh Paen is an impressive feat of engineering that takes place every dry season to help the villagers on the island of Koh Paen connect to the mainland. It can accommodate pedestrians, bicycles, motorbikes and cars (preferably without passengers) and is constructed of bamboo of course, woven together in a form of matting with wire, supported by beams and altogether very sturdy. It's dismantled in the wet season when the only connection is via ferry boats and can stretch to 300 metres long depending on the water levels. It costs 3,000 riel each way to use the bridge on a moto as its a private construction and it's very close to Kompong Cham city, so next time you are in town, head for the bridge and take time to discover the island delights of Koh Paen. The villagers are very friendly and the island, effectively a giant sandbar in the middle of the Mekong River, is known for its fruit, tobacco and fishing.

Bicycles, motos and cars use the bamboo bridge to Koh Paen
The water level at the moment is quite low
The bridge takes you to the sandbars that constitute Koh Paen island
The bridge is high enough and the water level low enough to accommodate small fishing boats


Leakana in LB said...

"It can accommodate pedestrians, bicycles, motorbikes and cars (preferably without passengers)." Hahahahhaaha! You crack me up. The bridge reminds me of an art project I had to do in elementary school. We collected hundreds of wooden popsicle sticks and had to construct a house out of it. My house had a bridge/walkway leading to it that could support my brother's Hot Wheels cars, but caved in when his G.I. Joe tried to walk across. I hope the glue they used on this Kampong Cham bridge is stronger than the one I used.

Anonymous said...

andy, how strong is that bamboo bridge? i guess it can be a tourist attraction in itself. nice, though. thank you for taking pictures.

Andy said...

its very strong in my view. and repairs were being undertaken all the time, as its a very busy thoroughfare between the island and the city. you do feel a little unsafe if someone is driving their moto very fast in the opposite direction as there's no barrier to stop you falling into the Mekong...and as you probably know, some of the reckless youths have no idea about safety of others.
it certainly is a tourist attraction. many people were capturing it on film when i was there. kompong cham is seeing a lot of tourists these days.