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Photographer's Note

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This is "Phsar Thmey" or "New Market" in English, but for unknown reason, it has commonly been called "Central Market" perhaps due to its location and size in the capitol of Cambodia. Its central domed hall resembles a Babylonian ziggurat with four wings filled with jewelry shops, antique coins, pirated name-brand watches... Around the main building are stalls selling karma (traditional checked scarves), stationery, household items, cloth for sarongs, flowers and used clothes donated by charitable agencies in Europe and the US.

In the past, this was a lake that received the runoff during the rainy season. Then it was drained and the construction of this unique, art-deco building went on in 1935. After 2 years of construction, it has been put to service and became a Phnom Penh landmark.

In this photo, you can see a cocktail of history: French architecture of the structure, American Vietnam-era 揗151-A2 Jeep, Japanese vehicles and motobikes, foreign travelers and local motorbike driver awaiting customer




A TrekEarth friend Dr. Huy Tran in Vietnam asked me how should he make a backpack trek from Saigon to Phnom Penh. Actually, in March 2005, I prepared such a plan to overland from Saigon to Phnom Penh via Moc Bai/Bavet. At last minute, a friend helped me get a seat on next day flight to Vientiane, so my plan was modified as Hanoi> Vientiane> Phnom Penh> Siem Riep> Saigon. However, the plan's compilation still be kept unused since 2 years and today I am offering with the warning that it may be outdated.

If any of you just took this route and noticed changes, please feedback and update.



Currently, there are several border crossings for you to chose from, but this post is about crossing at Bavet, Cambodia / Moc Bai, Vietnam. The overland distance "Saigon/Phnom Penh" is 237km (148 miles):

Saigon > Moc Bai = 71km (From Saigon: 71km)
Moc Bai > Svay Rieng = 40km (From Saigon: 111km)
Svay Rieng > Neak Luong = 65km (From Saigon: 176km)
Neak Luong > Phnom Penh = 61km (From Saigon: 237km)

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If you want to study more about the activities, scams and updates at Cambodia/Vietnam border crossings, check these links:

*Border crossing 1
*Border crossing 2
*Border crossing 3
*Border crossing 4
*Border crossing 5
*Border crossing 6



Perhaps the most difficult part of your plan is obtaining necessary maps. Since the war ended over 3 decades ago, Vietnamese authorities still consider 搈aps as sensitive security items. For that, they either don抰 publish, or only circulated the maps that are drawings without accurate geographic factors. Better than nothing, I am offering the old maps published by USGS for general purpose:

1 -Staring point: Saigon (click red arrow for imbedded info)
2 -Overland on Vietnam territory (Squares in effect: #6330-4, #6231-2, #6231-3)
3 -Detailed map: Saigon> Hoc Mon> Trang Bang
4 -Detailed map: Trang Bang> Hieu Thien> Moc Bai (V)> Bavet (C)
5 -Detailed map: Bavet > Svay Rieng
6 -Detailed map: Svay Rieng> Neak Luong Ferry (Prey Veng province)
7 -Detailed map: Neak Luong Ferry> Phnom Penh (east side)
8 -Detailed map: Phnom Penh
9 -clickable map: Phnom Penh (This map is by Yellow Pages, not USGS)

Note: In maps #3, #4, the portion of National Road 1A from Saigon to Moc Bai named by French before WW2 has been changed to National Road 22.

I hope this post helpful to those who are in need. Have a safe and happy trip.




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huynt, Yuanclarkson has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by Ngy Thanh (ngythanh) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 471 W: 125 N: 2332] (8458)
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