Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sleepy Chhlong

The laid-back, sleepy colonial street in Chhlong. On the left is the Mekong River.
There are a handful of locations that have eluded me on my travels around Cambodia over the years. For various reasons I've never managed to get to Svay Rieng, Pailin, Koh Kong and Chhlong. Well, a 30-minute visit en route to Kratie made sure that the sleepy town of Chhlong, hugging the east bank of the Mekong River, was deleted from that list. The driver announced we were taking the short-cut route to Kratie and rather than simply whizz past Chhlong (also known variously as Chlong and Chloung) I suggested a quick look around the place and my fam trip colleagues agreed. We didn't have time to do anything other than walk along the road fronting the river that contains a series of French colonial and Chinese style buildings, some in disrepair, others serving as family homes, but it was good to at last visit the town my pal Caroline had written about eight years ago here. Once the rest of the road to Kratie is paved then Chhlong will see a lot more traffic coming its way and I'm sure the crumbling colonial-era buildings, one of which proudly displayed the date, 1922, on its facade will undergo renovation, much like the classic 1917 family home that was transformed from a derelict mess into the gorgeous Relais de Chhlong hotel. On our return journey we popped into the hotel, which is just about to close for further expansion, but more on that in a later post. For now, colonial street in Chhlong remains a quiet and laid-back location, just around the corner from the town's market. I spotted a handful of very old Khmer houses as well, all of which ensures enough good reasons to return to Chhlong in the not too distant future. I can't believe it's taken me so long to get there in the first place.
The facade proudly shows 1922 as the date of construction of this colonial gem
A beautiful French colonial style building in need of some love and affection
It looks like Christmas has come early in Chhlong
Some of the French colonial and Chinese-style shop houses are in disrepair

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Blogger cat said...

c'est vrai que ces photos laissent une impression d'endormissement ... le temps semble s'être arrêté.
mais je ne me suis pas encore interessée à l'histoire du colonialisme français au Cambodge !

August 29, 2009 at 1:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andy, these colonial villas are beautiful, indeed. I think all they need is a renovation and a touch of fresh paints. I love the original architecture styles of Cambodian colonial era. As always, thank you for posting these beautiful pictures from Cambodia.

August 31, 2009 at 7:14 AM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

history is history, we cannot change it and the French presence in Cambodia left a lot of interesting structures in place, which remain embedded in the fabric of the country. The Khmer structures have in the main not survived because they were of wooden construction, like many buildings at Angkor for example; what you see today is only a fraction of the structures in place when the area was alive with the Khmer court and its multitude of subjects.

August 31, 2009 at 10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CATs use to like sleepy places...

August 31, 2009 at 11:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Andy:
Speaking to the colonal house with the façade dated 1922 there were also two Chinese letters :贤记 pronouce: Xian Ji. this is the commercial Sign of my great-grand-father. My parents were married in this house in 1937.But, in 1970 when the Khmer Rouge occupied Chhlong,they had chased my grand-father,uncle and all the family away from this house.By now it seems the house is in the possession of local government,and in the past they had claimed a lot of money to us if we wanted to get it back,but,unfortunately,we donot have the money needed to pay for,what we can do is "laisse tomber".This is a broken-hearted affaire. However, thank you very much for having taken these photos.
Posted by Quach S.

November 5, 2009 at 2:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Andy,
Please tell me who will renovate the house with the façade dated 1922.and how you have got this info? Thank you very much.

Posted by Quach S.

November 10, 2009 at 5:54 AM  

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