cham-people-amid-fishing-boats-mekong-river-cambodia

Cham Village Cambodia – Mekong River Fishing Frenzy

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Buzzing across the Mekong River comes a chorus of put-put boat engines.

I count nearly 100 saipans dotting the wide waters, puffing smoke as engines struggle upriver, while other boats sit upon the river, people pulling-in fishing nets.

According to locals, it’s the best season to fish.


VIDEO – Walkabout in a Cham village


From a riverside balcony on the 3rd-floor of my guesthouse, I watch this addictive river scene in the shade of a sweltering day.

Drinking beer.

Fishing boats dotted across the Mekong River Kompong Cham during high season in Cambodia.
Fishing boats dotted across the Mekong River at Kampong Cham during fishing high season in Cambodia.

Motoring boats. Nets pulled in. Boats returning to the floating fishing village on the far side of the Mekong.

cham-fishing-boat-with-nets-cambodia
Photo from above on Kizuna Bridge crossing the Mekong River at Kampong Cham.

Then again the spluttering boats go out to cast net, and haul.

From sunrise to sunset this fishing frenzy continues.

I’m watching this in the Mekong riverside city of Kampong Cham – “Port of the Chams”.

cham villager pulling fishing nets onto boats in cambodia
Cham villagers pull fishing nets onto boats.

And it is the Chams who are doing most of the fishing.


Cham People – Islam in Cambodia

Within the majority Khmer population of Cambodia are an ethnic minority called the Chams.

Mekong River fishing village cambodia
Dusk across the boats of a Mekong River Cham village.

This ethnic group were originally Hindu – as were others 1000+ years ago in Cambodia but later, instead of converting to Buddhism, they turned to Islam.

locals at stall in Muslim Cham village cambodia
Cham village Cambodia: Friendly locals relaxing at this Muslim village stall near the mosque of Rahmah.

Today Buddhism accounts for 95% of Cambodia’s population.

But of the 150,000+ Muslims, roughly 80% belong to the Cham ethnic group.

Some people follow traditional Sunni Islam, while others are Fojihed Muslims who adhere to a Cham interpretation of the religion including belief of the supernatural and magical powers.


Walking Around a Cham Village – Cambodia

After an entire afternoon – and the next morning – of watching this panoramic of fishing action, I knew it was time to get my legs working and exercise my way across to the far river bank to visit the settlement from where all this activity stemmed.

It was a hot walk across the mighty Kizuna Bridge.

cham village cambodia boys and puppies in mekong river village
Boys and a zillion puppies – spot the lonely one on the left side.

Dusty along the village dirt trails.

Lots of “Hello-Hello”-s.

Locals were surprised that a foreigner would bother to visit.

I stopped and took some snaps.

And visited the Rahmah mosque.

Hung-out with crazy kids on the river bank.

And later accepted a ride in a fishing boat back back across the river to the city as dusk set over the Mekong.

young girl smiling  at sunset at a Mekong River fishing village in cambodia
On the shores of the Mekong River fishing village – young girl with a sunset smile.

Travels in Cambodia – 2014


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