Koh Pen កោះប៉ែន
It is the longest bamboo bridge in the world, and is rebuilt every year once the rainy season passes and the Mekong subsides to reveal the sandy banks below. Almost a kilometre long and made entirely of blonde bamboo poles, the bridge remains until it is submerged and washed away again every year when the Mekong, flush with snows from the Himalayas, surges again.
Only a 15-minute walk from the main riverside area, or quick hop on a bicycle or moto, the bridge is an experience in its own right. The curious rattling as vehicles of all descriptions — even trucks and, to our delight, a horse and cart — pass over it to get to Koh Pen, the very scenic island on the other side.
This is a lovely jaunt if you’re looking for a relaxing diversion, and a chance to see one of the prettier Cambodian villages we’ve come across. The island seemed to be virtually litter-free, which is painfully unusual. Along shaded lanes, wooden, stilted houses are tucked in along palm and sandalwood trees and great blooms of bougainvillea.
If you’re getting thirsty, you could drop into the Mekong Bamboo Hut Guesthouse for a cooling drink, or hit the beach on the northeastern shore of the island. You can rent a sala there for 50c, we were told, and sit back, relax and enjoy the afternoon as the sun starts to slide down in the sky behind you.