A dam that was built in Kampong Speu province’s Oral district, about 130km from the capital, during the Khmer Rouge regime was recently restored and has now become a local eco-friendly tourist attraction.
On the surface, the Peam Lvea Dam makes it possible to manage irrigation of rice fields in the community and store enough water to sustain rainy and dry seasons.
However, the dam also has a dual role. It offers boats a channel for navigation as they ferry tourists to the scenic Oral Mountains.
The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology’s website reveals that the dam’s restoration concluded in 2017, with a 3km road and four irrigation bridges.
“Upon completion, the dam’s irrigation system can now supply water for more than 1,000ha during the rainy season and more than 100ha during the dry season. It also plays an important role in mitigating flooding from the Stung Prek Thnot stream,” it said.
Tourists can combine their visit to the dam with seeing other eco-spots including the Oral Mountain Range where verdant forests, rapid rivers and vast rice fields serve as refreshing sights for the eyes.
Vat Ven, a fisherman who lives near the dam, takes time to use his fishing boat to row tourists along the channel. “People rent my boat to see the sights along the channel, so I take them. They take photos of the scenic views and dozens of selfies. Sometimes, they spend hours fishing by the bank,” says Ven.
At the lower part of the dam sits the artificial Peam Lvea Dam Waterfall, merely 10m wide and 5m high.
Ten huts line up below the falls to provide a space of relaxation and serve refreshments to passing tourists.
“We serve food made from the villagers’ local produce. Normally, a medium-sized plate of food costs from 20,000 riel up while the large plate starts from 40,000 riel. Prices of fish dishes vary according to size while roasted chicken – the most popular choice – starts from 50,000 riel,” says business owner An Narin.
“Usually, we open from 9am and stop receiving orders at 6pm. But people can stay until 9pm. Most people play in the water.
“Although this place was built by Khmer Rouge victims, tourists who wish to take a dip come nighttime have nothing to fear as we provide rechargeable underwater lights,” says Narin.
Mao Saron, a tourist travelling from Phnom Penh with friends, says: “When we have free time, my friends and I try to seek new places, which is how we got here. In this place, we can row along the channel and take photos from the road to the dam. More importantly, it gives us a space to gather.”
Tourists coming from the capital can use National Road No 5, turn left on Road 136 near Udong market to Amleang, and then take a right turn by a forked road.
Peam Lvea Dam is located in Peam Lvea village, Trapaing Chor commune, Oral district, in Kampong Speu province. For more information, contact An Narin at 088 58 58 332.