Steung Treng Guide - All you need to know

The province of Stung Treng marks Cambodia's northern border with Laos and the point where Mekong River enters Cambodia after swirling its way around the 4000 Islands (Si Phan Don) area of southern Laos.


Steung Treng (River of Reeds) province is located remotely in the northeast of Cambodia. The province of Stung Treng marks Cambodia's northern border with Laos and the point where Mekong River enters Cambodia after swirling its way around the 4000 Islands (Si Phan Don) area of southern Laos.

The capital of the province is Stung Treng City. Stung Treng City is located in the western part of the Virachey National Park, on a high sandy bank overlooking the Mekong River, where it is joined by the Tonle San or San River. It lies along National Highway 7, about 400 km from Phnom Penh and 50 km south of the Laos border. There is a bridge across the San River lead to the Laos border.

Stung Treng Province welcomes to visitors

Stung Treng Province welcomes to visitors


History of Stung Treng

Steung Treng was formerly called Xieng Teng and was once a part of the vast Khmer Empire, then the Lao kingdom of Lan Xang and later the Lao kingdom of Champassack. After the Franco-Siamese war of 1893, Chiang Taeng (Stung Treng) was administered by French Lower Laos from 1893 to 1904.

In 1904, French Laos traded the province to the French Protectorate of Cambodia in exchange for Champassak, leaving a small Laotian minority in Cambodia. Originally a part of Laos, Stung Treng switched to Cambodian ownership during the French period so the population is made up of a mix of Khmer and Lao peoples.



Stung Treng provincial capital is an important trade hub with a few hints of Lao influence scattered about, owing to the fact that the Lao border is about 50 km away. It’s a unique province quite distinct from other Cambodian provinces in the Mekong basin.

The economy in Stung Treng is based on fishing, silk weaving, and agricultural farming. The friendly and quiet town is home to extensive forests, intersecting rivers and streams. Stung Treng also includes the western chunk of the massive Virachey National Park, accessible from Siem Pang, a small beautiful town on the Tonle Kong.


Main attractions in Stung treng

For most travelers however, Stung Treng is a glimpse from their bus window on their way to and from the Laos border and the larger town of Kratie to the south. There is nothing much to do in the town, with its major asset being spectacular sunsets and friendly people.

However, the province holds considerable promise for those with an adventurous spirit (and a fair amount of free time) as a number of riverine trips can be undertaken, and you can explore the western bank of the Mekong. As with many of the low-key destinations in Cambodia, the capital can be a little underwhelming but give the place a little time and you'll find enough to keep yourself busy for at least a day.

  • Phnom Preah Theat: About 2 km from provincial town, Phnom Preah Theat is a natural wildlife and sanctuary considered to be one of the chief tourist attractions in Stung Treng. The Phnom Preah Theat is quite jungly but there’re still pathways to walk through and followed by the professional guides. Tourists come to Phnom Preah Theat with a view to getting a glimpse of the dense forests as well as the unique wildlife of the reserve. It’s home to extremely rare species and full of ecosystems and ecological niches.
  • Kantuy Ko: If you want an open space with fresh air and greenery, Kantuy Ko is a place as a sanctuary to plants and animal. As you explore the sanctuary, you’ll find many endangered species like tigers – especially the Indochinese tiger, various types of reptiles and other mammals. Kantuy Ko is a perfect tourist attraction where you can find a combination of knowledge and thrill.

Kantuy Ko is home to many endangered species

Kantuy Ko is home to many endangered species

  • The San River: As one of Cambodia's beautiful picture-postcard river towns, the San River is a nice place to kick back and chill out if you are on a circuit tour of the Northeast River Scene, from here to Laos. It's the center of socializing in the late afternoon and early evening hours as the locals ride up and down the stretch enjoying the view and each other. Drink and dessert stands spring up earlier to serve the daily merrymaking crowd. It's a nice spot for a walk or jog any time of the day as the river road turns into a pleasant rural road that leads to the airport 4 km north of town.

Cruising around the Mekong in Steung Treng

Cruising around the Mekong in Steung Treng

The one attraction of sorts is a weaving co-operative at the eastern extremity of town, which is worth visiting both for its lovely fabrics and to support a worthwhile cause. Aside from the co-operative, the main pastimes are boat trips and watching the sunset. One-hour boat trips leave from the dock in the center of town and cost around $15 per person, or $30 for a whole boat.

There are some homestay options as well as joint boating/ trekking trips to nearby temple ruins, one set of which dates back to the pre-Angkorian Chenla period. More interesting kayak and bicycle trips north along the Mekong to two stretches of semi-submerged forests are worth looking into, though prices are quite high for solo travelers. Given many travelers are now only transiting through town rustling up a group can be a challenge.

Waterfall in Steung Treng

Waterfall in Steung Treng

How to get there

The most common way to enter Stung Treng is by road via Hwy 7 to Kratie, then heading north to the border with Laos. There’re different types of public transport like bus, minibus that go directly to the border. The daily bus from Phnom Penh to Laos passes the town in the afternoon and is the safest option to get to Laos.

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