in Siem Reap:
Neak Mah Mosque at Kampung Stengmai
First, most tuktuk drivers have never been there (understandable seeing as 95% of Cambodia is Buddhist).
Second, the last 500 meters of the road to the mosque is in bad condition.
Third, the mosque is not visible from the main road, so asking around when you think you may be lost is a must.
The Neak Mah mosqueThe mosque is located on a dirt road and alongside a canal. The water running through the canal is almost black. The muddy brown color of the Siem Reap river looks positively clean when compared to the water in the canal.
The canal and the dirt road
When we arrived, it looked like we had reached a small Muslim community in Siem Reap. At a glance, the living conditions didn’t look much different than other communities. There were little huts, simple houses, and small local shops, but we immediately noticed something different.
Instead of a view of a Buddhist temple, we were greeted with a view of a mosque. Instead of hearing the chants of monks, we heard children’s voices as they practiced reciting the Koran.
It was a surprising and different experience to say the least.
The Neak Mah mosque with its golden dome
The mosque itself is a two story building with a large, golden dome at the top. There’s a row of water spouts on the side for ablutions. Inside, there’s a pile of praying rugs on the sides and a small place for sermons in the front.
The interior of the mosque
The school behind the mosqueBehind the mosque there’s a madrasa (a school for children) where we heard the recitations. It was filled with kids, with more and more coming in. For a moment, it looked like a scene from Malaysia or Indonesia. But no, this was still in SiemReap. In Kampung Stengmai to be precise.
Kids hurrying to go to school
Class in session
Islam in CambodiaWe met a Muslim family through our tuktuk driver. From the questions that we asked and the answers we received, it became obvious that Islam is the minority religion in Cambodia. Although the community is a mere 10 minute ride from the Old Market, our tuktuk driver and the Muslim family lived in a ‘different world.'
That was an interesting reminder of the dominance of Buddhism in Cambodia.
Cambodian Muslim family
So in short…What an interesting trip to the Muslim community in Siem Reap! For Muslims, or anyone who’s ever lived in a Muslim country, I recommend this short trip to the mosque when you’re in the area. For others, this could be an interesting detour from the usual Buddhist temples and Wats.
Quiet surroundings in this community
A hut on the other side of the canal
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What Other Visitors Have Said
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Mosque newly painted
It is a true pleasure to visit your web-site however I would please request you to update new photograph of mosque Al Nak Mah due to I saw it has been …
More info on Neak Mah Mosque location Not rated yet
Assalam o Alaikum! Today on July 18th, 2012, I have visited this masjid, a beautiful one. On Google Earth, its dimensions are: 13,21,10,88" N 103,50,55,74" …
1999 trip Not rated yet
I visited that village and mosque back in 1999 ! I was backpacking in Asia started from Singapore till Vietnam by land ! Its good to see a report here …
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