Although this mosque is pictured clearly on most SiemReap maps,getting to it is a different matter altogether.
First, most tuktuk drivers have never been there (understandableseeing as 95% of Cambodia is Buddhist).
Second, the last 500meters of the road to the mosque is in bad condition.
Third, themosque is not visible from the main road, so asking around when youthink you may be lost is a must.
The Neak Mah mosque
The mosque is located on a dirt road and alongside a canal. The waterrunning through the canal is almost black. The muddy brown color of the SiemReap 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 Muslimcommunity in Siem Reap. At a glance, the living conditions didn’t lookmuch 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 ofa mosque. Instead of hearing the chants of monks, we heard children’svoices 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 atthe 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 placefor sermons in the front.
The interior of the mosque
The school behind the mosque
Behind the mosque there’s a madrasa (a school for children) where we heard the recitations. It was filled with kids, withmore and more coming in. For a moment, it looked like a scene fromMalaysia or Indonesia. But no, this was still in SiemReap. In KampungStengmai to be precise.
Kids hurrying to go to school
Class in session
Islam in Cambodia
We met a Muslim family through our tuktuk driver. From the questionsthat we asked and the answers we received, it became obvious that Islamisthe minority religion in Cambodia. Although the community is a mere 10minuteride from the Old Market, our tuktuk driver and the Muslim family livedin 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! ForMuslims, or anyone who’s ever lived in a Muslim country, I recommendthis short trip to the mosque when you’re in the area. For others, thiscould bean 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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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 …Click here to write your own.