Don’t forget Battambang! Many flock to Phnom Penh (the capital), Siem Reap (the temples) and Sihanoukville (the beach) during a visit to Cambodia. These are all very good and enticing destinations, but we feel you might just miss out on a complete Cambodian experience if you omit Battambang from your itinerary. Find out what’s in Cambodia’s second largest city with our Battambang Escape.
So, why Battambang? The city’s location in the Northwest of the country serves as an important gateway between Thailand and Cambodia. And you can see the connection here, because the population is a mixture of Khmers and Thais as well as Lao and even Chinese. And there’s more. The colonial influence is strong here, with well-preserved buildings and structures characterizing the town. Add in temples and statues of past lore and you’re in for a real cultural treat in Battambang!
There are several Angkor-type temples in the town. Wat Banan (sometimes referred to as the mini-Angkor Wat) is one. Climb up a flight of stairs and see! Ah, stair climbing may not be your thing. But we promise you, the reward will be well worth it! Wat Ek Phnom, just a little bit out of Battambang town is another, dating to about the 10th century. And if you like bats head over to Wat Baydamram and say hello to hordes of Batman’s favorite animal.
Another must-see here (of a grimmer nature unfortunately) is Phnom Sampeu, also known as the killing caves, which serve as a grim reminder of Cambodia’s bloody and brutal past. Several caves decorated with Buddhist statues may help lighten the mood a little bit.
Any visit to Battambang would not be complete without experiencing the bamboo train. These makeshift trains were built in response to the limited train service in the area. But what happens if two of these makeshift trains are heading straight into each other? Witness cooperation at its best! One guy will seemingly dismantle the train, let the other guy go by and reassemble and continue on! All in no time!
And while you’re at it, explore the countryside and visit cottage industries like rice paper production, weaving centers and a fish paste factory. The countryside experience is one of the must-do’s while you’re in Battambang.
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