Battambang

Battambang is a town on a river, not the Mekong, 160 kilometres to the West of Siem Reap. It’s possible to get there by boat which takes up to nine hours but travels along some small waterways and part of Cambodia’s huge Tonle Sap lake passing close to some bird watching sites and floating villages. We paid $28 each for this trip and were up before 6am for the off but it was not to be! We were so appalled by the state of the overloaded bus that was to take us to the boat that we refused to get on. We could have paid $5 for a tuctuc to get us there but the attitude of the various individuals involved and the sight of luggage piled up even in front of the driver were so discouraging that we abandoned the whole idea and paid $8 each to go by bus! In contrast to that bad experience the staff at Yellow Hostel where we ended up couldn’t have been more helpful – they booked the bus for us and paid a tuctuc driver to take us to it even though we had not been staying at their place!
So we arrived in Battambang by lunchtime which was nice! We never met anyone who had taken that boat journey so we’ll probably never know what we missed!
Battambang is a smallish town although large for Cambodia – the guide book calls it the second city -which has a mainly rural population. It is totally different from Siem Reap which exists to serve the tourists at Angkor Wat even though there are a range of hotels, restaurants and shops serving a modest number of visitors. There’s a wide range of architecture including several mansions and “shophouses” from French colonial days.
As well as relaxing in a very pleasant hotel where the staff and owners were almost too helpful we started to form an impression of present day Cambodia. That’s a subject we’ll return to later when we’ve had more time to reflect.
Finally in Battambang, which has a station but no trains, we achieved our ambition of biking around thanks to the ever helpful Phka Villa hotel. But when we ventured into the countryside out of town we hired a tuctuc driver to take us around for the day!
In no particular order we saw temples, a fishing village, the countryside, fruit bats, a stunning butterfly, nocturnal bats streaming out of their cave at dusk and had a ride on the wonderful Bamboo train! We also started our education about the tragic era when the Khmer Rouge were in power by visiting one of the killing caves where they disposed of their victims and some skulls were displayed.
The first picture is the symbol of the town of Battambang which seems to mean something like “loose sticks” which leaves us no wiser!image
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2 thoughts on “Battambang

  1. Fantastic pics again. From what I can find on the internet, Battambang could be Cambodian for ‘bamboo’? As our Peter is currently working for a rice commodity broker, anything you can find out about rice production there could be useful!

    • Hi! We certainly saw a lot of paddy fields there – and everywhere else in Cambodia. In Phnom Penh now but will see if we can find out any more. Thanks for comment, and compliment, as ever! J

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