A visit to Battambang, the capital of the province of the same name, allows for authentic travel experiences in a charming setting. In contrast to the world-famous Siem Reap or lively Sihanoukville, you will encounter a rather quiet atmosphere here. Well-kept buildings from the French colonial era and some beautiful pagodas enrich the cityscape.
Around the central market Psar Nat a young creative scene has established itself and in the quiet alleys there are original shops, galleries and open studios. A stay in Battambang is a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in the normal everyday life of a large Cambodian city. Battambang province is considered the 'rice bowl' of Cambodia and your excursions to the sights in the area will take you along idyllic rice fields. Less
An important religious place
Dedicated to the legend of the name of the city
An adventurous experience
Just under six miles from the centre of town, the ruined temple of Wat Ek Phnom is a must-see on your Battambang vacation. The temple was built in the 11th century on an exposed, slightly elevated site and has long been considered one of the finest sacred buildings from the Angkor Dynasty. In the 1970s, the ancient structure suffered greatly as it was misused as a prison by the Khmer Rouge regime and was badly damaged. Nevertheless, the well-preserved relief work on the pediment triangles and lintels of the temple tower give an impression of the temple's original beauty. They depict finely crafted scenes from Indian mythology. A modern, colourful pagoda has been built in front of the old temple precinct, flanked by an impressive statue of a seated Buddha. The temple complex is a popular local destination, used as a setting for a traditional picnic on festival days.
Phnom Sampov is a rocky mound with a silhouette resembling a junk, the traditional sailing ship of East Asia. A staircase with a few hundred steps leads up to the summit, where a pagoda was built in the 1960s. The mountain is also home to several stupas, hemispherical domed vaults that are important symbols in Buddhist religious doctrine as burial sites or repositories of relics. From Phnom Sampov there is an unusually impressive view of the largely untouched landscape. A very special atmosphere is created at dusk, when huge swarms of bats leave their caves for the nightly search for food and darken the sky. Not only bats live in the caves, but also many monkeys, which have a ritual significance and local pilgrims love to feed them.
Not far from Battambang, you will find the Samrong Knong Pagoda, which is well worth seeing. It is considered one of the oldest, well-preserved pagodas in Battambang province. Of course, the building is not nearly as old as the Khmer dynasty temple, but was only built at the beginning of the 18th century by the Buddhist monk Thudong Chey. Due to its secluded location, the site served as a place of contemplation and was considered a sacred place by the local people.
The large statue at the entrance of Battambang is dedicated to the legend surrounding the origin of the name of the city and Battambang province. It shows a young man with the name Ta Dambang. According to the legend, he once possessed a magic black stick that enabled him to be proclaimed successor to the king. When the real heir prince made his claim, Ta Dambang retreated and threw away the stick. The prince then named his kingdom Bat Dambang, which translates as "the vanished stick." In the course of tradition, this gave rise to the name Battambang.
On a hill about 30 minutes outside the city area of Battambang is the temple Wat Banan. If you have been to Siem Reap before your visit, a real deja vu experience awaits you here. The ruins of the small temple with five towers are amazingly reminiscent of the silhouette of the famous temple Angkor Wat. The relatively well-preserved structure was probably built around the year 1060 and thus dates back to the same era as the famous temple complexes of Angkor. The somewhat arduous climb to Wat Banan over almost 400 steps is also rewarded by a fantastic view of the landscape.
The manageable, friendly Provincial Museum offers a surprising variety of sculptures, reliefs and ceramics gathered from many historical sites in Cambodia. The collection displays an impressive cross-section of cultural objects, some of which predate the Khmer dynasties. Part of the museum also deals with recent history and is very helpful in better understanding the historical features of the nation of Cambodia. It is worth spending some time here when visiting Battambang.
Riding the legendary bamboo train is a very original experience that is probably only possible in Battambang. Originally, the "Bamboo Trains", also known as "Norrys", served as a simple means of transportation to reach remote villages or to supply them with goods. Using the rail network and the remnants of the French colonial era, simple carriages were built from old bogies and bamboo panels, powered by discarded engines from boats and generators. Today, the old tradition continues and the improvised and unaltered "Bamboo Trains" are a popular tourist attraction. Enjoy this adventurous ride on your Battambang vacation. Less
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