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[[Image:IMG 1138.JPG|right|thumb|Sisophon railway station with the watchtower on Phnom Bak, behind]]
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[[Image:IMG 1138.JPG|thumb|right|300px|Sisophon railway station with the watchtower on Phnom Bak, behind]]
  
'''Sisophon''' commonly known as "Serei-sophon" or "Svay" is a small town and provincial capital of Banteay Meanchey Province, [[North-western Cambodia]], located at the north-west junction of National Highways 5 & 6. Stueng Sisophon, the medium sized river which can be seen from both bridges, meanders its way round the southern circumference of the town.
+
'''Sisophon''', also "Serei-sophon" or "Svay", is a small town in [[North-western Cambodia]]. It is the capital of Banteay Meanchey Province. Stueng Sisophon is a medium sized river that meanders round the southern circumference of the town.
  
 +
==Understand==
 +
Control of Sisophon has often passed between the various regional powers. It is now part of Cambodia thanks to the French, whose sabre rattling forced the Siamese into relinquishing it (along with [[Siem Reap]], [[Battambang]] and much of [[North-western Cambodia]]) in 1907. The town had been Siamese since 1867, thanks again to the French who gave it (and [[Siem Reap]], [[Battambang]] and much of [[North-western Cambodia]]) to Siam in exchange for unobstructed French control over the remainder of Cambodia. Before then, a nominally independent Cambodia existed as a vassel state of Siam and Vietnam.
  
 +
Sisophon is a transport hub that almost every overland visitor to Cambodia will unknowingly visit for at least 15 minutes. It is located at the junction of two main routes: National Highway 5 (running south to [[Battambang]] and west to [[Poipet]]) and National Highway 6 (running east to [[Siem Reap]]).
  
==Get in==
+
The town's main tourist draw is the Banteay Chhmar temple complex, which offers a more remote and atmospheric alternative to the [[Angkor Archaeological Park]].
  
===By car===
+
The town is sufficiently large to benefit from modern technological advancements not found in the countryside but is largely untouched by foreign influences, which makes it an interesting representation of modern Cambodia. There's a smattering of aspiring English speaking students, mentally unsound Khmer Rouge survivors, peasants and provincial townsfolk which give those who care to spend any time in Sisophon a glimpse of folk that are not found in the more visited, more urbane cities.
Highway 5 to [[Battambang]] (80km to the south) is sealed. Highway 5 to [[Poipet]] (50km to the west) and Highway 6 to [[Siem Reap]] (100km to the east) are both now sealed, allowing for fast and comfortable travel in all but the most exceptional circumstances. Highway 69 to Banteay Chhmar (70km to the north) is a less substantial road and may be impassable at times during the rainy season.
+
 
+
The milestones along the main roads on the approach to Sisophon have it labelled as Banteay Meanchey.
+
  
 +
==Get in==
 
===By Bus===
 
===By Bus===
  
Several bus companies' offices can be found on the north side of the shared taxi stand. This is where they pick up and drop passengers, though a less centrally located bus station is being threatened (as of early 2012).  
+
Several bus companies' offices can be found on the north side of the shared taxi stand. This is where they pick up and drop passengers, though a new, less centrally located bus station is also used, with buses now often stopping at both.
  
There are direct buses to:
+
Buses buses connect Sisophon with:
* [[Battambang]] ($2.50, 90 minutes)
+
* [[Battambang]] (90 minutes; $2.50 ''from'' Battambang)
* [[Poipet]] ($1.25, one hour)
+
* [[Poipet]], for the border with [[Aranyaprathet]] in Thailand (1 hour; $2.50 ''from'' Poipet, $1.25 ''to'' Poipet)
* [[Siem Reap]] ($3.75, 90 minutes)
+
* [[Siem Reap]] (90 minutes; $3.75 in either direction). The most convenient company '''Capitol''' runs daily buses to ''central'' Siem Reap (not an out of town bus station) at 09:30, 11:00 and 14:00. On Sundays the company runs an addition service at 16:00.
* [[Bangkok]]
+
* [[Samraong]], for the O'Smach/Chong Chom border with [[Thailand]].
 +
* [[Bangkok]], tickets to Bangkok will involve changing buses in [[Poipet]].
 
* [[Phnom Penh]]
 
* [[Phnom Penh]]
 +
 +
The milestones along the main roads on the approach to Sisophon have it labelled as '''Banteay Meanchey'''.
  
 
===By Train===
 
===By Train===
  
Supposedly due for 2013 is the resurrection of the train line, which would see services from [[Poipet]] to Sisophon and on to [[Battambang]], [[Phnom Penh]], [[Kampot]] and [[Sihanoukville]]. Though progress is slow.
+
Unsurprising postponed until 2015 is the resurrection of the train line, which would see services from [[Poipet]] to Sisophon and on to [[Battambang]], [[Phnom Penh]], [[Kampot]] and [[Sihanoukville]].
  
 
==Get around==
 
==Get around==
The town is small enough to be comprehensively covered on foot. Even the nearest attraction beyond the town, the lookout tower, can be approached on foot from the town.
+
The town is small enough to be comprehensively covered on foot. Even the nearest attraction beyond the town, the lookout tower on '''Phnom Bak''', can be enjoyed on foot from the town.
 +
 
 +
'''Phnom Jorn-Tien''' is perhaps within walking distance though the major road and unforgiving climate make taking a motodop the best way to enjoy it.
 +
 
 +
Motorbikes can be rented at the Golden Crown Guesthouse for $10 per day, ideal for a solo trip to the '''Banteay Chhmar''' temples.
  
 
==See==
 
==See==
  
'''Sisophon Station''' can be found south west of central Sisophon. It is on the Phnom Penh to Poipet line. Services to Sisophon terminated in 2006, and the station is currently in decay. The French 'art deco' architecture can still be appreciated, as can the platforms and the informal economy that has taken over the station area, lending it a lively flavour of urban squalor.
+
*'''Sisophon Station''' lies south west of central Sisophon. It is on the Phnom Penh to Poipet line. Services to Sisophon terminated in 2006, and the station is currently in decay. Its French-built art deco architecture can still be appreciated, as can the platforms and the informal economy that has taken over the station area, which lends the area a lively flavour of urban squalor.
  
'''"Phnom Bak"''' (131m) to the immediate north of Sisophon's centre, features an '''old government lookout tower''', used in the 1990's to watch the Khmer Rouge's movements in the area. From here can be seen great views of the surrounding area, especially viewing southward. An access track to the top of Phnom Bak can be found on the northern side, and you must ask the guard at the top to unlock the gate.
+
*'''Phnom Bak''' (131 m) to the immediate north of Sisophon's centre, features an '''old government lookout tower''', used in the 1990's to watch the Khmer Rouge's movements in the area. There are great views of the town town to the south and dusty planes to the north. The track to the top ascends the hill's northern side. The guard at the top will unlock the gate to allow access to the tower itself.
  
'''"Phnom Tien"''' (98m), a hill approximately 2km west of town, on Road No. 6, features a pagoda half way up, with a famous well, from where the hill's vertical face can be appreciated. Phnom Tien has been known to be popular with foreign climbers.
+
*'''Phnom Jorn-Tien''' (Wall Mountain, 98 m) is a hill approximately 2 km west of town, on Road No. 6. There is a pagoda half way up and a well. The hill's vertical face has been used by visiting climbers, though there is neither equipment hire nor guides. Two crazy outcast women live next to a small shrine at the top of the hill - take care, they bite but are easy easy enough to outmanouver!
  
==Do==
+
*'''Banteay Neang''' is situated 10km south of Sisophon on National Highway 5. The village features a very small but intimidating 'mountain' with a large golden Buddha at the top. A nice view of the locality can be had, with a refreshing breeze. However, this is only really for people with time to kill in Sisophon - it's no Angkor Wat.
Motorbikes can be rented at Golden Crown guest house for $10 per day to allow exploration of the town and its environs.
+
  
Opposite the Golden Crown Guesthouse is an internet cafe, $0.50/hour.
+
==Do==
 +
Climbers have been reported to have scaled '''Phnom Jorn-Tien''' but there is no equipment hire.
  
 
==Buy==
 
==Buy==
'''Sisophon Market (Psar Sisophon)''' is to the north of the shared taxi stand. Its stalls sell any basic necessities from toothpaste to basic meals.  
+
There are several ATMs, including at '''Canadia Bank''', which does not charge commission.
  
English language newspapers can be obtained from vendors near the bus company shops that line the north side of the shared taxi stand. Don't expect the latest edition.
+
'''Sisophon Market (Psar Sisophon)''' is to the north of the shared taxi stand. Its stalls sell many necessities from toothpaste to basic meals.
 +
 
 +
English language newspapers and stationary can be obtained from the '''Apsara Book Shop''' near the market on the street north from the shared taxi stand.
  
 
==Eat==
 
==Eat==
Line 54: Line 64:
  
 
==Drink==
 
==Drink==
A lack of Irish pubs, trendy wine bars, coffee house, tea rooms and laudanum dens means that tins in the market, cafes or restaurants are one's most commonly encountered forms of drink. A tin of beer or soda is usually $0.50.
+
There are a number of Khmer 'Karaoke' clubs dotted around. Otherwise, a tin of beer at the shop is usually US$0.50.
 +
 
 +
Committed winos will find solace in the rather pretentious supermarket on highway 56 that surprisingly stocks well-priced plonk for ~$7/ bottle. It's within walking distance of the town centre.
  
 
==Sleep==
 
==Sleep==
 
'''Golden Crown Guesthouse''' ($6 - $12), is considered the only decent guesthouse in town, and can be found to the east of the central shared taxi stand, where most buses drop passengers. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout.
 
'''Golden Crown Guesthouse''' ($6 - $12), is considered the only decent guesthouse in town, and can be found to the east of the central shared taxi stand, where most buses drop passengers. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout.
 +
 +
'''Pyn's Place''' ($10 fan - $20 a/c), is on National Highway 5, 3.5km west of town, at the base of the mountain. Free Wi-Fi and swimming pool.
  
 
On the shared taxi stand's south side is a row of cheap, basic guesthouses with box rooms ($2.50).
 
On the shared taxi stand's south side is a row of cheap, basic guesthouses with box rooms ($2.50).
 +
 +
==Contact==
 +
 +
There are several internet cafes in town. Two are centrally located: one opposite the Golden Crown Guesthouse and the other just around the corner on the street that runs approximately north from the market's east side. Both are $0.50 / hr.
  
 
==Get out==
 
==Get out==
 +
The '''Banteay Chhmar temple complex''' is 60 km north of Sisophon on highway 56, a less substantial road than the major highways which may be impassable during the wet season. Self drive motor bikes ($10/day) or tuk-tuk drivers ($30/8 hr) can be arranged at the '''Golden Crown Guesthouse'''. Banteay Chhmar is 50 km west of [[Samraong]], the road to which is also not paved.
 +
 +
There are currently no bus services to Banteay Chhmar.
 +
  
 +
{{routebox
 +
| image1=CR_Northern_Line.png
 +
| imagesize1=100
 +
| directionl1=NW
 +
| majorl1=[[Poipet]]
 +
| minorl1=
 +
| directionr1=SE
 +
| majorr1=[[Phnom Penh]]
 +
| minorr1=[[Battambang]]
 +
}}
 
{{IsPartOf|North-western Cambodia}}
 
{{IsPartOf|North-western Cambodia}}
 +
{{usablecity}}
 +
{{cityguide}}
  
 
[[de:Sisophon]]
 
[[de:Sisophon]]

Revision as of 00:44, 19 June 2012

Sisophon railway station with the watchtower on Phnom Bak, behind

Sisophon, also "Serei-sophon" or "Svay", is a small town in North-western Cambodia. It is the capital of Banteay Meanchey Province. Stueng Sisophon is a medium sized river that meanders round the southern circumference of the town.

Contents

Understand

Control of Sisophon has often passed between the various regional powers. It is now part of Cambodia thanks to the French, whose sabre rattling forced the Siamese into relinquishing it (along with Siem Reap, Battambang and much of North-western Cambodia) in 1907. The town had been Siamese since 1867, thanks again to the French who gave it (and Siem Reap, Battambang and much of North-western Cambodia) to Siam in exchange for unobstructed French control over the remainder of Cambodia. Before then, a nominally independent Cambodia existed as a vassel state of Siam and Vietnam.

Sisophon is a transport hub that almost every overland visitor to Cambodia will unknowingly visit for at least 15 minutes. It is located at the junction of two main routes: National Highway 5 (running south to Battambang and west to Poipet) and National Highway 6 (running east to Siem Reap).

The town's main tourist draw is the Banteay Chhmar temple complex, which offers a more remote and atmospheric alternative to the Angkor Archaeological Park.

The town is sufficiently large to benefit from modern technological advancements not found in the countryside but is largely untouched by foreign influences, which makes it an interesting representation of modern Cambodia. There's a smattering of aspiring English speaking students, mentally unsound Khmer Rouge survivors, peasants and provincial townsfolk which give those who care to spend any time in Sisophon a glimpse of folk that are not found in the more visited, more urbane cities.

Get in

By Bus

Several bus companies' offices can be found on the north side of the shared taxi stand. This is where they pick up and drop passengers, though a new, less centrally located bus station is also used, with buses now often stopping at both.

Buses buses connect Sisophon with:

  • Battambang (90 minutes; $2.50 from Battambang)
  • Poipet, for the border with Aranyaprathet in Thailand (1 hour; $2.50 from Poipet, $1.25 to Poipet)
  • Siem Reap (90 minutes; $3.75 in either direction). The most convenient company Capitol runs daily buses to central Siem Reap (not an out of town bus station) at 09:30, 11:00 and 14:00. On Sundays the company runs an addition service at 16:00.
  • Samraong, for the O'Smach/Chong Chom border with Thailand.
  • Bangkok, tickets to Bangkok will involve changing buses in Poipet.
  • Phnom Penh

The milestones along the main roads on the approach to Sisophon have it labelled as Banteay Meanchey.

By Train

Unsurprising postponed until 2015 is the resurrection of the train line, which would see services from Poipet to Sisophon and on to Battambang, Phnom Penh, Kampot and Sihanoukville.

Get around

The town is small enough to be comprehensively covered on foot. Even the nearest attraction beyond the town, the lookout tower on Phnom Bak, can be enjoyed on foot from the town.

Phnom Jorn-Tien is perhaps within walking distance though the major road and unforgiving climate make taking a motodop the best way to enjoy it.

Motorbikes can be rented at the Golden Crown Guesthouse for $10 per day, ideal for a solo trip to the Banteay Chhmar temples.

See

  • Sisophon Station lies south west of central Sisophon. It is on the Phnom Penh to Poipet line. Services to Sisophon terminated in 2006, and the station is currently in decay. Its French-built art deco architecture can still be appreciated, as can the platforms and the informal economy that has taken over the station area, which lends the area a lively flavour of urban squalor.
  • Phnom Bak (131 m) to the immediate north of Sisophon's centre, features an old government lookout tower, used in the 1990's to watch the Khmer Rouge's movements in the area. There are great views of the town town to the south and dusty planes to the north. The track to the top ascends the hill's northern side. The guard at the top will unlock the gate to allow access to the tower itself.
  • Phnom Jorn-Tien (Wall Mountain, 98 m) is a hill approximately 2 km west of town, on Road No. 6. There is a pagoda half way up and a well. The hill's vertical face has been used by visiting climbers, though there is neither equipment hire nor guides. Two crazy outcast women live next to a small shrine at the top of the hill - take care, they bite but are easy easy enough to outmanouver!
  • Banteay Neang is situated 10km south of Sisophon on National Highway 5. The village features a very small but intimidating 'mountain' with a large golden Buddha at the top. A nice view of the locality can be had, with a refreshing breeze. However, this is only really for people with time to kill in Sisophon - it's no Angkor Wat.

Do

Climbers have been reported to have scaled Phnom Jorn-Tien but there is no equipment hire.

Buy

There are several ATMs, including at Canadia Bank, which does not charge commission.

Sisophon Market (Psar Sisophon) is to the north of the shared taxi stand. Its stalls sell many necessities from toothpaste to basic meals.

English language newspapers and stationary can be obtained from the Apsara Book Shop near the market on the street north from the shared taxi stand.

Eat

The Mirror Restaurant, is a reasonably new fast food restaurant, with air-con, serving fried chicken, french fries, and - according to the proprietor - fried ice cream. It can be found to the east of town, opposite Sokimex gas station on Road No. 6. Meals $1 - $4.

The Golden Crown Guesthouse Restaurant, situated underneath the guesthouse, is your standard, tiled, Khmer restaurant, serving rice, and different meats. Meals $1.25 - $3.5.

Drink

There are a number of Khmer 'Karaoke' clubs dotted around. Otherwise, a tin of beer at the shop is usually US$0.50.

Committed winos will find solace in the rather pretentious supermarket on highway 56 that surprisingly stocks well-priced plonk for ~$7/ bottle. It's within walking distance of the town centre.

Sleep

Golden Crown Guesthouse ($6 - $12), is considered the only decent guesthouse in town, and can be found to the east of the central shared taxi stand, where most buses drop passengers. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout.

Pyn's Place ($10 fan - $20 a/c), is on National Highway 5, 3.5km west of town, at the base of the mountain. Free Wi-Fi and swimming pool.

On the shared taxi stand's south side is a row of cheap, basic guesthouses with box rooms ($2.50).

Contact

There are several internet cafes in town. Two are centrally located: one opposite the Golden Crown Guesthouse and the other just around the corner on the street that runs approximately north from the market's east side. Both are $0.50 / hr.

Get out

The Banteay Chhmar temple complex is 60 km north of Sisophon on highway 56, a less substantial road than the major highways which may be impassable during the wet season. Self drive motor bikes ($10/day) or tuk-tuk drivers ($30/8 hr) can be arranged at the Golden Crown Guesthouse. Banteay Chhmar is 50 km west of Samraong, the road to which is also not paved.

There are currently no bus services to Banteay Chhmar.


Routes through Sisophon
Poipet  NW noframe SE  BattambangPhnom Penh




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