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[[File:Naktadambangkragnoung.jpg|thumb|200px|Road No. 3 near the Central Market]]'''Battambang''' [] is [[Cambodia]]'s second most populous city and a popular tourist destination due to the many nearby ancient temples, Buddhist shrines and the infamous bamboo railway. It is also the capital city of the Battambang province. It is popular with tourists because of it's blend of modern city, small-town friendliness and some well-preserved colonial architecture, which works together to give the town a unique charm.
[[File:Linteau Ramayana Musée Guimet 9972.jpg|thumb|right|200px|[[Ramayana]] depicted on carvings from the 11th century]]
Battambang was established as an important trading city with around 2,500 residents in the 18th century. They lived mostly along a single road parallel to the Sangkae River. In 1795 Thailand, then Siam, annexed much of northwestern Cambodia including the province of Battambang and [[Siem Reap]]. The Siamese Abhaiwongse family ruled Battambang as governors for six generations until 1907 when the province was ceded to the French to be part of their French Indochina colony.
Following the colonization of the French in Battambang the colonial administration developed an urban layout which enlarged the size of the French colonial town. In the first time development, they constructed a grid pattern of well-defined streets, put in the urban structures and built three main streets parallel to the Sangker River, connected the both side with two bridges in 1917. Military purposes and prison infrastructures were erected inside the compound. 19 years later, a second urban development plan was created with a newly constructed railway linked from Battambang to [[Phnom Penh]]. The urban structure was extended to the west of the town, featuring some important urban axes orienting on the railway station. Many outstanding buildings like residential villas and significant public buildings were constructed during that period. According to the third urban development plan for Battambang, a large extension was planned for the north, east and south of the city. The urban layout was technically planned and required long-term thinking to create an urban axis corresponding to the existing urban layout from the former period. Battambang grew as a modern provincial capital, and became the most developed part of all provinces in [[Cambodia]].
Several large infrastructures and public facilities were built under the modernization program of the Cambodian government under Prince Sihanouk. Several provincial departments, the court house and other public administrations were set up on both sides of the river. Textile and garment factories were built by French and Chinese investors, the Battambang Airport was constructed, and the railway line was developed to reach [[Poipet]]. Numerous schools and a university were built. A sports centre, museum and an exhibition hall were constructed to serve the cultural needs of the growing population.
==Get in==
The city centre is quite compact and can be mostly explored by foot. Bicycles can be rented from most hotels or private companies for US$1-2 per day. Motorcycles can be rented from US$5 a day. The driving habits of locals are hazardous. Police may try to fine tourists on motobikes. If pulled over, stay calm, smile & take the key out of the ignition (to prevent the police trying to ransom it), and pay a small fine of US1-2. Arguing, waving your driving licence in their faces or otherwise upsetting the police is not recommended.
Tuk-tuks and motorbike drivers hang around popular tourist areas. As most of the interesting and useful destinations are quite close to each other, most rides should only cost you around US$2-4. More distant trips like Phnom Sampouv (the 'killing caves') will cost around US$10, and can be combined with other destinations for a total of US$12-15. Saam Bo is a tuk-tuk driver who has worked for Western companies and NGOs, and so speaks excellent English. (Most don't.) He's also resourceful, fair and pleasant-natured: 097 353 5305.
Small boats act as ferries (500 riel) and cross the river in front of the market.
[[File:Wat Ek Phnom.Battambang.2006.jpg|thumb|right|200px|Buddhist temple in Battambang]]
Battambang is known for its statues which seemingly decorate every public place. Most are of animals (mythical and real) and divinities.
[[Image:PsarNat.jpg|thumb|200px|Battambang's central market]]
The town also has a number of fine early-20th-century French colonial buildings . Most of the colonial buildings can be found along the river including a very grand French era governors residencewaterfront (St 1), especially just south of '''Psar Nat''' (which is quite impressive in itself). Famous Art Deco buildings are the Central market, the swimming pool Victory (riverside) and the train station. Along streets 1, 2, 21/2 and 3 are charming examples of Chinese, French and Italian architecture, with peculiar mirroring of houses constructed on one side in brick, square pillars and on the other one in concrete, round pilarspillars. Street 3 has some charming French shop-houses. *The '''Governors Residence''' is the most impressive colonial building, a legacy of the early 1900s with balconies and wooden shutters and grand reception room with a 5m ceiling. It was designed by an Italian architect for the last Thai governor, who departed in 1907. The interior is closed but you can explore the grounds at leisure. *'''Battambang Museum''' (admission US$1) displays fine Angkorian lintels and statuary from all over the Battambang province, including Phnom Banan and Sneng, and it has multi-lingual signs.
'''Around Battambang''':
[[Image:BambooTrainDerFussi.jpg|thumb|right|240px|The bamboo train near Battambang]]
* '''Rent a bicycle''' and cycle along the river. Upstream (south) or downstream (north). Both directions are flat and mostly paved, and it is possible to cycle along the river bank for a considerable distance, of up to 20 km each way. Also worth trying are the unpaved roads, they are esy easy to cycle along, have nearly no traffic and there plenty of children to say hello. A good adress address for renting regular and better bicycles is The Battambang BIKE rental and repair directions="60 street 2,5" [email protected] ☎ +855 17 905 276
* '''The Bamboo Train''': ''(The term "train" being used loosely - A large bamboo platform mounted on train axles powered by a small go-kart engine)''. A trip to the train can be booked in most hotels or arranged with a motorbike/tuk-tuk driver. Currently it is regulated by Battambang's Tourist Police, with a standard rate of US$5 per person, minimum 2 people or US$10 for one person, with discounts for larger groups. It is worthwhile asking the driver to stop at scenic places.
Good French-style bread costs 1,000 rial a medium-size baguette up north, between the French cultural centre and the giant statue marking the entry in Battambang from the main interprovincial road. The bread that street sellers have elsewhere in town is of a much lower standard for the same price, similar to that found in [[Phnom Penh]] a baguette-shape, but sprinkled with sugar, however some people do not notice any difference between the bread sold in the north and elsewhere in Battambang. It is generally of decent quality all across the city.
* <eat name="Sunrise Cafe" address="Royal St (near Royal Hotel)" directions="150m directly west of Psar Nath (the main market)" phone="053 953 426" hours="6.30AM to 8PM." Prices="$4-9 for a main course." The only Wetsern-style restaurant which opens at dawn. Does a great Western breakfast and lunch. Juices, espressos, lattes, cappuccinos. Huge range of cakes, cinnamon muffins, cookies, and Battambang's only wholegrain breads. Unusually fast service by Battambang standards.</eat>
* <eat name="Au Cabaret Vert Restaurant" alt="Au Cabaret Vert-Hôtel à Battambang" address=" Toul Ta Ek, Otakom 2" directions="5 min from the market by tuk-tuk" phone="+885 53 656 2000,+885 77 991 384 " email="[email protected]" fax="" url="" hours="" price="US$9-16 for a main course, entrees US$8-12" lat="" long="">Traditional Cambodian dishes, their speciality is ''fish amok'', complemented by a French-style menu that includes desserts and wine.</eat>
* <eat name="Bamboo Train Café &amp; Bar'" alt="previously known as "Snow White/Apsara Garden Bar &amp; Restaurant" address="" directions="Cross the new bridge, 200 m further and it's on the right hand side just after the pizza house" phone="" email="[email protected]" fax="" url="" hours="06:30-22:00" price="" lat="N 13° 05.549'" long="E 103° 12.178'">Relaxed atmosphere, delicious food and friendly staff</eat>
* <eat name="Cafe Eden" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" email="[email protected]" fax="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="13.099622" long="103.199188" email="[email protected]" fax="">Western style riverfront cafe restaurant run by an American woman. Serves Western and Asian food, and coffee(but no juices). Kitchen works to Western food handling and preparation standards.</eat>
* <eat name="Gecko Cafe" alt="" address="Street #3" directions="One block South of Psa Nath Market" phone="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="" email="" fax="">Nice atmosphere, limited but very tasty menu, free WiFi.
* <eat name="Smokin' Pot" alt="" address="Ph.3" directions="" phone="" url="" hours="" price="Mains 8,000-20,000 rial" lat="" long="" email="" fax="">Cooking school-come-restaurant offering a good range of Khmer and Thai food. Vegetarian-friendly. Note that there are two establishments called "Smokin' Pot" a few blocks apart.</eat>
* <eat name="White Rose" alt="" address="" directions="Almost opposite the Smoking Pot" phone="" emailurl="" faxhours="" urlprice="" hourslat="" pricelong="" latemail="" longfax="">Huge Big menu, and some great fruit shakes. This place is more typically Asian-style than Western-style cosy but is still full of foreigners. A plus is that theyService can be very slow. The owners're quick and remember everything as you ordered itchildren can run riot in the evenings, making dining less than peaceful.</eat>
*<eat name="Apple of Love" alt="La Pomme d'Amour" address="street 2.5, #63" directions="" phone="+885 12 415 513, +885 12 963 189" url="" hours="19:00-10PM" price="" lat="" long="">Khmer cuisine with a French twist, sophisticated and creative with pleasant staff. Wine list.</eat>
*<eat name="Cafe Flirt" alt="" address="street 121" directions="Back one street from riverside, next to White Rose Restaurnat." phone="+855 92238935" url="" hours="0800-2300 or later" price="4-6$" lat="" long="">A new relaxed bar restaurant in Battambang,,serving great western food cooked by the western owner who holds a British Food Hygiene cert.
fantastic burgers and homemade dishes. Serving Ice Cold Anchor or Cambodia Draught beers..Happy hour 4pm-7.00pm everyday Beer only 50C a mug,,and wine only $2.50. Guaranteed open until 11pm everyday,,the latest bar around, will stay open later if needed...So come chill out to some great tunes,,Free WI-FI, only free pool table in town!</eat>
*<eat name="Choco l'art café" alt="" address="Street 117," directions="" phone="070 740.474010661617" url="" hours="1412-12" price="3-4 $" lat="" long="">2 blocks from the central market towards sout-west. SandwichA unique venue in Battambang with chic, coffeelounge fee that reflects the mood if its young, pastriescreative owners. Home A contemporary blend of Khmer and French cultures achieved through gastronomy and modern art. Sandwiches with home-made. Galerybread, cakes, cookies, crumbles, bar chocolate mousses and tea-roo,more... Open from 12 am to 12 pm.</eat>
*<eat name="Green mango" alt="" address="Opposite Bamboo train café" directions="" phone="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">Pastries and coffee, as a training project for disadvantaged young people</eat>
*<eat name="Make Art space" alt="" address="Street 2.5 # 66" directions="" phone="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">An avant-garde meeting and exhibition galery, with kid art classes, film projections, recycling shop and much more</eat>
*<eat name="Sunrise Coffee House" alt="" address="Royal St (near Royal Hotel)" directions="150m directly west of Psar Nath (the main market)" phone="053 953 426" url="" hours="6.30AM to 8PM" price="$4-9" lat="" long="">The only Western-style restaurant which opens at dawn. Does a great Western breakfast and lunch. Juices, espresso, latte, cappuccino. Deli with huge range of cakes, cinnamon muffins, cookies, and Battambang's only wholegrain breads. Unusually fast service by Battambang standards.</eat>
* <sleep name="Seng Hout Hotel" address="No. #1008B, Road 02" phone="+855 53 952 900, cell +855 12 530 327" directions="North of Psar Nat Market 50m, Prekmohatep, next door to the White Rose Restaurant and around the corner from the Smoking Pot" email="[email protected]" fax="" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="March 2011-Standard room promo rate US$16, double occupancy. Standard single (VIP) US$18 nett/room (max 2 guests).Standard double US$15 nett/room (maximum 2-3 guests). Standard twin US$15 nett/room (max 2 guests)" lat="" long="">Good hotel with elevator and large reception area. Rooms have air-conor optional cheaper fan,free WiFi, cableTV and ensuite. Rooftop cafe with 360⁰ views. Newly built in 2008 with cableTV, air-con and refrigerator. Rates inc taxes and pick up any station in Battambang city</sleep>
* <sleep name="Chhaya Hotel and Serviced Apartments" alt="" address="118, St 3, Svaypor" directions="" phone="+855 53 952170, +855 12 882500" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="Hotel: US$43-12, apartments: US$20/night or US$270/mth" lat="" long="" email="[email protected]" fax="">Opened in June 2010, single, double and triple rooms, both air-con and non air-con, cableTV available. The cheaper hotel rooms have a shared bathroom, the more expensive ones have private facilities and a refrigerator. Serviced apartments newly opened in June 2010 and have large rooms with kitchenette and balconies, large ensuite, WiFi, cableTV. 24 hr security, free airport/bus station/boat harbour transfers.</sleep>
* <sleep name="Lux Guest House" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="+855 92 335767" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="US$8-23 (down to $US6 in low season)" lat="" long="" email="" fax="">Built in 2009, rooms include hot water, aircon, fan, cableTV, free WiFi, fridge and minibar. Rooms are big clean and nicely decorated, as goes for the entire hotel. Staff are friendly, helpful and a little bit shy. Location is close to nice eating places and at a road which is lit at night.</sleep>
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