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Battambang

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(Budget)
(Mid-range)
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E-mail : [email protected] Website : www.asrhotel.com
 
E-mail : [email protected] Website : www.asrhotel.com
  
=== Mid-range ===
 
  
* '''TEO Hotel''', Road 3, tel: 952288, (mobile) 012-857048. Very good value for money - from US$10 for an immaculately clean and well-maintained room with double bed, air-con and fan, hot water, TV, and mini-fridge. VISA and MasterCard accepted. Internet. Indoor restaurant with a fair selection of Western dishes, and additional tables outside in a small garden.
 
  
 
=== Splurge ===
 
=== Splurge ===

Revision as of 04:40, 26 November 2007

Battambang [1] is Cambodia's second most populous city, and a popular tourist destination due to the many nearby places of interest.

Understand

Get in

Map of Battambang

By air

Battambang does have an airport, but it's been closed since the road to Phnom Penh was sealed.

By road

Buses and share taxis run to many destinations, including Phnom Penh, Siem Reap (via Sisophon), and the Thai border at Poipet/Aranyaprathet (also via Sisophon).

The Phnom Penh - Battambang - Sisophon road is sealed and well maintained, and the bridges are not prone to collapse (unlike their counterparts on the unsealed roads). Travelling by car, it takes around four hours to get to Phnom Penh, and just under an hour to get to Sisophon. Buses take a little longer.

The Poipet - Sisophon - Siem Reap road however is not sealed, and its condition varies considerably, depending on the time of year (rainfall) and maintainance. Best case scenario for getting from Sisophon to Poipet or Siem Reap by car is just under an hour, and about double that by bus; but it can take much longer when conditions are not so favourable, and even more so if there are problems with any of the bridges.

By boat

Boats go to and from Siem Reap (for Angkor) daily. An interesting and very scenic journey along small rivers, the boats thread their way through numerous charming floating villages and past dozens of towering cantilevered fishing net installations. It can take as little as four hours, or over twelve, depending on the time of year (and hence the water level), however the time can be fairly accurately predicted by checking the time that the same boat arrived yesterday.

When the water level gets very low, the boats cannot get all the way to Battambang and the journey is completed by minibus or pick-up.

By rail

There is a very slow, once-weekly train service between Battambang and Phnom Penh via Pursat. The journey is scheduled to take 14 hours but may be much longer, even though the distance by rail is only 275 km. It costs US$5 one-way for foreigners.

  • Phnom Penh to Battambang : Saturdays, departs 06:20, arrives 20:00
  • Battambang to Phnom Penh : Sundays, departs 06:40, arrives 19:00

The train station is on the edge of the city centre (see map above), a short walk from the central market.

Get around

See

Battambang is known for its statues which seemingly decorate every public place. Most are of animals (mythical and real) and divinities (also mythical and real?)

The most famous of these statues is on the main road in from Phnom Penh and is of an ancient Khmer King holding a stick which he used to quell rebellions in the Battambang area. The name of the town / province comes from this legend.

The town also has a number of fine colonial buildings along the river including a very grand French era governors residence.

Around Battambang:

  • Phnom Sompoen, a hill with the killing caves of the Khmer rouges, a series of buddhist caves and a monastery with two Stupas on the hilltop. Entry is US$2, covering also Wat Banan.
  • Wat Banan, the so-called mini-Angkor wat, an impressive flight of stairs leads up to a dilapidated Angkor-type temple which is still in use as a buddhist shrine.
  • Wat Baydamram, the bat temple, where hundreds of fruit bats live under the protection of the monks.
  • Wat Ek Phnom, another Angkor-type temple ruin, about 15 km north west of Battambang. The road goes alongside lovely small rivers bordered by trees and small villages and is in general a very nice area. Approaching Wat Ek Phnom you suddenly encounter a giant buddha statue in the wat. The grounds of the Wat also have an Angkorian era temple which is in relatively good shape and with some interesting carvings.
Wat Ek

Several opportunities to explore villages exist just south of town. The Cultural village of Watkor, just a few km south of the town center has several "ancient wooden houses" from the early 20th century. Further south are the agricultural villages of Kompong Seyma, and Ksach Puoy. For info call District Administration Battambang: 012.881.516/016.666.111

Do

The bamboo train near Battambang
  • Take a ride on the bamboo train (the "norry"). A trip to the train can be booked in most hotels or arranged for with a motorbike/tuk-tuk driver. Expect to pay additional for the train (a special "tourist charter" should cost no more than 10 USD per half-hour). Ask for an estimate of the price directly with the driver and get him to bargain the price for you by linking his own pay to the price you will get for the "norry". Some drivers will cost you less but then drive you to more greedy "norry" drivers and you will end up forking more money than initially planned. Do combine the trip to catch a bamboo train with a visit of the countryside (that is stop your driver on the way there).
  • Take a motorbike trip around the countryside and visit some nice temples and enjoy the views.
  • Wander around the market and sample local dishes.

Eat

You can get some great bread (by French standards!) for 1000 KHR 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 street sellers have elsewhere in town is of a much lower standard for the same price, the kind you find in Phnom Penh (baguette-shaped and sprinkled with sugar).

  • Smokin' Pot (Ph.3). Mains 3000-6000 KHR. Cooking school-cum-restaurant offering a good range of Khmer and Thai food. Vegetarian-friendly.

Sleep

The best choice

  • Hotel Royal, on a side street west of the central market,A good option with a rooftop restaurant. Spacious rooms with bathroom, hot water and air con around US$15, smaller rooms start around US$5 (clean doubles with shared bathroom and toilets). Tel 855 16912034 / 12894862 /17545455

E-mail : [email protected] Website : www.asrhotel.com


Splurge

Get out

Stay healthy

Stay safe


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