Difference between revisions of "Battambang"
Revision as of 04:40, 26 November 2007
Battambang does have an airport, but it's been closed since the road to Phnom Penh was sealed.
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.
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.
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.
The train station is on the edge of the city centre (see map above), a short walk from the central market.
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.
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
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).
The best choice
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