Tuesday 21st February 2017
Battambang ( Bat Dambang ), said by proud locals to produce Cambodia's finest rice, sweetest coconuts and tastiest oranges has a long border with Thailand and a short stretch of the Tonle Sap shoreline. The rehion has an enduring tradition of producing many of Cambodia's best-loved singers and actors.
Battambang has passed from Cambodia to Thailand and back again several times over the past few centuries Thailand ruled the area from 1795 to 1907 and again during WWII ( 1941 to 1946 ), when the Thais cut a deal with the Japanese.
Battambang has a charm and urban so phistication all its own. Cambodia fourth tourist destination ( after Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, and Sihanoukville ), it brings together the resources of the modern city with some of Cambodia's best-preserved colonial architechure and small-town friendlines. Timeless hilltop temples and bucolic villages can be seen on leisurely day trip. The most scenic river trip in the country links Battambang with Siem Reap.
Start early morning go to southside of the city include a loop via Phnom Sompeavu to Phnom Banan, with either the winery visit or a bamboo train and then heading to northside to see killing field, rice cake, fish paste marking, Wat Ek Phnom and rice paper.
Phnom Sompeau: At the summit of this fabled limestone out crop 12km southest of Battambang along toward Paiilin. a complex of temples ( admission $2 ) affords gorgeous viewes. Beware the macaques that live around the summit,dining on bananas left as offerings, as some can be bad-tempered and aggresive. Access is via a steep staircase or, past the enteries a cement road.
As you descend from the golden stupa at the summit, turn left under the gate decorated with a bas-relief of Eiy Sei. A deep canyon, its vertical sides clocked in green ery, descent steeply through a natural arch to a "lost world" of stalactites, creenping vines and bats, two Angkorian warriors stand guard.
Phnom Banan: Exactly 358 stone steps lead up shaded Phnom Banan, 28km south of Battambang, to Prasat Banan ( adnission$2 ) whose five towers are reminiscent of the layout of Angkor Wat. Indeed, locals claim it was the inspiration for Angkor Wat.
Udayadityavarman II, son of Suryavarman I, build prasat Banan in the 11th centuriy, and its hillside location offers incredible views across the surrounding countryside. there are impressive carved lintels above the doorways to each tower and bas-reliefs on the upper parts of the central tower. Many of this temple's best carvegs are now in the Battambang Museum.