Battambang - hidden gem of Cambodia
Although we did not plan to stay longer in the country, we have decided to visit within our trip around the world in addition to major attractions in Cambodia also Battambang. We went to Battambang by bus from the capital Phnom Penh. The journey took several hours and cost 5,50 USD/person. Even though we were told they would drop us off downtwon we were basically forced to escape the bus on the in front of many tuk tuk drivers offering crazy prices. We were lucky driver Tom whom spoke English drove around and offered us a lift for 3 USD to any place we needed. We accepted his offer as we did not want to stay there as a target for other hungry drivers. Along the way our driver took another customer. Kaushal was his name and was from India and was in Cambodia on holiday like us. As Tom promised he brought us where we wanted and we started looking for our accommodation in Battambang. Eventually we managed to stay close to the Battambang market for 6 USD/night. Of course without air conditioning, we did not manage to turn it on even with telephone supporting infrared port.
Attractions around Battambang
We imagined our first day to be simple but Cambodia surprised us. We wanted to rent a motorbike as usual in Southeast Asia but they all wanted passport which we decided not to give anyone due to security reasons. Copies were not sufficient to them and after two hours of haggling we gave up. Even though we did not want we had to search for a Tuk Tuk driver. Eventually we found one and made a deal for 15 USD/day. We thought it was too much but better than giving our passports to some strangers. We did show the driver where we wanted to go before we made an agreement. On the way we sometimes checked where he was driving on GPS. He did not cheat and drove us exactly where we asked him.
First stop was the legendary Battambang Bamboo Train. Coincidentally we met Kaushal there and went together on the train to split costs. We paid 10,25 USD/2 persons. That was a ride, really fast and graceful until you feel fear because you realize that the train could derail easily 😀 Along the way against us run some other trains. We had to get down and one of the trains had to be literally disassembled and removed from the track and then put back into its original condition and returned on the rail. It was fun until we met children begging at the end of the track. They soon discovered we did not want to support their parents in forcing their children to sell souvenirs and we told them, rather to go to school, which they did not like and walked away. After getting back to the station people were expecting us to tip them. But it was bad luck with us as we do not make compromises and we have already paid enough. At that moment we started thinking what exactly makes Cambodia so cheap? 😉
Kaushal gave us recommendation for his tuk-tuk driver for the next day because he spoke English well. His name is
Bun and his contact number is +85578646162. Our paths definitively split and we continued on our trip. We had many more spots to visit. One of them was Baset Temple (there was very extensive reconstruction though), Wat Samrong Knong (after reconstruction), Khmer Cheese Market (fish market was very smelly but interesting) and Wat Kdol and Wat Slaketh. We met so many monks at the temples and mostly we were alone everywhere. Sometimes they even let us to go inside, at some places they let us only observe around. Everything was free of charge. Along the way, we still managed to taste the “sticky rice in bamboo tube“. The rice is baked in bamboo in coconut oil and it is so delicious. 🙂
What else to see in Battambang
The second day was much easier. We were waiting for Bun to pick us up. To our surprise at the hotel appeared the driver who helped us in first day to escape from hungry hyenas. It’s Tom. Tom is Bun’s brother and took the shift for him today. We did show him a plan and agreed on 16 USD/day. Tom (you can contact him at +85517840478) was very nice, spoke English well and knew Battambang surrounding area. Thanks to him we came to the village where we bought delicious fresh spring rolls for a few bucks, prepared in front of us. They even showed us how to produce rice paper with explanation by Tom. Near to this place we were able to see how locals make spirit from rice. We were able to shoot some videos and tasted the drink for free.
After that we went to the first place called Phnom Sampeau (sometimes referred as Phnom Sampov). It is a small mountain where are so called Killing Caves (where the Khmer Rouge under their ruling killed innocent people) and several temples where monks live today but also monkeys – macaques. From the mountain there is a beautiful view on the entire valley. Ascending up is worth it. Who does not want to go by foot can take a lift for money of course.
Tom followed driving and went through the beautiful countryside and villages, and finally we arrived at Phnom Banan (Banan Temple). Admission was 3 USD/person. From the parking it was necessary to walk up 358 steps. We made it and stood at Prasat Banan. This place is similar to a complex of My Son we visited in Vietnam. It was kind of preparation before our next stop.
We ended up the day with dinner at the Battambang Market and the other day went by bus towards Angkor Wat and Siem Reap.
Tento příspěvek je také k dispozici v jazyce: Czech