Fondest memory: One day in Battambang, four little ragamuffins that would make any needy children’s poster look tame besieged us. Typically, they wanted some candy. Hey, lots of other western tourists probably got them in the habit so who can blame them. I like free chocolate as much as the next person does. But with no candy on us and no desire to continue a bad trend, I was hard pressed for what I could do aside from throwing them some small change. The oldest of the batch spoke some English so I asked if they were hungry. Candy being a distant cousin of food, I figured it just might be the case. She answered affirmatively but most likely never imagined what I would do next. I motioned for them to follow me to a small sandwich stall I spotted just up the street. I ordered up four and brought them over to a bench to make sure they ate them. They dug in with full gusto. It would have been much cheaper to give them some coins, or even some candy but at least this way they got a real meal out of it and their smiles of contentment easily made up for the cost.
Battambang would be worth a visit if even just for the French Colonial architecture and a visit to The White Rose restaurant, but there are lots of other reasons to head that way. It is one of the least spoiled tourist destinations I've come across with great opportunities to experience village life close to town. If you can't do that, enjoy the locals. They are a friendly lot and even the little kids making the begging rounds are worth corralling for a street side meal.
Fondest memory: There are some do’s and don’ts for the intrepid traveler, especially regarding how to treat beggars and in particular, children in admittedly bad circumstances trying to make a buck. Common sense should tell you giving kids candy would do little for their situation. Rotting teeth will only add to their calamities. Pencils and pens are now strewn across the Inca trail so well intended handouts do not always work much better than more thoughtless ones. So, what can you do? Simply ignoring them is one option though not always so easy and never much help for your conscience either. Sometimes, that is all you can do. But other times, you have a choice.
(concluded below in Fondest Memory)
Battambang is the name of the province in the northwest of the Cambodia, but also the name of its capital. Battambang is meaning 'loss of stick' referring to a legend of Preah Bat Dambang Kranhoung (Kranhoung Stick King).
Battambang is the second-largest city of Cambodia with good-preserved colonial architecture along the riverside. Battambang has a few hotels and is a good base for visiting the nearby hilltop temples, killing caves, rural area and villages.
In the town itself is not much to see, but the town has a relaxed and laid/back atmosphere to stroll around visiting the wats, the small museum with artefacts of the angkorian-era artefacts and the market.
The countryside around Battambang is very scenic and can easily be visited by moto witrh driver like we did. We made a lovely ride along the narrowand unpaved tracks between the green rice paddies.
We were warned not to leave the tracks because of possible landmines from the time of the civil war. There are many victims of landmines in Cambodia.
At many places we saw the local people working in the ricefields with their feet and legs in the water. We passed also many small villages and dwellings with wood houses built at stilts and surrounded by shady coconut palms and from far we could recognize the several hills topped with stupas.
Fondest memory: The trip at the backseat of a moto in the tropical breeze in this rural area was very interesting and relaxing despite the red dust on your face, clothes and body.
Visiting a place or country I always like it to meet the people. Making our moto trip in the countryside of Battambang the people we met were very friendly. But not many were speaking english.
The kids I met were mostly a bit shy, but curious at the same time. Many kids, as young as they are had allready their duties, not meaning (only) school.
Battambang is a laid-back and quiet riverside town, though it is the second largest town of Cambodia with a population of about 80.000 inhabitants. The town was founded on the bank of the River (Stung) Sangker in the 11th century. The river is a important landmark of the town.
In the area are some interesting historical wats built in the 11th century like the Wat Ek Phnom and the Wat Banan, a smaller version of the famus Angkor Wat. In the towncentre itself are besides the Battambang museum the Wat Phiphetaram and the Wat Kampheong. And strolling around in town or along the riverside you can find the best-preserved colonial architecture of Cambodia.
Fondest memory: I liked it very much arriving in Battambang by boat and looking at the houses, boats and daily life along the river.
erm... ;-0 I will probably ask them to get move fast out from there. I donno.... I saw Battambang was just a small province and seems I dont really like it. Maybe, other people have a different opinion about Battambang but me, just say, naahh....
If I choosen to be guide for a friend who willing to discover what the city provide for tourist, I will definately bring them to a center of market, school where children having fun-as education used to be banned sometimes ago, and try their local meal....
Battambang is very much a living town. Although second to Phnom Penh in population, it's still a very small town.
This is not a place to come and party. This isn't a backpacker's paradise. Don't expect to find quaint little cafes, craft and souvenir shops....Battambang isn't set up for tourism. It's a traditional small Cambodian town with dusty streets and slow living.
Battambang has occupied a very sad and tragic space in Cambodia's recent history with the Khmer Rouge. It's an area in recovery. There are many interesting things to explore outside of town.
But this is basic living in a rural area of jungle and farmland.
Go only if you want to appreciate and respect these conditions.
Antes de ir a Battambang , tuvimos la suerte,junto con los Aguilar de conocer a Enrique Figaredo en Torrelavega , acompanado de ms de 50 jovenes camboyanos durante una gira por Espa?a para darnos a conocer su arte y cultura
Before going to Battambang , we had the oportunity to meet Enrique Figaredo in Torrelavega, acompanied with more than 50 young Cambodians , duiring a tour in Spain , to show us their art and culture
If you want to see the countryside around Battambang (which I highly recommend if you want to see the real Cambodia.....excuse the cliche) then I advise you not to use any of the drivers who hang around the hotels. Instead I met a really great guy called Saveth who set up an NGO in his area just outside the city where he now teaches english; he knows the area really well and can show you all around on his moto (moped). With me we went to the sacred mountain which was used by the khmer rouge, several khmer temples, and the bamboo railway. (see pictures)
But best of all you can offer to help out at his school (the NGO) by giving an english class. And if your lucky like me he will invite you to eat dinner at his home, meet his family, experience some proper Cambodian food, and simply hang around and eat interesting tasty fruit from his garden! Dont just do the normal tourist things; being a guest in his home was the most interesting, and most rewarding part of my whole 2 months in SE Asia; and I am still in contact with him to this day.
if you want to email him his address is firstname.lastname@example.org
his mobile number is 855-(0)92 79 05 97
the standard rate for one days travel with a guide was $10 per day when I was there in spring 2008. Thats good value when you consider the price of petrol. This money goes to support him and his family. He has a good command of english, a good knowlege of the area and history, he won't try to cheat you, and he is a good safe driver.
Favorite thing: There are a few banks with ATM machines around the Psar Nut (market) right in the middle of town and these dispense US dollars, as this is what Cambodia uses for currency. I used one and was surprised to see that I could withdraw up to $2000 which I found absolutely amazing as the limit for a withdrawal from an ATM back home is around £300 ($500)!
Favorite thing: The Tourist Information Office is located in the south of the town, near the Governor's Residence and has the usual maps and info leaflets. The chaps who work here are very nice and I enquired about taking a trip on a norry (bamboo train) and one of them took me on the back of his bike to the railway line a few kilometres south of town and then came along with me for a ride!
Favorite thing: Right in the center of the town there is a nice market where you can buy whatever, raincoats, fruit, scarves etc. etc. You can spend a lot of time triyng to bargain with them, they seem to like it a lot.
Visiting most of the ruin temples that was in Battambang and basically enjoying my time there with families and friends ^_^
Fondest memory: hhmmm....going shopping almost everyday and eating all the nicest food there!yummmmmmm........
The ride on the motorbike to the temple is a brilliant overview of the countryside life of Cambodian people.
Fondest memory: The funniest compliment of my life, made by my guide:
"you´re so beautiful because you´re so white and you have such a big noise !" WHAT ???