Hi!!! My name is Laura and I am travelling at the moment thought Cambodia. In my visit to Battambang I have discovered a new shop and organic coffee place called Natural, it is located in street no 3, 100 m south of the central market. This new place is part of the project of an NGO called Coconut Water Foundation.
In the shop they sell nice handmade clothes, bags, wallets… made by local home based producers and from other local NGO’s, and they sell as well beautiful and affordable watercolor post cards and pictures made by art students from another NGO. You can have a look at more products and information about the NGO projects while drinking a gorgeous organic smoothie (fruit shakes are called here), green tea with fruits or eat some of their vegetarian breakfast/brunch options. And you can enjoying looking at a khmer lady weaving in the traditional way in an authentic old style loom!!! The place is great and the responsible of the project, a really nice Spanish lady, can give you more information about the NGO projects in the community.
I am sending you this email because it is a newish place, just opened a month ago, and I haven’t seen it in any tourist guide, even when it is a worthwhile little cozy place to visit!!!
This, for me, was one of the highlights of my time in Cambodia and probably the main reason for coming to Battambang. Just to the north of the new bridge across the river are a cluster of moored boats. This is where the ferries to Siem Reap depart and is really a must-do thing as the journey is very scenic indeed. You'll pass by ramshackle stilt houses with young children waving at you from the river banks and boats on their way to school, Chinese cantilever fishing nets, floating villages and local people going about their daily lives on the river. The river flows into a lake called Tonle Sap before ending at the Chong Khmeas ferry dock about 10km south of Siem Reap. From here, you can take a tuk-tuk into Siem Reap itself.
The trip takes 3-7 hours depending on the weather, the water levels, how overloaded your boat is and the quality of the boat. They leave in the early morning around 7am and I bought a ticket from my hotel (the Star Hotel - see my accommodation tip) which cost $17 per person. I've taken some short video clips which you can find on my Battambang page, plus you can find more photos of the trip in my travelogues.
Opened in 1968, this small museum is well worth a visit as it contains a small collection of Angkorian items and a Tonle Sap display. Included in the collection are boundary stones, an excellent array of lintels, heads of gods from Banteay Chhmar, a group of wooden Buddhas, and lions and other sculpted figures. There is currently a general lack of explanations for the displays, but that does not detract from the experience.
Open: 8-11am & 2-5pm. Admission: US$1.
This temple is located behind the Governor's Residence in the south of the town and is full of colourful chedi's (stupa's), and figures of horses and chariots which I'd seen at other temples elsewhere in town.
This is an old colonial building constructed by an Italian architect and finished in 1907, which is located in the south of the town centre. In front of it there is an old stone bridge as old as the building with two statues of lions made of stone on the west end of old bridge.
Norrie’s, also known as bamboo trains, are one of the "must sees" of Battambang, if only for their novelty value. Formed by two sets of railway wheels, a bamboo mat and powered by a small motor, these are an impromptu way of travelling up and down the railway line in lieu of a real train, which don't look like running any time soon from what I saw. Aside from a rather peculiar way of getting around, they are also a great way of seeing rural Cambodia well off the road network. When two norries meet coming in opposite directions, the one with the lighter load is dismantled and removed from the tracks, allowing the other to pass.
They run along the railway line, where the rails are very bumpy and uneven with big gaps in-between that jolt you violently everytime you go over them, a few kilometres outside of the town. I enquired about taking a trip on one at the Tourist Information Office which is located near the Governor's Residence and a kind chap, who works there, took me on the back of his bike and then came along with me for a ride! On the return trip, after we turned round at one of the little stations along the way, we stopped off and watched the local fisherman catch fish with nets in muddy-brown ponds and rice being planted in the paddy fields. Great fun, which feels like a horizontal rollercoaster in a fair ground! I've taken some short video clips which you can find on my Battambang page.
This temple is located across the river and is named after the river. It features some interesting and colourful figures including elephants, horses and one poor chap having his internal organs pecked out by birds! They remind me a bit of Hindu figures you find on their temples in India.
Several wats lie on the far bank of the river, but to the casual visitor they are probably just of passing interest. The most interesting is Wat Kandal, just to the north of the iron bridge. It has an unusual, tall arched entranceway and out the back in the far corner nestles a model of Angkor Wat and a graveyard with some very ornate tombs.
The Sangker River (also spelt Stung Sangke) is the river that flows through Battambang which then drains into the Tonle Sap lake. If you take the fast boat to Siem Reap (which you really have to do) then you'll go along this river before reaching and then crossing the lake. The river isn't all that picturesque in the town itself and looks like it's been specially channelled but it is very picturesque outside the town.
Psar Nat (Big Market) is located right in the centre of town. Typical products: Opals and rubies; gold and silver jewellery and silk. The most interesting time to visit the market is the early morning when sellers from the villages around Battambang bring their products to market such as fruit and vegetables and meat and fish, and lay them out along the side of the road on the floor.
Battambang has several rather faded and crumbling colonial buildings along the river plus some small Chinese style shop houses that are quite decorative but are in a serious need of some TLC. There's also a very small Chinese shrine along the river but it was closed when I was wandering around so, I guess, like in most places in SE Asia, there must be a large Chinese influence in town.
This temple is right in the middle of the town, just to the north of the market. It has a very ornate archway entrance and the main temple building is also very decorative but wasn't open when I visited.
There is a small town (Bospo Village) near Battambang. At Bospo Village, a group of local volunteers arrange english classes for kids after regular school (from 4 p.m.). Tourists as temporary teachers, even for one afternoon only, are very welcome. It is also possible to stay at the village for a longer period. There is a house (homestay) for those, who like to stay in a typical khmer village.
I did this for only for one afternoon (2 classes, each one hour), and it was a very touching experience, because the kids are so eager to learn.
If you want to do this, go to the Seng Hout Hotel (near the Old Market) and ask for Saveth. He is a Tuktuk driver and one of the founders of the organisation, who runs this project.
This is an orphanage run by a young Australian women called Tara. There is a website that will give you all the information needed to contact if you want to visit. We visited for a morning after we visited the rice warehouse to purchase 50 kilo which will feed the kids for 1 month. We also took some school stationary, pens and bits. The kids were great we played volleyball and they were very appreciative of our visit. I know there must be hundreds of such places around Cambodia and it is very hard to decide which one to visit and which one needs assistance but if you are visiting BB keep these kids in mind. I understand they take volunteer workers but not sure of requirements.
We booked a day trip through Bustop GH at $US20pp and it was well worth it. We were picked up about 9am and dropped back at our hotel at 5pm. The cost included all entrance fees we just had to buy lunch which was very good and cost $US2 each . Places we visited were Watt Ekphnom, this is also known as the Killing Cave used by the Khmer Rouge to kill their people by throwing them down a hole into the cave. There is a small memorial that holds many skulls of the victims.
We also visited a ruin that is rumoured to be older than Angkor Watt.
We also took a ride on the famous Bamboo train.
Our guide and driver was called Ro his number he gave to us 855 012970513 he speaks very good English and is very knowledgable.