Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Battambang is known for its statues which seemingly decorate every public place. Most are of animals (mythical and real) and divinities.
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.
Abandoned Pepsi Factory
Abandoned Pepsi Factory
Abandoned Pepsi Factory: Located about a kilometre to the north-east of the town (Follow the road parallel to the west bank of the river which leads to Ek Phnom), this factory was abandoned during the Khmer Rouge era and now lies an eerie husk which is worth checking out. Rusting machinery, 70s electrics and deteriorating architecture makes for a worthwhile half an hour exploration.
Squatters have set up camp behind the factory and occupied some of the interior buildings, setting up barricades and putting padlocks on the doors: Most of the buildings can still be accessed, but to see the warehouse filled with dusty 70s Pepsi-Cola bottles (Both filled and empty), you can ask the squatters set up under the distillation towers to the right as you enter the compound to let you in.
Around Battambang:
Phnom Sampeu's Killing Caves
Phnom Sampeu's Killing Caves
  • Phnom Sampeu, a hill with the Killing Caves of the Khmer Rouge, a few others caves adorned with Buddhist statues, and a monastery with two Buddhist Stupas on the hilltop. Entry is US$2 - also covering Wat Banan - and it takes about an hour to climb the circuit to the monastery on top, with a short-cut leading back down to the shops and restaurants which line the approaching road.
  • Wat Banan, the so-called mini-Angkor wat, an impressive flight of stairs lead up to a dilapidated Angkor-style temple which is still in use as a Buddhist shrine.
  • Wat Baydamram, a temple where hundreds of fruit bats live in trees under the protection of the Buddhist monks.
Wat Ek Phnom
Wat Ek Phnom
  • Wat Ek Phnom, another Angkor-type temple ruin, about 15km north west of Battambang. The road runs along lovely small rivers flanked by trees and small villages making it a generally nice area. Approaching Wat Ek Phnom, you suddenly encounter a giant Buddha statue in the Wat, which is certainly picture-worthy. The grounds of the Wat also have an Angkorian era temple which is in relatively good shape and with some interesting carvings.
There are several opportunities to explore villages just south of town. The Cultural village of Watkor, just a few kilometers south of the town centre 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: ☎ +855 1288 1516, +855 1666 6111.
  • Battambang Circus, Phare Ponleu Selpak (10 min journey in tuk-tuk from the centre of Battambang-most drivers know the the circus), +855 53 952 424, [2]. Performances every Mon and Thurs from 6PM. The shows are fun, energetic and exciting and include a range of circus disciplines. The ticket price helps support the NGO school which works with disadvantaged children and teenagers. US$8.  edit

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