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Khmer Delight Battambang

Khmer Delight Battambang
*Local Business* CLICK on the image to view the Khmer Delight website.

Graham Bamford - interview 2009

               
Graham Bamford 1944 - 2017
The following article was first published in the Bayon Pearnik issue 155 in 2009. www.bayonpearnik.com/back-issues/pdf/Issue155one.pdf
As part of the Expat Files series of interviews with foreigners 
living in Cambodia.
Graham established and co-owned Khmer Delight Restaurant in Battambang.
He passed away 24th January 2017.
Graham was simply wonderful and will be missed by very many.


The Expat Files (published 2009)

Graham Bamford is 65, and was born in South Africa, of British decent. He now resides in Cambodia, is semi retired, but teaches English a few hours a week, as well as advising Khmer friends in the hospitality industry.


‘I’m often asked by people I meet, where I’m from, and I find this a particularly difficult question to answer’. ‘ The reason being as I’m actually from many different places, I was born in South Africa, but left with my family to what was then the British crown colony of Kenya when I was four years old, and it was in Kenya that I grew up and was educated’. ‘ It was quite an experience growing up in Kenya in those days, but of course at that age one didn’t appreciate what the benefits were of living in that kind of environment, until many years later’. ‘Now of course that country has changed beyond recognition from what it was like in the 1950s’. ‘ My family decided to migrate to Australia, basically because they lacked trust in what was going to happen to Kenya’s independents that was just about to take place in the early 1960s’. ‘So we moved to Perth, and I must say I felt like an alien from outer space, I didn’t particularly feel at home there, but I manage to fit in eventually’. ‘ I had a number of casual jobs before deciding to enter the seminary, and study for the catholic priesthood, but after getting for my degree in philosophy, I decide the scarlet woman of Rome and I wouldn’t make particularly good bed fellows, so I left that particular pursuit ’. ‘ I guess I was seeking adventure, as I then decided to volunteer for a teaching position with the catholic mission in Papua New Guinea, a place that few people new anything about’. ‘I felt at home as soon as the plane touched down, as the surroundings were very reminiscent of Africa, and that feeling didn’t leave me for a very long time, I was on a three year contract, but ended up staying for thirty eight years’. ‘There’s a story I recall from 1968 when they had the second ever election in PNG, under Australian administration, and there weren’t enough government officers to actually carry out the election.’  ‘Now the election in remote areas had to be carried out on foot patrol and meeting all the villagers, and as a young 25 year old I was press ganged into doing this.’ ‘So I was duly instructed as a returning officer to go on a three week foot patrol around the lake Kutubu area, and I found myself with fifteen carriers, six armed policemen, three interpreters and I felt like Wallaby Jim of the islands, I didn’t have to go through the loops and hoops to become a patrol officer, and now here I am one’.  ‘I set of on this patrol, and it was really quite a hard slog because PNG is extremely mountainous, no roads off course, and up and down steep inclines’. ‘I remember when we finally got to Lake Kutubu, marching into the first village with my entourage behind me, feeling extremely important, and all the natives scattering into the jungle.’ ‘Looking a little bewildered I turned to a policemen and what was going on, and he explained that they think I’m here to collect head tax, which understandably they weren’t keen on paying.’ ‘So I said well go and round the buggers up, we don’t have three weeks here, we’re only overnighting in a camp, and they called out to these people who were hiding that we were only there to collect their votes, and they furtively crept back to the village.’ ‘In those days in was preferential voting, and all the natives being illiterate, we had three photographs, which I pinned up for them to choose from.’ ‘Well they scratch their chins and had a little confab, and finally the village chief said we don’t know these people, we’ve never seen them before, we don’t know who to vote for, who do you think we should vote for ?.’ ‘So with interest now flagging amongst them and the novelty of the situation wearing off, and not wanting to return with empty ballot papers, I gave each candidate equal votes.’ ‘As part of the job, I had to sign each ballot slip on the back, well, our journey took us down some pretty turbulent rivers in a dug out canoe, and on more than one occasion these turned over, into the river we went and all the ballot boxes.’ ‘We couldn’t open them as they were locked, so we did our best to drain them, well I did hear later that the people back at base were utterly frustrated with having to peg each ballot paper to a clothes line, enquiring as to who is this Graham bloody Bamford written on the back.’ ‘After the teaching assignment finished around 68, I went into business with some partners, it was a general goods trading company way out in the southern highlands, infrastructure was very rudimentary at the time, and the way to get there was to walk in or fly in’. ‘While living in a tent we set up the first trade store selling tinned food items that the natives wanted, they didn’t wear clothes as such, but wore bush clothes that comprised of a wide bark belt, croton leaves stuck down the back, and a long woven cloth at the front.’ ‘We had assistants in the store who were trained and could translate, and I distinctly remember one old guy who came in wanting to buy a tin of fish, fish and rice being the staple diet.’ ‘Well, he gently rolled back his foreskin and produced the 2 dollars from under there, and presenting these dollars to me I stepped back and said ‘ah, you can deal with this Samson, I remember I have to do something out back.’ ‘Many of them were becoming interested in wearing western clothing so we stocked those items as well, we also sold fuel to the missionaries, and were agents for a local airline’. ‘ In those days PNG was still under Australian administration, and the Aussie dollar was the currency, most of the population were subsistence farmers, but those that worked for the administration or did odd jobs were part of extended families and money was past down’. ‘ So although the economy was strange, and this is true of today in some areas, that many of the locals were not immersed in the cash economy, but they did have money to spend, but it was a pretty primitive country, pretty primitive conditions’. ‘After being involved in this venture for three years I then went to work for a company in the western highlands, setting up a company training scheme for their employees, basically training them in commercial practice’. ‘ I was also in charge of the vegetable produce, and the big challenge was to grade and market it, as I said before there were very few roads, so we depended on two DC3 aircraft a week that came in and picked up the boxed veggies and flew them to various centres around PNG, and this worked out pretty well’. ‘ It was now the early 70s, and I moved on to work for the Electricity Commission, recruiting high school graduates from the fifty six schools that there were at the time in PNG for training in various careers, and scholarships’. ‘After a number of years, and a couple of other managerial positions in human resources, I and a friend decided to move to Madang, a beautiful resort spot on the north coast’. ‘It was here we bought an old hotel that was in a pretty shocking state, and resurrected it’. ‘In our naivety we didn’t really know what this would entail, but we managed to make quite a success of it, even though our only experience of hospitality was having been customers of hospitality’. ‘The hotel was situated within what had been an old coco plantation, right next to the beach with the smoking active volcano of Kar Kar Island in the middle distance’. ‘Customers would comment on how it was like something from South Pacific, a paradise, which it was, but my partner and I would mutter under our breath on how we felt like prisoners of paradise, as we needed to be there 24/7, and had very few breaks’. ‘We had to generate our own electricity, and water treatment, and had various pieces of cantankerous equipment around the property, a lot of work was involved’. ‘ Many interesting things happened there, we had a general store on site, and some thieves broke in one night, I rushed out clad in only a towel, forgot my glasses, it was pitch black, not realizing that the thieves were armed’. ‘So they heard me pursuing them, and ran of through some thick undergrowth towards the beach, I charged after them, god know what I thought I was going to do, and the next thing was I saw a blue flash from a shot gun and heard pellets whistling about my head’. ‘I dived into the grass, and thought what an ignominious way to die, having grown up as a kid through the Mau Mau in Kenya, I was now going to be shot clad only in a towel by a bunch of lousy thieves, however, now disturbed they took flight’. ‘Eventually, after five years of blood, sweat and tears, we sold the hotel, and moved to the Capital Port Moresby’. ‘I think the chalk dust got up my business partners nose again, who was a former teacher, and we set up what was initially a private tuition centre to what soon became in 1993, Port Moresby Grammar School’. ‘It’s still running today with fifteen hundred students, and I’m still on the board of directors, I do the odd foray to PNG every few months from Cambodia to make sure things are running on an even keel, which I’m pleased to say they very much are’. ‘By 2002, I’d needed a change from PNG,I spent some time back in Australia, and I suppose still seeking adventure decided to teach in south east Asia.’ ‘One often has romantic notions before setting foot somewhere, and I envisaged wending my way on a motorbike through countries with a blackboard and easel strapped to my back doing itinerate teaching, but of course It’s not quite as primitive as that.’ ‘I’d been to Cambodia before on a couple of short holidays, and I think the attraction of returning was that at the time it had been listed as one of the eighth poorest countries in the world, I find developed countries bore me quite quickly, I was very impressed with the people and the resilience they showed, bouncing back from the atrocities, and there was clearly a need for education.’ ‘I’ve only been here for about three years, in PNG we had this expression ‘oh, he hasn’t got his bags through customs yet’, so I guess that accusation could be leveled at me, but I feel very at home here.’ ‘Because I suppose it is third worldish, and has this exotic mix of an ancient civilization, that’s still apparent, still evident, can be glimpsed at different times, so here I am, and here I am for the foreseeable future.’ ‘At my age, health can determine how long I stay in Cambodia, but so far so good, and I have no plans to go anywhere else, day by day is the way I see it.’ 
Kevin Bolton   


Scroll down page below Activities/things to do, and view large detailed images of the following maps

:2016 Battambang City Map.
:Battambang Province area Tourism Map.
:Pailin Town and area Map.
:Cambodia border crossings Map.
:Battambang / Siem Reap boat trip Map.
 right click on a Map to :Save as image:   
   

* To Explore content click on a file in Archives below right,  
   plus Search this Site or Select a Featured Post opposite -
  or just continuously scroll down to view entire content. 


  Editorial Content - what you'll find on this site.
          
Where to Stay - Hotels and Guesthouse Info Battambang, Pailin and web links.

Battambang and Pailin City Street Maps - up to date 2016.

Battambang and Pailin Province Tourist site Map 2016.

Cambodia Travel Map with border crossings 2016

Map of Battambang to Siem Reap Boat Journey.

Bamboo Train – info on the famous local ride. Local interest article

Night-life ! - Late Night Bar and Food scene.

Activities - bamboo train, paintball club, art galleries, human circus, crocodiles. motorbike and bicycle rental, kayaking, things to do and see in Battambang.

Wat Banan – Temple Hill and the magic cave. Angkorian ruin. Local interest article

Well of Shadows – genocide monument. Local interest article

Photo Gallery – shots from the local area.

Getting to and from Battambang – Transport options.

Video Gallery - Battambang selection as seen on You Tube.

Where to Eat. Restaurants in Battambang  – Wine and Dine Options.

Khmer cooking class / school info and video's, Battambang

What’s in the Wat. Local interest article.

Battambang Google satellite Map Image.

Battambang Circus School. Local interest article.

City of the Lost Stick –  a History of Battambang

Kayaking. Local interest article.

Learn a little Khmer – Language.

Prasat Basseat – Angkorian ruin. Local interest article.

Ek Phnom – Downstream roads - Angkorian ruin. Local interest article.

Back of Beyond Phnom Sampov - upstream Roads. Local interest article.

Around Battambang by Ray Zepp ( full edition )
Comprehensive guide to the history of Battambang and in depth
background and descriptions of the local Angkorian ruins. 
Includes the meanings behind the paintings in the many Wat's.
Invaluable extensive travel-log of around Battambang.
Includes Pailin and further afield.
A nine chapter book first published in 2006.

Banteay Chhmar Less Travelled - Angkorian ruin. Local interest article.

Cambodia Road Map & Distance Calculator.

Battambang Architectural Walking Tour with map download.
A walking tour designed to do yourself.

Pailin Map - Cambodia's Gem, mountains and waterfalls.



Activities / Things to do - bamboo train, paintball club. art galleries. human circus. Microlight. kayaks. motorbike and bicycle rent. crocodiles. Battambang.


                                        
                        Battambang Things to do Video


Bamboo Train
                                                                                                 
                                Google Streetview Bamboo Train location link
see Bamboo Train article in Archives


The Battambang Big Top
 Phare Ponleu Selpak Circus  
see show times - http://phareps.org/events/
see circus article in blog archive





Battambang Art Revival
visit the galleries on street 2.5





visit an art gallery 
Make Meak on street 2.5 or Art Space (1.5)
or Romcheik-5 Art Space

Renting and buying Bicycles
The bicycle shop in front of the central market on street 3
see city map, rents bikes for $2 a day.
Ganesha guesthouse on Street 2 & 1.5 have bike to rent $2 a day.
Sunrise Cafe $1.50 a day. Today Tours, Street 1.5 $1 a day.
E-Bike Explorer on Street 2.5 has new electric bikes for rent at $8 per day, best to book in advance tel 081 881 371.
Buying a bike, the bike shops near the 
New Market see city map 100 metres alomg road to Phnom Penh, 
have a large selection of used road and mountain bikes for sale $30 and up,
bicycles can be transported in luggage compartment on buses for an Extra dollar.


Khmer Cooking Classes Battambang

Nary Kitchen 012 763950 

Coconut LyLy 016 399339 

 Ch’ngainh! Ch’ngainh! Mr Bath 012 639350

Smokin Pot  012 821400  no website


Lily River Tour
Lily River Tour is an afternoon boat tour in Battambang, 
exploring the Sangke River from 1:30pm to 5pm.
012 243 151 or 069 606 971


Crocodile Farm

                                         
                                                       

Motorbike Rental 


If your guesthouse does not arrange motorbike rental,
head to Today Tours (see below) or Ganesha GH or Here be Dragons GH.

Today Tours
Motorbike rental and repairs

Green Orange Kayaks 
 017 736166    
see kayak article and video in blog archive





Microlight Cambodia




Butterfly Cycling Tours, Battambang


Battambang Provincial Museum
open 8 --11am & 2 - 5pm


Angkor What?, visit some really old rocks
Prehistoric Laang Spean, Cave of Bridges
Since at least 69,000 B.C., humans had made this cave their home.

Laang Spean located in Phnom (hill) Teak Treang 
Laang Spean Cave
Phnom (hill) Teak Treang
Phnom (hill) Teak Treang

Banan Winery
Free wine and brandy tasting
( their products are far cheaper to purchase at grocery shops in Battambang
as are sold at inflated tourist price at the winery itself ) 

Battambang Paintball Club
tel 089236601, 081794301
Info at Ambrosia Cafe, Street 121.


Street Snacking
Opposite the Post Office is a vendor selling fried insects and young frogs
neatly skewered on BBQ sticks. Includes crickets and various aquatic bugs 2pm - 9pm.
From 3pm til 9pm on the North side of Phsar Nath Market are a number of vendors 
selling BBQ chicken, legs or whole / fish / pork slices and an array of Khmer dishes.
Steamed corn on the cob can be found late afternoon near the Sar Keng Bridge in the centre of town, and near the front of Phsar Naht Market. 1400 Riel each.

After Midnight Munchies
Opposite the White Rose Restaurant there is a popular late-night Restaurant known as the 
Pink Chairs, reflecting the plastic seats colour ( sign is in Khmer ).
Food and beers flow here til 2am. Before 1am fried rice and noodle dishes ( try Mee Ka'tang noodles with pork Set J'rook ) and fruit shakes can be ordered. After 1am choices narrow to tasty stewed pork leg or a bland local rice dish called Bor Bor.
On the West Riverbank south of the town centre opposite the Post Office is a string of late-night food stalls all with varying reputations. Some of these places stay open til 2am and serve a variety of local fried and steamed dishes, fruit shakes and beers.

Dipping and Diving
.All the resorts have pools with admission fee or free if dining.










Battambang & Pailin City Street Map / Town Map 2016. large printable file



   *Click link below to view Battambang on Google Street View. The start point is in front of the National Bank on Street 1, and the corner of Street 119 which leads to Streets 1.5 and 2.5 where many restaurants are located.
                                Battambang on Google Street View

Click on image to view or download high resolution copy.
   *Clink link below to view Pailin on 
Google Street view.
The start point is at the corner of Wat Rattanak Sophoan on the right and Wat Phnom Yat on the left with the large Buddha statue seen on the hill.
                            Pailin on Google Street View 

Distance Calculator


Bamboo Train. Battambang, Cambodia.


 All aboard – catch it while you can

Bamboo train closure imminent 2017 ? - http://www.bambootrain.com/recent-news

World Bank Advisor Sees "No Reason" Bamboo Train Should Stop

13th July 2016 The warnings about the imminent closure of the bamboo train from some months ago seems to have waned some lately.  We recently spoke with a representative of the World Bank, who says there is "no reason" that the bamboo train will have to stop even when the new railroad is built.  The new train should only be going through town three times per week, meaning the bamboo train can operate around it.  At least, the World Bank's support seems to be shifting towards keeping the bamboo train or moving it to a new location, but not stopping it.  The local government has yet to respond with more details of their plan, but such support is good news for the bamboo train. Updates to be added as they they arrive.


* View O'Dambong Train Station ( location of the Bamboo Train ) on Google Street View
Google street view link



    “Roll up roll up for the magical mystery tour - step right this way”. For many travellers the bamboo train is a must experience of the bizarre kind when visiting Battambang
            
 The bamboo train (or Norrie as it's known locally) made its first appearance in the early 1980s inspired by the small rail vehicles used by the railway workers to carryout repairs. At the time having just emerged from the years of Khmer Rouge lunacy, Cambodians were struggling to rebuild their lives and the country was reestablishing its existence. With roads in disrepair coupled with few means of transport such as buses and motorbikes the Norrie was an ingenious and practical solution. With its launch the population now had an important albeit rudimentary transport system able to haul products produce and people at minimum cost. Although flimsy looking the bamboo construction is very strong. Cattle and pigs would be taken to market tons of vegetables and rice would be delivered people could get to clinics and in emergencies it would run at nighttime. To begin with Norries were muscle-powered using poles in much the same way a gondola small petrol engines were introduced after a couple of years. In its heyday during the 80s locals say there were more than a thousand Norries operating along the 600 kilometres of track in the country. Nowadays little more than a hundred are functional in a few provinces commonly running shorter distances than their glory days.


                                           


 A few kilometers south of Battambang is O’Dambang village situated at the side of the worse for wear railway line. Two of us took a tuk-tuk from the centre of Battambang for $4 return once there we were greeted by the Tourist police. They explained very clearly the itinerary of our twelve kilometre passage to O’Sralau village and the non negotiable fare of $5 each. The Norrie is a crude assembly of a bamboo and wooden platform with wooden struts resting on the axles of salvaged railway rolling stock wheels the engine sits at the back with a fan belt attached to a flywheel on the axle. We got on board and sat on well worn cushions at the front the driver cranked up the engine and with a farewell shout of “take care!” from one of the tourist police we trundled on our way. 


                                       


The sense of speed is heightened by the low centre of gravity but in less than a minute we were moving down the line at a fair pace with a velocity over thirty kilometres an hour. The noise from the metal wheels rolling along the uneven rails is quite simply put earsplitting making it impossible to have a conversation along the way earplugs or otherwise improvised earplugs are strongly recommended an mp3 would be a good idea. After a while we came across an abandoned Norrie on the single line tracks on which we were traveling incidentally Cambodia’s entire rail network is single track. Anyhow to the side of tracks was a large pond and our clue was a pair of flip-flops floating at the edge suddenly a man popped up from beneath the water. He was a fisherman who had come down from the next village on his smaller sportier Norrie to check his nets he was returning in the same direction as us so there was no need for him to let us pass. The Norrie protocol is that the lighter laden Norrie gives way to the heavier. In this case which happened a couple of times on our trip the drivers easily lift the platform from the Norrie giving way remove the axles from the tracks and replace the other side. The gentle clickity click sound heard in motion on older railways is more of a sudden clank as the present railway is in a dilapidated state. Work is under way to renovate the nation’s railway with the southern line having been completed and now running freight . The northern line project which includes Battambang is expected to be ripped up and repaired in the latter half of 2016 with a passenger service connecting to Bangkok promised for 2017. Once replaced the new track will spell the demise of the Norrie. In the past the few trains that ran were traveling at speeds of 15 kilometres an hour therefore giving the Norries time to dismantle and get out of the way. After renovation is completed and with the train expected to be able to travel up to 80 kilometres an hour the Norries will be prevented from future use at any time of the day. After an hour of jolting travel we returned to O’Dambang feeling like a couple of cocktails a little shaken and stirred. Article by Kevin Bolton. 
Phnom Penh Post Bamboo Train article update link   
* About 1 km from O’Dambang towards Battambang is a silk weaving NGO project providing education and work opportunities, the name is KNK Cambodia. Here they have a showroom with their silk woven products and a silk farm to the rear of the grounds,visiting the on-site workshops is an interesting addition.
 Google Street View location link


                                       

Temple Hill and the Magic Cave. Wat Banan. Battambang. Cambodia.

Temple Hill and the Magic Cave

Reaching the top at Wat Banan

        Battambang is surrounded by lush countryside and numerous places of interest to visit, all within close proximity, and Wat Banan was the choice for a recent Sunday afternoon excursion. I use a bicycle to get around Battambang, which even for Cambodia’s second largest city, has a light traffic situation, and is as flat as a pancake, leaving the river bridges as the only humps to go over. But the trip to Wat Banan was a lot more than I wanted to tackle with peddle power, this meant either a motodop at $5 round trip / tuk tuk $10 round trip, or hiring a motorbike.
Today Tours is a bike rental shop located on street 1 ½ , yes…. street 1 ½, which logically runs parallel to streets 1 and 2, but other than that makes no sense at all. Then of course there’s street 2 ½ that runs between streets 2 and 3, this is certainly a city that can’t say it doesn’t do things by half’s. Anyway, Today Tours is at the Bridge end of the street, and has 125’s for $5, and 250’s for $12 – 092 999934, passport is required as deposit. Another rental option could be Gecko Moto, which is below the Gecko Cafe on the corner of street 3 in the centre of town, 125’s - $7 and $8.  
     
Wat Banan
Wat Banan is 22 kilometres from Battambang, making it an easy day trip. Leave Battambang on the southwest side of the river on route 155. Along the way there are opportunities to stop off at one or more of the Wat’s, or take a drink break at a village on route. A recommended pit stop would be Wat Chhoe Teal, named so after a tree, The tree has local economic importance, as the resin is used to repair leaking boats around the country. Despite being illegal to cut down, those in high places have turned a blind eye, and this has left many locals without the livelihood they relied upon. This Wat is located about half way, and set back a little on the river side of the road. Go through the maroon archway that leads to the river, here you’ll find a number of drink stands and seating next to a large tree, providing shade on the Sangkar riverbank.
Henri Mouhot, the French explorer who rediscovered Angkor Wat in the 1850s, traveled to Battambang along this river, here he describes the point where the Sangkar and the smaller tributary O Dambong split:  Having arrived at a place where the river divides in two, we enter a narrow stream that comes from the southwest, and which, twisting like a snake, flows with the tranquility of a torrent. This watercourse, on which Battambang is built, is at times only twelve metres wide; branches of trees plunge into our boat, and enormous monkeys hanging on the branches stop their games to watch us pass. From time to time a crocodile, rudely awakened by the splash of the oars or the singing of the rowers, throws him self from the bank where he was sleeping on the wet soil, and disappears under the water.


  The trip to Wat Banan takes a leisurely forty minutes, to the right you will see the lotus plant shaped spires of the Wat rising above the trees around the phnom ( hill ). The entrance is a few metres past the iron bridge on the left, this crosses the Sangkar to the east side, and could be an alternative route back to Battambang, either on the winding scenic river road or the main road set back a few hundred metres away. In the entrance courtyard area at the bottom of the phnom there are three or four restaurants, and a tourist ticket booth ( $2 ) before the steps ascend, grab some refreshments before you climb. The sharp incline of about three hundred stones to the top takes no prisoners, and is unforgiving. Most seemed to be taking a couple of rest breaks during the ordeal, and the locals were exclaiming the word ‘hot’ many times, meaning tired.  Wat Banan is made up of four temple towers, with a further one in the centre. The original temple dates back to 1050, and the reign of king Udayadityavarman I as a Hindu temple, later it was rebuilt using the same stones, as a Buddhist temple, around 1219, during the reign of king Jayarvarman VII. Banan is built from sandstone and laterite, laterite being the fashionable material used so much nowadays for bars and hotel receptions in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, it’s a light brown sediment rock with lots of small holes within it. The towers are impressive and basically intact, if not a little shaky looking, but many of the carvings are headless, having been plundered.
In the 1800s we know from Henri Mouhot that there were numerous Buddha statues inside the temples, and a huge guardian statue at the entrance. Now, due to looting there are only half a dozen in the centre spire, where devout Buddhists come to receive a blessing from the resident monk, who literally hangs out in a hammock during the day, listening to the radio while waiting for the next devotees, and why not. A replica of the guardian statue was positioned at the base of the phnom in 2000. It is not uncommon to find an adventurous family having hauled up their pots of curry and rice, and bags full of food and drinks, boasting a picnic and enjoying the views atop this national monument, as was the case for a couple of groups the day I was there, so don’t feel left out, take some sandwiches. At the bottom of the phnom is a colourful water lily covered baray, a few picnic gazebos line one side of this man made lake, which may have been where the laterite was excavated as large pieces can be seen exposed around the edge of the banks.

Former anti aircraft gun at Wat Banan
Little known, and therefore often unvisited, is the magic cave round the side of the phnom. The old name for the cave was Cave of Sacred Water, it is said that drinking the water that drips from a stalactite will bring knowledge of the past, present, and future. The present name means Walls of Gold, but alas, there is no gold, so what does this cave have apart from two dubious names. Well, there is a magical air within the cave, as a beam of light enters from a opening in the ceiling, and its cool surroundings make it a wonderful retreat from the heat of the day.
On the way back to Battambang on the west side of the river, there is a winery on the right, called Chan Thai Chhoeung, about nine kilometres from Wat Banan. They welcome visitors, and have wine tasting table near the entrance to the vineyard. The red wine is quite sweet, but a bottle would make a unique souvenir, although it would be more suitable for making a pitcher of sangria, especially with the abundance of local fresh fruit that’s available, cheers. Article by Kevin Bolton. September 2013