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NEW Bamboo Train . Battambang, Cambodia.

NEW Bamboo Train  to open by mid Jan 2018 new route being prepared   A reinvention of the famous bamboo rattler is presently n...


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

:2017 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,  
   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 2017.

Battambang and Pailin Province Tourist site Map 2017.

Cambodia Travel Map with border crossings 2017.

Map of Battambang to Siem Reap Boat Journey.

Bamboo Train Kaput – 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

             NEW Bamboo Train to open by mid Jan 2018

   A reinvention of the famous bamboo rattler is presently nearing completion very near to Wat Banan. The old track was closed in October 2017 to make way for the renovation of the state railway. Rails and sleepers from the original route are being used to lay a purpose built 3km track, running through some stunning scenic countryside alongside the Banan hills. 
The new track is set to open by mid Jan 2018 and tickets will be $5.
The new track is part of a larger tourism development project by a Khmer businessman.
*Shorter rides are being taken on the uncompleted track by tourists already at a reduced ticket fee.

new ro0ute being prepared 


                                       

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

Garage Bakery street 2.5 
best sandwiches, soft breads, tough spanners


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 2017. 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 

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NEW Bamboo Train . Battambang, Cambodia.


NEW Bamboo Train to open by mid Jan 2018

new route being prepared

 A reinvention of the famous bamboo rattler is presently nearing completion 500 metres from Wat Banan. The old track was closed in October 2017 to make way for the renovation of the state railway.
 Rails and sleepers from the original route are being used to lay a purpose built 3km track, running through some stunning scenic countryside alongside the Banan hills. 
The new track is set to open by mid Jan 2018 and tickets will be $5.
The new track is part of a larger tourism development project by a Khmer businessman.
*Shorter rides are being taken on the uncompleted track by tourists already at a reduced ticket fee.
  

new route being prepared

   
THE OLD BAMBOO TRAIN    “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. 
  

                                       

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

Wat Ek Phnom - Discovering the downstream Roads. Battambang. Cambodia.



Ek Phnom

            Discovering the downstream roads

 On this trip we headed down river out of Battambang on the north west bank of the Sangke. I was making my way to Ek Phnom, an eleventh century Angkorian ruin, but I knew there was much more to see along the way. First place of interest is the long abandoned Pepsi-Cola bottling plant. Allegedly Coca Cola had an officially authorized monopoly in the 60s to produce soft drinks in Thailand, so Pepsi constructed their factory here, and exported the rival product to the thirsty Thais, as well as other neighboring countries. All went well until the KR gain control in 1975, the factory closed of course, and the Khmer Rouge used it now again to make ice. The deserted building still contain machinery and thousands of bottles stacked in crates, you can freely walk into the compound where one building is used to bottle water. As expected it’s an eerie experience, and the main building still sports the Pepsi logo. As we continued we saw white disk shapes drying on bamboo racks at the side of the road. These are made from pummel rice, and used to make the fresh or fried spring rolls that are on many of the local menus. A few kilometres on is the crocodile farm, turn left at the ILDO sign. Admission is $1, and a slightly worrying encounter, worrying because the entire visit is unsupervised. We were pointed in the general direction of the entrance, up some steps, and along an elevated concrete gangway with a railing on only one side. On the railed side, lots of crocs with a couple of pools, on the other side, bunkers with straw where the crocs sleep. This was during the morning, and a few of the 170  crocs were still in the open roofed bunkers, if you loose your balance and fall in, I guess you’re a welcome feed. I’ve been told that crocs rarely attack people on land, only in the water where they feel more in control, wouldn’t want to test that. I had alligator years ago in New Orleans, and thought I’d buy a kilo to BBQ. Surprisingly the owner told us he doesn’t sell the meat, customers come to his farm and take off with a live taped up croc in the boot of their car, or on the back seat, if it’s too large then he delivers. Crocs are weighed and sold at $5 a kilo, the only meat worth eating is on the tail, the hide being dried and used to make goods.

                                                                       


After half an hour, we arrive at Prasat Ek Phnom ($2 entry).
The eleventh century Temple is one of the major tourist attractions of the province. It doesn’t compare with Angkor Wat in terms of grandeur or carvings, but it offers a peaceful atmosphere in the countryside, surrounded by trees and lily ponds. Strolling around the quiet peace of the Cambodian outback can be a very relaxing experience. Especially in the early morning, or late afternoon, when the sunlight filters through from the sides. Eak Phnom is a favourite picnic spot for residents of Battambang. This tradition has been in place for many years. A French mission stated in 1881 that the entire population of Battambang went out to Ek Phnom for the Khmer New Year celebrations. At the base of the temple you may find a fortune teller, for 1000 riel you put a deck of cards against your forehead, and while you concentrate on your future, you cut the cards with a small wooden twig. Your fortune is then read from that card, often related to some of the Buddha stories. An inscription on the eastern entrance states that the temple was built in 1027, in the reign of Suryavarmen (1002-1050). This dates it before the construction of Angkor Wat, making it a Hindu or Brahminist temple rather than a Buddhist one. Visiting the ruins costs two dollars. On the east side of the central sanctuary is an excellent rendition of the famous Churning of the Sea of Milk. Above that caving is a scene from the Ramayana, a weeping Sita is guarded by two female demons, the monkey god Hanuman holds out Rama’s ring as a token of his devotion. Bring binoculars if you have them, as some of the carvings are high up. Also you may be lucky, and spot the jacana, or lily trotter, a bird that has large webbed feet that allow it to walk on top of lotus leaves. In front of the ruins is the modern day Wat Ek Phnom, completed in 2003. It is a multi coloured structure that is in stark contrast to the ruined Prasat in the background. The present day pagoda has one of the most complete collections of Buddhist wall and ceiling paintings in the country. There are scenes all over the exterior, and a triple row of paintings on the interior, many of which are not seen in other pagodas. Just before entering the Ek Phnom grounds, there’s a large sign on the right which says, Welcome to Kouk Doung Community Based Eco Tourism. This resort has been open for seven months, and is run by a local women’s development NGO. It’s located about five kilometres beyond Ek Phnom, stay on the road once inside the grounds. The locals are happy to give directions, which is necessary, as there are a few twists and turns along the way, and only the one sign. Once there it’s chill out time. There is a large lake, a number of thatched gazeboes, and nothing but countryside 360 degrees. Fishing in the lake is free, but any catch must be returned, and there are some peddle boats which are rented for 5000 riel an hour. The restaurant serves such items as snails, frog, duck, chicken and fish for about a $1.50 a dish, well worth a visit. We now traveled back along the main road towards Battambang, turning left over a stream after about six kilometres. This took us to K’dul village, this where the famous Psah Prahoc (fish paste market) is to be found. You almost get a whiff of the market activities before you arrive.





This fish paste is a high protein favourite of almost all Khmers, it has a very pungent odour that puts most westerners off the idea of tasting it. Although an acquired flavour for the western palette, it’s much the same as a block of Stilton having the Khmers turning their noses up. Prahoc is produced from vats of fermenting fish, and used in all manner of ways in Khmer cooking. As well as the Prahoc, some of which is exported to neighbouring countries, there is dried and smoked fish for sale. About five hundred metres, to the right of the market on the riverbank, is an interesting family run boat building business. The hardwood fishing boats are about six metres in length. From the market we crossed the iron bridge over the Sangke River to the west side, and headed back to Battambang. The road is lined with trees on both sides, making the journey pleasant in the shade. After a few kilometres we arrived at Wat Somrong Knong. There is a genocide monument here, skulls and bones in a large glass case, much like the many others around the country. What makes this one different however, are the detailed and often explicit bas- relief's around the two tiers of the monument, depicting the fall of Battambang to the KR in 1975. The use of the Wat as a prison, and the atrocities committed by the KR. Our final stop was at a roadside sticky rice vendor (bamboo rice). The rice is pounded and heat, mixed with black beans and coconut, and then left to cool and set inside short cuts of bamboo pole. The result is an inexpensive tasty traditional Cambodian dessert. Article by Kevin Bolton. October 2013.


Crocodile Farm
rice discs drying