Battambang is a province in the ‘heart of the Cambodian rice bowl’. This quaint quiet town in the northwest of the country, is surrounded by rice fields and tiny villages, and a mere 40 km west of the famous Tonle Sap Lake.
Visit Wat Banan Temple, about 25km south of Battambang town…rather like a smaller replica of the more illustrious Angkor Wat. This Angkor era ancient temple sits atop a 400m high hill (near the ‘killing caves’) close to the Sangker river, depicting architecture of the mid-11th and end-12th centuries. Prepare to climb over 350 steep steps to the hill top for stunning 360 degree panoramic views. Wat Banan with its 5 towers, was once thought to be a prototype for Angkor Wat, although now dismissed by most scholars who date the structure later than Angkor. Nearby, see Wat Ek Phnom as well. Enjoy lunch at local restaurant before visiting Wat Phnom Sampov…see local life along the Sangker River. Late afternoon, enjoy a sunset view with a private ‘Nori’ (formed by 2 sets of rail wheels, a bamboo mat and a generator) ride…also known as ‘bamboo train’. Drive back to your hotel before dinner time.
Pastoral Pleasures in Battambang
Discover an idyllic landscape and the simple life in rural Battambang. In the morning, drive to Phnom Banan in your private vehicle to reach the 12th century Prasat Banan Temple. The temple is just a short walk away from Phnom Banan and offers picturesque views of the landscape. Battambang is the only Cambodian region to house vineyards, and on your way back from the temple, you can sample fine local wines. Continue on to the village of Wat Kor where you will gain insight into the daily life of traditional Khmer people. You can also visit an authentic Khmer house that dates back to the 1900s, before breaking for lunch. In the afternoon, visit La Maison de Coco, a non-governmental organization that works with weavers. A representative will tell you how the NGO trains its students and teaches them weaving skills. Discover how traditional rice paper is made in the province as you walk past village homes. End your tour with a short ride on the unique bamboo train, before returning to your hotel. (Full Day, Private Activity & Transfer, Time of Day: Morning, Travel time to Activity: 1 hr, Fitness Level: Moderate as there will be some walking involved. Please bring comfortable walking shoes and your sunscreen.)
Adventure on the Bamboo Train
Experience a unique journey past the green pastures of Battambang! Known as ‘norry’ to the Khmer people, this railway was built to transport goods across ten kilometers of rural Cambodia. A small wooden bamboo frame powered by a gasoline engine, takes you on an hour-long journey over old rails and bridges. Just climb aboard and have the engine cranked up, and you are on your way! Once an integral way to transport rice and other essentials, the train has been reinvented today as a popular tourist attraction. As you pass through sleepy villages, chat with locals on board and gain insights into rural Khmer life. (Half Day, Private Activity & Transfer, Travel time to Activity: 30 mins, Duration: 1 hr, Fitness level: Moderate as it can be a bumpy ride. As you will be passing through rural areas, please dress appropriately to show your respect for local customs. Don’t forget your hat and sunscreen!)