Battambang, Pursat and Kampong Chhnang


Trips north west of Phnom Penh

A great way to experience Cambodia is to travel via the north west on your way to Siem Reap. On the way you will see and can sample, many types of regional foods sold on the side of the road including 'BBQ' eggs, dried fish, preserved bamboo shoots and red ants (put in soups, omelettes or fried with beef). You will pass cashew plantations, hundreds of sugar palm trees dotted amongst the rice fields and see the unique duck farms of Cambodia.There is plenty to see and do on your way including:

After leaving Phnom Penh you will travel through Kandal. If you have not experienced a Kandal day trip with Cambodia Uncovered you may like to stop at Oudong, the former royal capital of Cambodia or stop in a 'silver village' where artisans create silver, nickel and copper handicrafts with techniques that date back to the royal times. It is fascinating to see the entire family involved in this practice and watching them painstakingly working is quite unique

Kampong Chhnang
This sleepy, rarely visited town named Kampong Chhnang means 'port of the pots'. It lies on the western banks of the Tonle Sap lake and for many years, this province has been home to the earthenware pots. When driving around Cambodia it is not uncommon to see 3 or 4 oxcarts in succession, covered with their pots as they travel around Cambodia selling their wares. We will spend some time in this town visiting villages where pots are made as well as visiting the port where there is much activity
During the Khmer Rouge, the Chinese are said to have funded a large airport complex 5 kilometres from the town. It is said that 400,000 persons worked on this airport with the majority of these dying whilst building it. It was not completed before the Vietnamese invasion. The reasons for the airport to be built are not exactly known but rumours circulate that it was a base from which China could attack Vietnam and an airport to export rice to China. The airport with large building and runway still largely intact remain today. It is now protected and staffed by Khmer military however it is possible to drive around the airport and see this monolithic white elephant which gives one a creepy feeling knowing that so many people lost their lives whilst building this pointless airport

One passes from Kampong Chhnang into Pursat province, which like Kampong Chhnang lies on the western side of the Tonle Sap Lake. Pursat has many floating villages and it is worth spending an hour or so, being rowed around a large village to see the way of life here (population 5000). You will see schools, petrol stations, shops, ice factories in fact everything you would see 'on land'
Pursat is also home to soap stone carvings where local artisans use century old methods to carve intricate statues and ornaments. You will see them carving along the sides of the road and it is worth stopping to see them in action. Pursat is an interesting part of Cambodia that is rarely seen by tourists but is worth a stopover on your way to Battambang
Only two or three star accommodation is available in Pursat but for those wanting to stop in Kandal, Kampong Chhnang and Pursat it might be best to spend one night here before heading on to Battambang

Battambang is a large yet quiet town in northwest Cambodia. There are many old colonial buildings as well as large old timber houses which are worth seeing for those interested in architecture. The Stung Sangke River runs through the town and trips can be taken along the riverside to various Angkorian temples outside of the town. The river runs to the lake and in the wet season and early dry season, the boat trip to Siem Reap is an educational and interesting trip for those with a day to enjoy a boat trip
Battambang is a town where one can spend at least 2 days. Sites include the Angkorian temples of Phnom Banan (hill top views and said to be a 'mini' Angkor Wat) and Wat Ek Phnom which is reached by a scenice drive along the river 15 kms west of Battambang
As with most provinces, there are many reminders of the Khmer Rouge days. A large lake, Komping Puoy, was constructed by hand using slave labour during the Pol Pot days. The lake is 19 km long and it is said that 10,000 people died during the construction period
Phnom Sampeuv is a hill with many caves said to be full of skeletons also from the Khmer Rouge days

There is also a 'bat cave' where one can see millions of bats leave the cave to seek food over night, a 'bamboo train' which is often a hit with tourists and a circus put on by a local cultural organisation Phare Ponleu Selpak. Children and young adults are trained in performance and art and the show is well worth seeing. One can kayak on the river, see rice paper being made at home or visit a place making incense
It is worth taking time to wander around the town, visit the art deco Phsar Nat market, see the former Governor's residence, old timber houses on the edge of town and enjoy the French colonial buildings on the river front

For those interested in birds, the Prek Toal bird sanctuary can be accessed from Battambang (or Siem Reap). The best time to see the birds is December to April or May. See here for more details

There are many hotels and guesthouses in Battambang with a wide range of comfort. We can help you decide what might be suitable for you and help you organise a booking

As with all Cambodia Uncovered tours, we will help you plan an interesting trip to suit your interests to Battambang and once you are there

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