Battambang is a beautiful city that many are finding is the most perfect vacation getaway. It does not matter if they are going on their own, with their spouse of significant other, or with their family, this is a truly amazing and beautiful city to visit. It has a large amount of attractions to see and provides visitors with a lot of great events and sites.
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Sadly, many have not heard of Battambang as a vacation spot, because they don’t consider Cambodia to be a great place to spend their vacation. This is far from the truth however. As the country’s second most populous city, it is an incredible blend of its historic past mixed with a modern day society. You will see precolonial architecture which dates back centuries as well as modern-day structures and architecture that will leave you awestruck. It is truly a spectacular land.
About Battambang and Its History
The city was first settled in the 11th century, however it did not become a recognized city by the government until 1907. The Khmer Rouge Empire founded the city of thousand years ago as a trading hub and cultural center for their empire. From 1795 to 1907 this was the provincial capital for the Siamese Empire, and has been controlled by a diverse population of ruling powers, including Vietnam, Laos, China, and Thailand. The French were the last power to own the rights of this city, ending in 1954.
With such a diverse group of people having control over this land, it is easy to see that the architecture and influence by other nations is vast. This was originally founded as an important trading city, and has blossomed to become a large metropolis. The population in 1795 was just 2500 people, and in a little over 200 years that number has increased to nearly 200,000.
Which is to hundred and 13 square miles of area the city sits in a prime spot for trade. There is a very elaborate roadway that was constructed by the French starting in 1917. This includes two large bridges that link both banks of the Sangkae River, and there is a very modernized railway system that exists in the city as well. This was once a rather remote city, but with its airport, rail facilities, and roadways it is rapidly grown into quite the metropolitan area.
The Climate of Battambang
One of the things that tourists love about visiting Battambang is that it has the same warm climate that would be found virtually anywhere in Cambodia. The temperatures range from 70°F to 90°F year-round with the coldest months being January and December. Although the word “coldest” is used here, the coolest temperature one is likely to encounter during these months is no more than a few degrees below 70°F. This makes it an absolutely spectacular place to visit year-round.
Because the city is further inland from the western shore of Cambodia, this means that many of the dramatic weather patterns that other portions of the country are forced to endure do not affect Battambang. Weather such as monsoons does not have influence upon the city, other than to bring some additional rain. This means to visitors and tourists can enjoy the beautiful weather year-round.
How to Get to Battambang
While there is an airport in the city, it is not the ideal way to arrive in Battambang. In fact, most either take a boat, ride a shuttle up National Highway 5, or use the railway to arrive in the city. The larger airports are not very far away from the city, making the travel over the road or by the river an easy one to endure.
Most tourists land in the capital city of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, then write a bus to Battambang. The ride is about 4 to 5 hours long, but cost just $4. For those landing in Seam Reap, is about a three-hour ride from the airport and costs about $5. Taking a boat can take anywhere from 4 to 10 hours, depending upon the season in the depths of the water. One can also ride the train from the capital city to Battambang.
What to Do in Battambang
Because this city has a long and storied history, there are a great number of sites and attractions that you will want to ensure that you add to your must-see list. Many of these date back for hundreds of years and are related to the religion the indigenous people practiced.
The Wat Banan temple is an Angkor style temple which is still used as a Buddhist shrine today. You will find that the impressive stairway leading to the top of the temple will not only leave you breathless as you look at it, but will surely wear you out if you attempt to climb it on your own.
The Wat Ek Phnom is another Angkor style temple, which has been partially destroyed by the elements over the centuries. This temple runs along the rivers and has a beautiful array of plant life surrounding it. The giant statue of Buddha that sits at the center of the temple is a truly amazing sight to see as are the decorative carvings that surround the structure.
Well past civilizations and religious practices adorn this city with incredible splendor, there are also remnants from a dark past in the history of Cambodia. Wat Samraong Knong was used as a prison by the Khmer Rouge government, and saw tens of thousands of people executed within the complex. This is also true of Phnom Sampeu, a location that is commonly been referred to as “The Killing Caves.” You can see thousands of heads that have been preserved from the dark days of this nation.
If you are looking for an incredible time for the whole family and there is clearly nothing better to see than the Battambang Circus. This is a very high-energy and exciting show with all kinds of circus acts that is a great deal of fun for the entire family.
In fact, there were many fun exercises and events that your family can do together. The bamboo train is a series of bamboo platform carts that the entire family can write on. There are great cooking classes where you can learn to make local cuisine, or you can rent a bicycle and enjoy your day navigating your way through the city.