"Battambang - Home to the Bamboo Train" Battambang by Willettsworld
Battambang Travel Guide: 230 reviews and 698 photos
The provincial town of Battambang was founded in the 11th century at the height of the Khmer empire and today is mainly a laid-back farmer and trader town that is far from being touristy unlike Siem Reap. It was invaded and taken over by the Thai's before it was handed back to Cambodia in 1909 after pressure from the French. The Thai's attempted to regain the territory as part of a deal they made with the Japanese during World War II but returned the area to the French in 1953 after the Japanese were defeated.
Battambang is Khmer for "disappearing stick", referring to a legend about a cowherd named Ta Dambong who found a magic stick and used it to usurp the then-king. The king's son ran off to the woods and became a monk. In the meantime, Ta Dambong had a dream that a holy man on a white horse would vanquish him, so he decided it would be a good idea to have all the holy men rounded up and put to death.
As for attractions, it only has a few such as a small museum, a few colourful temples with some Hindu inspired figures outside, some older Khmer temples found in the immediate district, a good local market, and an interesting form of transportation known as a "Norry" which is more commonly called a bamboo train - formed by two sets of railway wheels, a bamboo mat and powered by a small motor that runs up and down the railway line in lieu of a real train. For me, the main reason for coming to Battambang was to take the daily fast ferry to Siem Reap which was one of my highlights in Cambodia. Along the way, you pass by ramshackle stilt houses with young children waving at you from the river banks and boats on their way to school, Chinese cantilever fishing nets, floating villages and local people going about their daily lives on the river. It's a magical experience and one you should definitely do.
This, for me, was one of the highlights of my time in Cambodia and probably the main reason for coming to Battambang.... more travel advice
I just happened to walk past this place, which was just down the road from where I was staying at the Star Hotel, and... more travel advice
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