Road No. 3 near the central market
|• Type||City Municipality|
|• Total||293 km2 (113 sq mi)|
|Elevation||39 m (128 ft)|
|• Density||620/km2 (1,600/sq mi)|
|Time zone||Cambodia (UTC+7)|
|Website||City of Battambang|
Founded in the 11th century by the Khmer Empire, Battambang is well known for being the leading rice-producing province of the country. For nearly 100 years, it was a major commercial hub and provincial capital of Siamese province of Inner Cambodia (1795-1907), though it was always populated by Khmer with a mix of ethnic Vietnamese, Lao, Thai and Chinese. Still today Battambang is the main hub of the Northwest connecting the entire region with Phnom Penh and Thailand, and as such it’s a vital link to Cambodia.
The city is situated by the Sangkae River, a tranquil, small body of water that winds its way through Battambang Province providing its nice picturesque setting. As with much of Cambodia, the French Colonial architecture is an attractive bonus of the city. It is home to some of the best preserved French colonial architecture in the country.
Battambang was established as an important trading city with around 2,500 residents in the 18th century. The population was centered along a single road parallel to the Sangkae River (Stung Sangkae). In 1795 Siam (modern-day Thailand) annexed much of northwestern Cambodia including the provinces of Battambang and Siem Reap into the province of Inner Cambodia. The Siamese ruled Battambang as a provincial capital through the Thai-speaking Khmer Aphaiwong family, a branch of the Khmer royal family, which governed for six generations until 1907 when the province was ceded to the French to be reunited with Cambodia as part of the French Indochina colony.
Following colonization by the French, an urban layout was developed which resulted in an enlarged French colonial town. This first attempt at modernization resulted in well-defined streets laid in a grid pattern, building of urban structures and three main streets parallel to the Sangkae River, and linking of both banks by the construction of two bridges in 1917. Military and prison facilities were also erected as part of the project. Nineteen years later, a second urban development plan was implemented with a newly constructed railway linking Battambang to Phnom Penh. The urban structures were extended to the west of the town creating urban hubs oriented around the railway station. The large residential villas and public buildings built during this period of French development significantly changed the landscape of the previously remote city. A subsequent third urban development plan for Battambang involved the north, east and south of the city. This vast undertaking, which required long-term planning to integrate all of the previous work, resulted in a modern provincial capital that was by far the most developed region of Cambodia outside of Phnom Penh.
Much later, more infrastructure and public facilities were built under the modernization program of the Cambodian government led by Prince Sihanouk. Several provincial departments, a court house and other public buildings were added on both sides of the river. Textile and garment factories were built by French and Chinese investors, the Battambang Airport was constructed, and the railway line was extended to the Thai border at Poipet. To serve the cultural needs of the population, numerous schools and a university were built as well as a sports centre, museum and an exhibition hall.
Kamping Puoy Lake
Located between two mountains, named Phnom Kul or Phnom Ta Nget and Phnom Kamping Puoy, at Ta Nget village, Ta Kriem Commune is 35-kilometer (22 mi) from the provincial town. Kamping Puoy lake is 1,900-meter (6,230 ft) wide, 19-kilometer (12 mi) long and can load 110,000,000 cubic metres (3.8846×109 cu ft). It is famous for its giant lotus flowers whose fiber is spun and weaved to make a new organic fabric. These activities employ more than 20 underprivileged women around the lake.
Baset Temple Was built during the reign of King Suryavarman II (1002–1050) and located on a hill at Baset village, Ta Pun commune 15-kilometer (9 mi) from the provincial town. Baset temple adapts the architecture of 11th century and built in 1036 and 1042. Next to the temple, there is a pond 20-meter (66 ft) long 12-meter (39 ft) wide and 10-meter (33 ft) deep. The pond never dries up even in the dry season.
Adapts the architecture of 11th century and built in 1027 during the reign of King Suryavarman II (1002–1050). It is located at Piem Ek commune 14-kilometer (9 mi) from the provincial town.
Adapts the architecture of mid 11th century and the end of 12th century the temple was first built by King Dharanindravarman II (1050–1066) and was built finally built by the King Jayavarman VII (1181–1220). The temple is located on the top of approximately 400-meter (1,310 ft) high mountain at Koh Tey 2 commune, Banan District 15-kilometer (9 mi) from the provincial town by the provincial Road No 155 parallel to Sangker River. In the valley, there is Ku Teuk and two main natural wells, namely: Bit Meas and Chhung or Chhung Achey.
Characterized by three separated stupas made of brick, located on a hill 30-meter (98 ft) long and 20-meter (66 ft) wide, in Snung pagoda’s area, Snung commune, Banan District 22-kilometer (14 mi) from the provincial town. According to the style at the gate, the temple is similar to other temples in 12th century. Behind the temple, there is another new temple being built.
Is a natural resort located along the National Road No 57 (the former National Road No10) at Sam Puoy commune (the high land more than 100-meter (330 ft) high) and 12-kilometer (7 mi) from the provincial town of Battambang. On the top of Sam Puoy mountain, there is a temple and three natural wells, namely Pkar Slar, Lo Khuon and Ak Sopheak. Next to Sam Puoy mountain, there are some mountains, and natural sites like Phnom Trung Moan, Phnom Trung Tea and Phnom Neang Rum Say Sork. These mountains relate to the Cambodia folk legend of Reach Kol Neang Rum Say Sork.
Sek Sak Resort
Is a natural resort, which has been popular since before the civil war time. Sek Sak stretches along the river bank with plants, trees and bamboo stretching 500-meter (1,640 ft) length. Tourists can also visit other attractive sites like Po Pus Pich Chen Da Dong Tong and Sa Ang speak, the pre-history site five kilometer (3.1 mi) to six kilometer (3.75 mi) away. Sek Sak located Treng commune, Rotanak Mondul District 50-kilometer (31 mi) from the provincial town of Battambang along the National Road No 57, the former National Road No 10.
Nory (Bamboo Train)
Is overseen by the tourist police and runs from just outside of the city to a village that has a brick factory. See Norry for more information.
Battambang Circus (Phare Ponleu Selpak)
Gives performances every Monday and Thursday evening. The shows include a range of circus disciplines including acrobatics, juggling, aerial work, clowning, tightrope walking and aqua-balance. The shows are put on by students from the NGO arts school, Phare Ponleu Selpak. This organisation helps disadvantaged children and young people escape from situations connected with poverty such as begging or trafficking and to get an education, both in normal public school and in the arts.
The main gateway to the city is via buses from Bangkok in Thailand or Siem Reap.
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- All about Battambang and its surroundings (Touristic Guide Online)
- Battambang Travel guide - Wikivoyage
- Battambang - The Rice Bowl of Cambodia (Official Website of the Provincial Town Battambang on www.battambang-town.gov.kh) (Khmer) (English)
- Phnom Bannon Hill Temple