A beautiful smiling day

Battambang Travel Blog

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Monks in the temple at Wat Ek Phnom

People i met here, who contributed to and improved my trip: Juliana (Russia)

We arrived into a rainy Battambang on the back of a hellish 10 hour bus ride. We had landed the tickets on the back seat of the bus and rather than sharing with 3 other people, we discovered the 5 seats would be split between 7. It soon became apparent that the little leg room going would be occupied by 3 small children in the aisles! The situation worsened as the journey progressed, with the mother to my front right, with the 3 mentioned kids all of whom were on the bus under 1 seat, starting to have problems with the smallest child. The first incidence was the little girl doing a number 2 over Mummy and the second was a number 1 all over Mummy and the seat.

Me at the ruins of Wat Ek Phnom
Next bodily lapse to occur was the child sat next to me on the back seat, as she began vomiting, which made me want to do the same! As if this wasn't all bad enough, i had another large child on my right (Julia), head on my arm, mouth wide open, occassionally snoring and drooling all over me! Oh how time flew by!

After a good nights sleep, we were once again ready to take on the World and hired a motorbike and driver to take us around the interesting sites, hidden away around Battambang. Our first stop was Wat Ek Phnom and the 13km ride north of the city was a real stunner. We passed along dirt roads and through palm canopied villages, as the local kids came out to wave and shout 'Hello'. It felt for the first time that we were really discovering what Cambodian life was all about.

Me at Phnom Sampeau
The site itself contained one new temple and large Buddha statue, with an 11th century temple at the rear. We were all alone with the exception of a few monks, woman sweeping and friendly ticket man. Although the site is only a small ruin in the grand scheme of the Khmer empire, it made for a nice stop.

Back on the bike, we headed southwest to Phnom Sampeau. The challenge here was to climb a pretty steep hill, in midday temperatures hovering in the high 30's. We were again the only tourists, but by no means the only people here. Infact the hill had hundreds of Cambodians climbing their religiously significant mountain, many of whom wafted themselves and smiled in acknowledgement, that it wasn't only the weterners suffering! At the summit, their were beautiful panoramic views to reward us, along with a small wat and golden stupa.

Julia with her favourite monster at Wat Banan
There were also a couple of caves where the Khmer Rouge had carried out their monstrous deeds. Back at the base of the hill, we checked out another modern temple, similar to the one at Wat Ek Phnom, although a little bigger.

Last stop for the day was Wat Banan, with the torment of another mountain to climb to receive the reward! This time there were 359 ancient Khmer stone steps, leading to the summit and temple. Once again the site was blissfully quiet and devoid of tourists as we took in the views and ancient stone work.

Back in Battambang we went to the cafe we had eaten in the previous night and ordered a huge Banana Split, what better way to cool down after a tiring day! We took a brief walk along the river and took in some of the old French colonial buildings before we retired to our room, exhausted but indulged.

Deats says:
Yep, those bus journeys would scare most people, but after traveling for some time you see it as part and parcel of everyday life!
Posted on: Nov 22, 2008
josephinedraper says:
your description of the bus journey made me laugh, we had so many journeys like that in Vietnam and indonesia, we even had people on the roof of a bus in java :-) all good fun and part of travelling!
Posted on: Nov 19, 2008
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Monks in the temple at Wat Ek Phnom
Monks in the temple at Wat Ek Phnom
Me at the ruins of Wat Ek Phnom
Me at the ruins of Wat Ek Phnom
Me at Phnom Sampeau
Me at Phnom Sampeau
Julia with her favourite monster a…
Julia with her favourite monster …
Temple at Wat Ek Phnom
Temple at Wat Ek Phnom
Giant Buddha at Wat Ek Phnom
Giant Buddha at Wat Ek Phnom
Paintings at the temple of Wat Ek …
Paintings at the temple of Wat Ek…
Julia with her new fella at at Wat…
Julia with her new fella at at Wa…
Ruins at Wat Ek Phnom
Ruins at Wat Ek Phnom
Ruins and temple at Wat Ek Phnom
Ruins and temple at Wat Ek Phnom
Ruins at Wat Ek Phnom
Ruins at Wat Ek Phnom
Giant Buddha at Wat Ek Phnom
Giant Buddha at Wat Ek Phnom
Golden Buddhas at Phnom Sampeau
Golden Buddhas at Phnom Sampeau
View from the mountain at Phnom Sa…
View from the mountain at Phnom S…
Golden Stupa at Phnom Sampeau
Golden Stupa at Phnom Sampeau
Looks like the green goblin has tu…
Looks like the green goblin has t…
Golden Stupa at Phnom Sampeau
Golden Stupa at Phnom Sampeau
Julia at Phnom Sampeau
Julia at Phnom Sampeau
Inside the Temple at Phnom Sampeau
Inside the Temple at Phnom Sampeau
Temple at Phnom Sampeau
Temple at Phnom Sampeau
The steps leading to Wat Banan
The steps leading to Wat Banan
A view from Wat Banan
A view from Wat Banan
Wat Banan
Wat Banan
Streets of Battambang
Streets of Battambang
Battambang
photo by: Mezmerized