Battambang

Battambang Travel Blog

 › entry 5 of 20 › view all entries
Golden statues at the top of the mountain
We are currently staying at the Royal Hotel in Battambang - a 4 hour journey from Siem Reap by bus. Getting the bus was a bit of a trial as our hostel told us the bus to Battambang would pick us up outside the hostel. However, it is does not! This meant we missed our bus and had to pay a tuk tuk driver to take us to the bus station - luckily they let us on the 8:30am bus and I managed to negoiate a seat at the front. The road wasn't that bad, I again managed to fall asleep through the worst of the bumps but some poor lady opposite me spent most of the journey being sick, very quietly, into a plastic bag. Kat gave her one of my travel tablets so I hope that made her feel a bit better. Getting the bus on a long journey in Cambodia is quite random. First they play khmer karioke, and secondly they seem to pick people up from the most random of places - there don't seem to be many bus stops. At random points the teenager who I think was the bus conductor would get off, shout 'Battambong!' and then a couple of people would get on. It took us ages to get going as we made so many stops!

Once in Battambang we got a tuk tuk to the Royal Hotel. It's an okay place today - there is a restaurant/bar at the top, internet, laundry etc. We have quite a big room but no storage space, and our bathroom smells a bit interesting... a mixture of sweaty eggs and raw onions. Delicious! Though it does get cleaned every day and once you get used to it it's hardly noticeable. Battambang is completely different to Siem Reap - there isn't as much to do here as in Siem Reap - but that isn't really suprising as it's not near any main tourist attractions. It is quite chilled out, you don't get hassled here as much as you do in Thailand.

One of the most exciting things we have done so far is hire moto drivers. Almost everyone, men, women and school children, drives a scooter here. There are only really cars on the longer journeys. We were so scared at first, but we met two guys called Chea (I think!) and Rich we took us out. For 14 dollars they drove (very slowly and carefully) us to see the main industries in Cambodia (Bamboo sticky rice, Rice paper, fishing and noodles) and explained how each of the products is made. Chea even bought of some Bamboo Sticky rice, but it's so filling he had to eat most of it. Chea also solved the mystery of why a lot of Cambodian houses are built on stilts. In hindu mythology the higher something is, the closer it is to heaven - so they try and replicate this in their houses. It is also useful for sleeping under in hot weather. We also went to a crocodile farm and Chea kept teasing the crocodiles - we yelped like little girls! Chea has six brothers, and he also gets casual work by helping out in the rice harvest - most people in Cambodia work 4-5 jobs in order to get money.  They showed us around a mounument to monastry which was turned into torture chambers by the Khmer Rouge. The people here were subjected to some truly horrific treatment during the 70s and beyond. At the one site we visited people had their organs ripped out and eaten while they were still alive. You only really appreciate how awful it was when you get here. 20% of the population died while the Khmer Rouge was in power - and it had more far reaching complications - people who grew up in that time are illiterate and cannot find work now because there was no schooling during the Khmer Rouge, as one example.

After lunch they took us on a very long, dusty and bumpy journey to a mountain where we saw the killing cave where the Khmer Rouge bludgened people to death and chucked the bodies into a cave. There is a memorial there with a golden reclining buddha. Unfortunately this moutain is a bit of a tourist trap. You have to hire a guide as everything is written in Khmer, which is fair enough, but you're guide will take you to specific points on the mountain where it is expected you make a donation. This is fine, but we're not sure where the money is going - and at the top of the mountain we were acousted by an incredibly talkative monk who again wanted more money. It's not like we mind paying, but when you're the only ones up a mountain, with a guide who does not speak english and a monk who won't leave you alone it can be a bit intimidating! We escaped by providing email addresses. By the time we got back we were absolutely covered in orange dust - Cambodian snow - which takes quite a while to get off.  I really enjoyed riding the moto, Chea laughs (literally) in the face of bumpy roads, oncoming traffic, pedestrians...and he also laughs at my somewhat anxious expression - but it's the best way to travel. They are not many tuk tuk drivers here, and a lot of them do not speak or read any english. You are better off getting a trusted moto driver from your hotel.

xxx
Harrietknowles says:
I was dead scared at first Helen, but believe it or not it's safer than walking around! xxx
Posted on: Mar 08, 2009
helen_berry says:
Sounds very exciting, i think I would be slightly worried riding aroudn on the back of a strange man's scooter though!
Posted on: Mar 05, 2009
maddymcg says:
Wow I can see your Amnesty International roots coming out in this post! Glad your travel sickness doesn't sound too bad! Hope you are having a great time! Im so jealous - can i come visit in easter? hehexxx
Posted on: Mar 05, 2009
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
We are currently staying at the Royal Hotel in Battambang - a 4 hour journey from Siem Reap by bus. Getting the bus was a bit of a trial as our hostel told us the bus to Battambang would pick us up outside the hostel. However, it is does not! This meant we missed our bus and had to pay a tuk tuk driver to take us to the bus station - luckily they let us on the 8:30am bus and I managed to negoiate a seat at the front. The road wasn't that bad, I again managed to fall asleep through the worst of the bumps but some poor lady opposite me spent most of the journey being sick, very quietly, into a plastic bag. Kat gave her one of my travel tablets so I hope that made her feel a bit better. Getting the bus on a long journey in Cambodia is quite random. First they play khmer karioke, and secondly they seem to pick people up from the most random of places - there don't seem to be many bus stops. At random points the teenager who I think was the bus conductor would get off, shout 'Battambong!' and then a couple of people would get on. It took us ages to get going as we made so many stops!

Once in Battambang we got a tuk tuk to the Royal Hotel. It's an okay place today - there is a restaurant/bar at the top, internet, laundry etc. We have quite a big room but no storage space, and our bathroom smells a bit interesting... a mixture of sweaty eggs and raw onions. Delicious! Though it does get cleaned every day and once you get used to it it's hardly noticeable. Battambang is completely different to Siem Reap - there isn't as much to do here as in Siem Reap - but that isn't really suprising as it's not near any main tourist attractions. It is quite chilled out, you don't get hassled here as much as you do in Thailand.

One of the most exciting things we have done so far is hire moto drivers. Almost everyone, men, women and school children, drives a scooter here. There are only really cars on the longer journeys. We were so scared at first, but we met two guys called Chea (I think!) and Rich we took us out. For 14 dollars they drove (very slowly and carefully) us to see the main industries in Cambodia (Bamboo sticky rice, Rice paper, fishing and noodles) and explained how each of the products is made. Chea even bought of some Bamboo Sticky rice, but it's so filling he had to eat most of it. Chea also solved the mystery of why a lot of Cambodian houses are built on stilts. In hindu mythology the higher something is, the closer it is to heaven - so they try and replicate this in their houses. It is also useful for sleeping under in hot weather. We also went to a crocodile farm and Chea kept teasing the crocodiles - we yelped like little girls! Chea has six brothers, and he also gets casual work by helping out in the rice harvest - most people in Cambodia work 4-5 jobs in order to get money.  They showed us around a mounument to monastry which was turned into torture chambers by the Khmer Rouge. The people here were subjected to some truly horrific treatment during the 70s and beyond. At the one site we visited people had their organs ripped out and eaten while they were still alive. You only really appreciate how awful it was when you get here. 20% of the population died while the Khmer Rouge was in power - and it had more far reaching complications - people who grew up in that time are illiterate and cannot find work now because there was no schooling during the Khmer Rouge, as one example.

After lunch they took us on a very long, dusty and bumpy journey to a mountain where we saw the killing cave where the Khmer Rouge bludgened people to death and chucked the bodies into a cave. There is a memorial there with a golden reclining buddha. Unfortunately this moutain is a bit of a tourist trap. You have to hire a guide as everything is written in Khmer, which is fair enough, but you're guide will take you to specific points on the mountain where it is expected you make a donation. This is fine, but we're not sure where the money is going - and at the top of the moutain we were acousted by an incredibly talkative monk who again wanted more money. It's not like we mind paying, but when you're the only ones up a mountain, with a guide who does not speak english and a monk who won't leave you alone it can be a bit intimidating! We escaped by providing email addresses. By the time we got back we were absolutely covered in orange dust - Cambodian snow - which takes quite a while to get off.  I really enjoyed riding the moto, Chea laughs (literally) in the face of bumpy roads, oncoming traffic, pedestrians...and he also laughs at my somewhat anxious expression - but it's the best way to travel. They are not many tuk tuk drivers here, and a lot of them do not speak or read any english. You are better off getting a trusted moto driver from your hotel.

xxx
Golden statues at the top of the m…
Golden statues at the top of the …
Battambang
photo by: Mezmerized