Sep 28 - Oct 2, 2014
GPS waypoint: 13°05'56.7"N 103°11'53.9"E
Location: Battambang City, Province of Battambang, Cambodia
Tuyen and I
Tuyen, the Vietnamese Vipassana server, and I, became travel buddies in Battambang after the course. She signed up for the next course and had to while away the time. I didn't want to leave Battambang yet until it felt time to leave. During the first day, we were joined by Sokun, Robit and Cheanit, all Vipassana meditators too.
Battambang is laid back with a fair amount of tourists exploring the countryside for the temple offerings. I wasn't so much into temples already after seeing Phnom Sampeuv. Within the heart of the city itself are countless temples, some as big as a full city block. Monks can be seem all over, some walking, some riding at the back of motorcycles. The numerous temples, the visible monks...all tell me that Cambodians are steeply immersed in their devotion. But devotion as an art of life - you can see that through their calm demeanor, their gentle ways and the fact that they don't overcharge you even if you have the word 'tourist' tattooed on your forehead (well, generally).
Good and Cheap
As a backpacker traveling on a ratstring, I like good cheap eats. Battambang is one of them. I love their food. The highlight of the day is always what new food I can try. Nothing high-end. Just honest to goodness street food made by people who have been doing it for years on years. That's what I call honed to perfection. Tuyen tells me that with my penchant for street food, I would also enjoy Vietnamese food, although it may come slightly more expensive than Khmer food.
The best and cheapest way to explore Battambang is by renting a bicycle - $1/24 hours! They even provide you a free lock. But they may ask you to leave your passport with them until you return the bike. It's safe - I got my passport back with no fuss. You simply cover more ground on a bike - more time for exploration of food and places.
Battambang doesn't have the big attractions to draw tourist crowds unlike the ruins of Seap Reap. But it does have its own charm. It gently grows on you. Generally, I feel for the Cambodians. They never got it easy throughout their turbulent history. They were ruled by the French for over a century, had more bombs dropped on them than Japan during the WWII, the genocide by Pol Pot, etc. But they remain resilient and strong in their resolve...in a gentle and calm demeanor that is uniquely Cambodian.
- Cambodia accepts payment in US$ - even sidewalk vendors. If your change is less than $1, it will be given in riel.
- good food and cheap vegetarian restaurant - Te Kuch La.a near the old bus station, Sorya Bus Station
Sep 28 - Oct 2, 2014
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