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Traveling

Exploring Battambang Sep 28 - Oct 2, 2014

Exploring Battambang

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.

vipassana

Laid Back
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.

Bicycle
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.

Ending Thoughts
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.

--- TheLoneRider

Next stop: Siem Reap, Cambodia

at Cheanit's studio with Tuyen, Cheanit, Sokun and Robit Robit and Cheanit's art, respectively Robit on guitar a sumptuous lunch prepared by Cheanit and his family (all Vipassana meditators)
getting together over food and friendship Cheanit singing a composition at the Studio Arts, Battambang face to face
face to face (2) their art shows the pain from a recent past refreshments at White Rose 3 is company on a single motorcycle
Robit and Cheanit...we went on 2 bikes Sokun ordered this raw shrimp to be dipped on sweet chili sauce...wonderful taste! Plus 2 beers, we only billed $4! with Sokun and Tuyen, chilling out on a lazy afternoon losing myself at the market
the China man pulling noodle. We would frequent this place - good food, cheap rates Noodle soup time! Tuyen thinks I eat too much and too euphoric about Cambodian food more street food eats rest stop with Tuyen after walking around on a hot day
exhausted from walking? coconut juice! $.50 only indulging in fresh sugar cane juice...$.25/glass in deep conversation with Tuyen over beer a day in the life of the baguette vendor
temples are everywhere in Battambang below a magnificent Khmer style entrance passage Tuyen, a back passenger on my bicycle monks in their idle time
more temples time to eat street food again! I'm eating again while Tuyen looks awfully bored street hopia!
an orange vendor in the heat of the sun bicycle is the best and cheapest way to explore Battambang with Tuyen over more noodle treats I got a flat tire. It wasn't easy looking for a guy who will patch a bike flat. I think he only charged me $.50
catching up on work monks are a part of the Battambang landscape an afternoon local game of kick ball one long paddle boat. This same river takes you to Siem Reap, 6 hours, $20
meeting new friends, Sylvia and Franzisca outdoor karate motorbikes are the chief mode of transport I love taking pictures of monks
Cambodians have a bike culture as means of commute Battambang comes alive at night a typical food cart bbq Khmer style
beer by the river      

FYI / Tips

  • 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

More Information about Battambang

Cambodia Blogs by TheLoneRider




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Sep 28 - Oct 2, 2014

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