Battambang Overviews

Battambang is Cambodia’s second-largest city and the capital of Battambang Province, which was founded in the 11th century. It is the former capital of Monton Khmer and lies in the heart of the Northwest of Cambodia. Until the war years, in which almost every infrastructure was destructed it was the leading rice-producing province of the country.

The name Battambang, literally means “loss of stick” referring to a legend of the Preah Bat Dambang Kranhoung (Kranhoung Stick King). The population is nowadays around 250,000 people . It’s a riverside town, home to some of the best-preserved, French colonial architecture in the country.

The small museum has a collection of Angkorian-era artifacts, and beyond the town there’s a number of hilltop temples, yet more Wats and a pretty large lake. One of the more famous hills is Phnom Sampeau (Ship Hill) with the notorious killing caves.

Battambang did not give way to the Khmer Rouge movement after the fall of Phnom Penh, but it’s been in the centre of the ongoing government Khmer Rouge conflict ever since the Vietnamese invasion in 1979 pushed the genocidal regime out of Phnom Penh and to the Northwest. Until the surrender deal of Ieng Sary (Khmer Rouge number three man based in Pailin),Battambang was the Khmer Rouge stronghold in the region.

Battambang city is a peaceful and pleasant place these days. The main parts of the city are situated closed to the Sangker River, a tranquil, small body of water that winds its way through Battambang Province. It is a nice, picturesque setting. As with much of Cambodia, the French architecture is an attractive bonus of the city.

PHNOM BANAN

Adapts the architecture of mid 11th century and the end of 12th century the temple was first built by king, Ut Tak Yea Tit Tya Varman II (1050-1066) and then was finally built by the king, Jarvarman VII (1181-1219). The temple is located on the top of approximate 400-meter heighten mountain at Kon Tey 2 commune, Ba Nan District in 25-kilometer distance from the provincial town by the provincial Road No 155 parallel to Sang Ke River. At the mountain’s valley, there are Ku Teuk and two main natural wells, namely: Bit Meas and Chhung or Chhung Achey.
This Angkor-era mountaintop temple is definitely worth a look. At the top are beautiful views of the winding Sangker River set amidst sugar palm trees, rice fields and small villages. To the south you will see a mountain range that features a crocodile shaped mountain. The temple itself is beautiful looking from the ground as well as the top. The structures are pretty much intact, but unfortunately like so many Khmer ruins, they have fallen victim to massive looting. Still, there are some interesting works to see. There are five temple structures, like Angkor, with the middle being the largest. (Use caution around the entrance to the center structure-there is a large hanging block-a headache-in-waiting for some poor soul).

SAMPEOU MOUNTAIN

Phnom Sampeou is a natural site located along National Road 57 in Sampeou Commune, Battambang district, about 12Kilometers of Battambang city. Atop a 100-meter-high mountain stands a pagoda and threee natural caves: Pkasla, Lakhaon and Aksopheak. Pkasla cave is full of uprooted stones and is considered important because it is where Phnom Sampeou residents come to celebrate after a marriage. Next to Phnom Sampeou are several important mountain clusters, including Phnom Kdaong, Phnom Krapeu(The Crocodile Mountain), Phnom Trung Moan, Phnom Trung Teat and Phnom Neang Romsay Sok. All are related to the Khmer Folktale titled Reachkol Neang Romsay Sok.
Phnom Sampeou means ‘Ship mountain’ because its peculiar shape reminds of a ship. This legendary 100 metres high mountain, topped by Wat Sampeou, contains 3 natural caves, lined with Buddhist shrines and statues: Pkasla, Lakhaon and Aksopheak. Pkasla cave is full of uprooted stones and is considered important because Sampeou inhabitants go there to celebrate after a marriage. Some caves were used by the Khmer Rouges as killing caves. Skeletons of their victims still remain in the caves. The wat is approached by a flight of 700 stairs. It is not exceptional but the view is spectacular. Next to Phnom Sampeou are several important mountain clusters.

EK PHNOM TEMPLE

Wat Ek Phnom is an angkorian temple located on the left bank of the Sangkae River near the Peam Aek spot approximately 13 km north of the city of Battambang in north western Cambodia. It is a Hindu temple built in the 11th century under the rule of king Suryavarman I. Although partly collapsed and looted it is famous for its well-carved lintelsand pediments.

Ek Phnom is also easy to get to-just head north on the River Road (Road 1) a bit over 10 km (the road north of the Cobra Bridge snakes around a bit, but goes back to the river). As you are getting close to the temple, you will pass over a small concrete bridge. The road beyond will veer off to the right, but the modern temple is there to the left. Enter the new temple grounds and the ruins are located to the rear

Wat Samrong Knong

Four-sided structure made of cement, with a light salmon-colored painted exterior wall, two front windows displaying the bone remains encased inside, small wooden access door on back wall, traditional style roof with gold and blue detailing, surrounding cement bas relief narrates in English the timeline of the Khmer Rouge arrival and presence in Battambang from 1975 to 1979, inscription on the front wall in English and Khmer indicates memorial was funded by Cambodians communities living in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and France, inscription on the back wall in English and Khmer give brief history of the Khmer Rouge experience in the Battambang area