Battambang Province Welcome

We woke up early at around 6 am as we had booked a morning bus back to Phnom Penh. Our flight back to Singapore is on 12/12/06 from Phnom Penh.

A minibus brought us to the Capitol bus terminal and we boarded the coach that will take us back to Phnom Penh. Capital Bus is WAY better than GST which we took on the way to Siem Reap. The aircon is working fine unlike the stuffy GST bus and the legroom is spacious. All three of us succumbed to the comfort and gave in to the zzz monster after a while. I slept the least on the bus as i wanted to see the scenery along the way.

A rest stop

After about 2 & 1/2 hours, there was a lunch break and we ordered some food. As we were hungry, the food is delicious considering it is just a roadside stall. Love the spices and flavouring used in the soup. As we ordered quite a bit of food, the bus driver honked for all of us to get back onto the bus and we were the last to board.

I love the shape of the Cambodian coconut trees

The bus reached Phnom Penh at around 1 pm and we wished the trip would be longer so that we can sleep more. Haha..... Anyway, we got off from the Capitol bus terminal and walked back to our Sunday Guesthouse. We had booked our last night there as the staff is friendly and helpful. After unloading our backpacks, we set off for our last day in Phnom Penh. Actually we had visited all, if not most of the tourist attractions. So we decided to have a walking tour around the city.

Our walking plan in Phnom Penh

I was the chief navigator and we embarked on the journey across the city. The city was bigger than i expected and we took longer than expected to walk across the city as we stopped at any aircon places like shopping centres, supermarkets and bookstores.

We were enthusiastic and curious about the sights and scenes in the city. We passed by the guarded Singapore Embassy and asked if we can enter. Sadly, we were denied entry despite the fact that we are Singaporeans.

We were desperately finding entry to view the lake up close but there were many buildings and guesthouses by the side of the lake that prevent direct entry for outsiders. Then we barged into a guesthouse as there weren't people outside preventing outsiders from going in. We made the right choice as the view from the guesthouse is fantastic. We were a little late for sunset though.

Picturesque view of sunset

The late sunset

We enjoyed the view for a cool 20 minutes and we were right up to the lake surface as the guesthouse has a platform that enables people to dive right into the lake. We bought some drinks from the guesthouse restaurant as we couldn't just leave without buying anything from the guesthouse.

We had chosen to sit on the upper deck of the boat as the view is better. We bought some bread from the locals selling fruits and bread as we did not have our breakfast. The bread was incredibly tasty as they had toasted it with some seasoning or spices.

The early sun

Fisherman and his family

The sky, the water, the boat and the church

Backpackers and us on top of the boat

Floating temple

Fishing equipment used for hanging nets

Floating village

4 hours into the journey, there was a break at a local floating provision shop and we got down the boat to take a walk. We were feeling the toil on our skin as the sun is scorching hot as it was around noon. We found ourselves seats on the lower deck after the break.

As the boat trip continues, the river gets narrower and narrower until it is just a mere passageway enough for just 1 boat to pass through. The branches and twigs were hitting on the sides of the boat repeatedly and poor Terence sitted by the side had to duck and 'siam' or else he would be hit by the passing branches or twigs. A few spiders found their way onto Terence's t-shirt as well when they dropped from the branches. It was an interesting and scenic experience on the boat though.

The narrow passageway

Finally after 8 hours, we reached Battambang. All 3 of us were sleeping and dozing off during the 2nd half of the journey as the lack of sleep had set in. We sat on the minibus as the hotel i booked had arranged transportation from the jetty. Actually we wanted to switch hotel to a cheaper one we had found out but didn't in the end.

After unloading our backpacks at Royal Hotel (US$6 per pax per night), we had our lunch at the hotel before setting off to explore the 2nd most populous city in Cambodia after Phnom Penh. There wasn't a lot that we can do considering that it is already 4 pm. I was the chief navigator and we headed on foot to the Central Market.

Central Market

There were not as many stalls compared to the market in Phnom Penh but the clothing their seems to be cheaper. I bought a plain tee for only 3000 riel which is equivalent to US$0.75. There were very few tourists in Battambang as the city doesn't have much tourist attractions. We received many stares from the locals and the streets were not as crowded compared to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. We then walked around the vicinity as we did not want to stray too far away from our hotel.

A street in Battambang

A statue outside a temple

A street with French Colonial influence

We feels that the streets were not as safe compared to Siem Reap and Phnom Penh and decided to cut down on any night activities or than having dinner. Many motorcyclists and passerbys stared at us when we were walking on the streets and made us slightly uncomfortable. We headed to Old Market where Terence bought a cute small watermelon. The fruits there are smaller than the ones in Singapore especially watermelons and pineapples.

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