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Jamie's Global Adventures

Battambang - Beautiful Cambodian Countryside

CAMBODIA | Thursday, 15 January 2009 | Views [1269]

After fighting our way through hordes of tourists in Siem Reap, we wanted to see the countryside of Cambodia. Battambang seemed like the logical choice since we’d get to travel there by boat and make day trips into the fertile farming lands surrounding the city.

From Siem Reap, we traveled up Tonle Sap Lake and into the narrow Sangker River. Both the lake headlands and the river were filled with colorful floating fishing villages. Kids waved and screamed as we rode by atop our overloaded ferry. It was a very unique perspective of the countryside, one we wouldn’t have experienced from the highway. At the same time it was rather depressing to see the amount of trash and human waste filling the river that was so vital to their daily lives.

Battambang wasn’t particularly impressive, but our day trip into the countryside was very much worthwhile. Our driver, Phun was a survivor of the Khmer Rouge, spending nearly 12 years in a refugee camp. He had a lot of great insight into the terrors of the time as well as the current corruption of the government, police, and military. He had high praises for the UN and foreign governments that have helped to rebuild infrastructure and remove landmines.

Our tour included stops at a rice wine distillery and a mushroom farm. The latter was particularly interesting since the farmer explained the different steps for producing edible mushrooms. We also stopped at Phnom Sampeon, a hillside temple turned into a prison under the Khmer Rouge. The nearby cave was used to kill nearly 3000 people. Since we were on motorbikes, we were able to take smaller back roads and get a better glimpse into the lives of the people. Though our driver insisted this was a very poor region, it certainly didn’t feel that way. It’s a region rich of life and smiling people.

Tags: battambang, khmer rouge, phnom banan, phnom sampeon, river villages



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