Vix & Alan's S.E.Asia Travel Blog travel blog

Arriving in Battembang

Boat engine

The satellite town of Battembang

Device to dry fishing nets

Colonial vertiges in Battembang

a common sight in Battembang

The high St, Battembang

Having got 'Templed out' we decided to catch a boat across the amazing Tonle Sap lake from Siem Reap to Battembang, another offbeat and dusty town and apparently Cambodia's 2nd largest. We spent a couple of nights here, arriving by lengthy boat trip from Siem Reap

. Not much to write home about but preferable to Tbeng Meanchey, universally voted most crappy town by Kay, Richard, Alan and myself! . The Lonely Planet describes the journey as 'the most breathtakingly scenic in Cambodia' but I think the author may have been under the influence of some substance or another. The trip was listed as 3 hours, but turned into a marathon 7 hours and involved a transfer onto a smaller boat

as this is the dry season and the tributory river we had to navigate contained little more than a bathwater's depth in places.

I also think that the teenager navigating the boat hadn't had a huge amount of experience as we kept bumping into banks along the way and needing to 'punt' our way out again. Like the roads, there are no rules about which side of the river you are on so there was much honking of the horn as we navigated our way around the numerous twisty bends and a couple of hairy near misses with local fishing vessels, although kids swimming welcomed our presence due to the waves we created in our wake. Luckily, we were sustained in the journey with our provisions which included a rather civilised tin of Pork pate from Brittany (which we'd managed to obtain in Phnom Penh for our 'emergency rations' and a couple of baguettes. Still, mustn't grumble as some poor travellers had to spend the entire journey in the baking sun on the front prow of the boat. I think I would have been hallucinating by the end of the journey if I'd had to spend it without shade!

Here's a few pix of the town:

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