Unveiling the Rural and Historical Charm of Battambang
Join Khiri Travel Cambodia for a tour that introduces you to the beauty of Battambang city, taking you kayaking along the Sangkae River – a beautifully tranquil body of water that winds its way picturesquely into downtown Battambang.
You first meet with your guide – a local student – from Green Orange Kayak at a location about eight kilometres from Battambang and start kayaking east down the river toward the heart of this fascinating historical city. Your guide will share their knowledge about farming communities and the fishermen you see eking out a living along this enchanting rural waterway.
Annexed by the French in the early 20th century, Battambang town underwent a thorough modernization with the construction of well-defined boulevards and avenues; and the linking of both banks of the river via two bridges built in 1917. A number of large residential villas and public buildings were also built – some of best preserved examples of French colonial architecture in Cambodia today.
After an insightful kayaking trip, you stop to enjoy lunch at Lonely Tree Café, which in addition to local Khmer food, offers a surprisingly broad range of international cuisine. Set up by the Apostolic Prefecture of Battambang, profits from the café, and also from Green Orange Kayak, go toward a number of humanitarian projects for disadvantaged people in the province, including education and healthcare progams.
After lunch you continue on to Phnom Banan, an 11th century temple complex constructed on the top of a hill overlooking the Sangkae River. With its five ancient temple ruins it is often referred to as ‘mini Angkor Wat’. Be prepared to climb over 350 steps to get to the top where you will have – not only the ancient towers to admire – but some stunning views of Cambodian rice plains and small farming villages stretching away far below to the horizon.
After the exertion of the climb, a bit of refreshment is in order, so you head to your last stop of the day, Prasat Phnom Banan Winery, the only winery in Cambodia. Passing some picturesque vineyards along the way, you arrive at this small local winemaker that produces only a few thousand bottles of wine, brandy and fresh grape juice, each year. Tastings takes place in their garden pavilion and are not just limited to wine, so if you’re more of a brandy connoisseur, you won’t be disappointed!
After this relaxing time meditating on the differing bouquets, you return to your hotel for the rest of the evening at your own leisure.