48 Hours in Battambang

Located in the West of Cambodia, Battambang is a restful respite from the hustle and bustle of Phnom Penh and Siem Riep. This is a must-go destination in your Cambodian trip.

The city possesses the rich architectural heritage with more than 100 ancient Khmer, Thai and French colonial buildings as well as several hundred-year old temples and pagodas. Battambang was rewarded City of Performing Arts by UNESCO.
City of Performing Arts 
There are so many wonderful things about this pastoral city. We would suggest you a two-day Battambang tour in your journey to Cambodia.

In the early morning, you will be awakened by the tinkling of the carriages which carry goods, mainly vegetables into the city. Battambang is so serene at that time with the miraculous sunrise over the river in the light fog. You can explore the city by tuk-tuk, bicycle or on foot to watch some of Indochina’s best preserved colonial era architecture and many stone statues of Kings, General, famous characters in history and the Gods of legend along the streets. The yellow golden shower trees that you can see everywhere in Battambang make the city become more bright and vibrant under the radiant sun.
Battambang Street 
In the afternoon, you can either choose a cooking class or try a completely new feeling with Bamboo Train. In your journey in Battambang, you should not miss a Bamboo Train (Norry) ride which is unique and interesting form of ad-hoc transport. A Bamboo Train comprises of open-air small motorcycle engine-powered bamboo cart. It moves along the railway tracks, pick up the passengers, together with cargo and animals and drop them off at their requested stop. The most special thing about this type of transport is its flexibility. It can be disassembled and taken off the rails when two trains face each other. This popular mean of conveyance now becomes fascinating experience for tourist. It costs more than $5 per person.
Bamboo Train 
For those who are interested in Cambodian cuisine, cooking lesion which provides the longest-running cooking class in Cambodia is the best option. The Smoking’s Pot is found by the chef Vannak Robie who has impressively passionate about Cambodian food. The price is only $10 for a half-day which is inexpensive price for wonderful experience, tasting some mouthwatering dishes and a copy of a cookbook containing 12 of the restaurant’s best recipes. There is another cooking class Nary Kitchen which is taught by Ms. Nary which is about 2 and a half hour including market trip.
Smoking's Pot 
When the sun gets closer to the horizon, the yellow color of golden shower trees and the mossy roofs are replaced by colorful of electric lights. You can go for a stroll along the tortuous Sankae River which has wide range of stores and restaurants. You can find here some lovely souvenirs or just experience the tranquility of a truly Cambodian life.
Sankae River 
The next day is the day to visit historical and religious sites in Battambang. There is an array of historically ancient pagodas and temples in Battambang. All of them are considered as masterpiece with beautiful architecture. In the town, you might visit Wat Tahm Rei Saw or White Elephant Pagoda with nearly 90% of original design ornamented with picturesque paintings and Wat Kandal – the wooden temple with decorative carvings. Taking a short distance from Battambang are Wat Ek Phnom with the giant Buddha statue; the “Ruined Ruin” Wat Baset; Phnom Banan which is in the top of a hilling providing sweeping overview of Battambang and Sangkar River; sandstone tower Prasart Stueng and Phnom Sampeou – the magnificent hilltop pagoda complex with “Killing Cave”.
Battambang Temple 
Used to be the largest granary in the Cambodia, you will definitely regret if you do not explore the incredible surrounding countryside with splendid rice paddy and idyllic village scenery. Standing in the immense fields of lush green color spreading to the horizon, you will feel deeply peaceful and pure, stay away from the boisterous and dusty urban areas. Besides, you might visit Kamping Pouy Basin which is vitally important to Battambang’s agriculture. In the summer, the basin is filled of the splendid of lotus and its pervading scent.
Kamping Pouy Basin 
Two days might be not enough to explore this beautiful city but still bring unforgettable memories in your tour in Cambodia. You can combine to discover other destinations as Battambang is nestled between many far-famed tourist attractions such as the Banteay Meanchey Province in the North, the Cardamom Mountains in the South, Tonle Sap and Pursat in the East and the land of millions smiles – Thailand in the West.

For more information about Battambang and Cambodia tours, please contact Exotic Voyage

Things To Do In Koh Rong Island

Koh Rong Island is the second largest island of Cambodia. The virgin forests, hills, waterfalls inside the jungle and the beachside bungalows make Koh Rong the picturesque backdrop for every visitor. Come here and experience the beach following activities, you will definitely find the real Cambodia in your journey!

Snorkeling and diving

If you want to discover the undersea world, snorkeling in Koh Rong Island is one of the best choices. You can see a wide range of fishes: seahorses, needlefish, diamond fish, squid, parrotfish, etc. The renowned Treehouse Bungalows is where you can rent a snorkel gear and take your extraordinary voyages.

Walking and trekking

Not only the long beachside, there’s lots of trekking to be had. Trekking from Koh Touch Village on the Southwestern, through the jungle to the nearby Sven-kilometer Beach, you will see the most outstanding rocks and trees in the paths.  

Or if you find it hard to trek, walking along the beach to explore the fishing villages and contact with locals. It’s definitely the awesome experience in your lifetime!

Boat trips and kayaking

Instead of lying on the beach, take a boat trips to “play” with the water. The feeling of being among the sea, listening the sounds of waves and get every gust of natural wind await your discovery. You can also kayak to explore the taking in the mangroves trees, the rocky island, a fishing village, a deserted beach and the cave waterfall.

Watching sunset on Long Beach

Sunset on the beach is always the most beautiful moment in each day. Why don’t you catch this romantic sight and grave it into your mind? Watch the sun melting into the Cambodia Ocean and reflecting the red-yellow rays into the waterways. This untouched island offers you more than a trip!

Decoding 216 Smiling Stone Faces of Bayon Temple

It is true that most people visit Cambodia because of Angkor Wat. However, those who have been to this largest religious building in the world also visit Angkor Thom, the ancient capital city of the Khmer Empire. Within Angkor Thom, there are plenty of temple ruins scattered around, many of which are very unique. But there is one temple that really stands out and that is Bayon Temple.

Bayon Temple is located right at the very center of Angkor Thom and features myriad mysterious smiling faces carved on four sides of stone towers. These faces have long been one of the most interesting and intriguing thing in the whole Cambodia.
After the construction completed in the late 12th century, there used to be 54 stone towers here. However, after more than 8 centuries, this number has reduced to 37. Luckily, the smiling faces have not been severely damaged. Each of these faces looks very much the same, smiling with eyes closed mysteriously. It is believed that in the past, the total number of faces here are 216, each tower has four.

The meaning of these faces now still remains a debate. One theory suggests that they demonstrate the portrait of the great King Jayavarman VII, who built the Bayon temple. According to this theory, the temples as well as the faces are built to dedicate to Buddha whom he worshipped. The number of stone towers, 54 also represents the number of days of lunar calendar as well as the total number of provinces that King Jayavarman VII used to rule.

However, there’s another belief, supposing that the smiling faces of Bayon temple portrayed Avalokiteśvara, also known as bodhisattva (Buddhist enlightened being) of compassion. The third and final explanation suggests that both are true as the king identified himself as both Buddha and bodhisattva.

10 Angkor Wat Facts Everyone Should Know

Angkor Wat is a world famous range of ruins amidst among the jungle amid yet more remnants from the lost capital of a bygone empire in Cambodia. To understand more about Angkore Wat in the land of temples, find out ten interesting facts about Angkor Wat below!

1. Angkor Wat in Siem Reap means to 'City of Temples' or simply 'City Temple'.

The overview of Cambodia from the sky

2. There are two huge complexes of ancient temples in Southeast Asia, one at Bagan in Myanmar, the other at Angkor in Cambodia.

3. The temples of Angkor, built by the Khmer civilization between 802 and 1220 AD, represent one of humankind’s most astonishing architectural achievements. 

4. Most temples are oriented to the East while Angkor Wat is oriented to the West. It is undeniable that king Suryavarman planned for the temple to serve as his funerary temple.

5. The storytelling characteristics dominate the decorations of the temple portraying tales or fables from the Hindu epics by the Buddha statues instead of the statues of Hindu Gods.

The Buddha Statue in Angkor Wat

6. Like the other temple-mountains of Angkor, Angkor Wat also replicates the spatial universe in scaled-down. The central tower is Mt Meru, with its surrounding smaller peaks, bounded in turn by continents and the oceans. The seven-headed nag becomes a symbol of Rainbow Bridge for man who reaches the home of the Gods.

7. The blockbuster film Lara Croft - Tomb Raider was recorded here that everyone can’t forget the impressive backdrop of Angkor Wat.

8. Angkor Wat also appears in many riel banknotes that you can keep as a souvenir in your Cambodia travel.

9. Angkor Wat is known as one of the largest religious sites in the world, covering around 400 square kilometers of land. Its five walls and channels represents of mountainous chains and cosmic ocean as well. The great compound’s scopes are arranged absolutely along the north- south axis, and the east to west was deflected 0.75° to give visitors another spectacular prospective of the ancient Angkor Wat.

10. The wall under the moat is almost 15 feet tall, 2,630 feet wide and 3,360 feet length. The wall covers the temples is just over 200 acres. The major tower of the temple is about 213 feet high.

Sihanoukville – the untouched yet stunning beach in Cambodia

As a stunning town in Cambodia, Sihanoukville offer the long white-sand beaches where you can do any kind of beach activities such as boating, fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling as well as enjoy a wide ranges of delicious seafood. The year-round tropical climate makes Sihanoukville the flexible time to visit it around years. Independence Beach – the quietest beach with beautiful views and nice resorts, the pristine beach of Otres Beach, Ream Beach and Sokha Beach – like the perfect combination of mountains, waterfalls and wild-life, or the golf-course along the glorious Ochheuteal Beach. For sure, all of them attract your eyes at the first sights.  

The stunning white Otres Beach 

Thanks to the un-spoilt beaches and sea sights, Sihanoukville provides you the breathtaking view of Cambodia that you will never have if not coming here. Take a cruise to contemplate the mesmerizing beauty of beaches, the daily life of fishermen and the tranquil atmosphere on the waterway. It won’t let you down. The dark sky of Serendipity is lightened by the mini fireworks display along the seashore. Another marvelous prospective of Cambodia beaches comes into your mind naturally. 

Fishermen in Sihanoukville

Taking a cooking class is a must-do in Sihanoukville. You will learn how to cook some of the traditional Cambodia dishes with the help from experienced teachers. They will explain what you need to prepare for each meal, how to make it and how to decorate it to make a nice dish. The popular dishes for you to choose: Chicken (or fish) amok, the deep fried spring rolls, red chicken curry, sticky rice with mango and coconuts, etc. You will realize that coconut milk is the familiar ingredient for each dish in Cambodia. A journey to Cambodia is not only to discover the ancient temples but also to find the hidden culture behind the Cambodia traditional foods. One of the best ways is to take part in the cooking class in Sihanoukville.

Fish amok - the traditional Cambodia food

Amongst things to do in Sihanoukville, why don’t you bring your kindness in Children’s Painting Project to help children who live in a miserable life? The project aims to provide them with a safe, stable and emotionally supportive social environment as well as their development and growth. It is a non-profit organization to help the poor children have a better life. Another program that you can take part in during your trip is the Starfish Project. If you have foods or clothes or books, provide them with the poor. These necessary things in life is definitely a precious gift for them to bright their hardship life.

Children’s Painting Project - bring opportunities together

Have you ever image a BBQ along the beach? In your trip to discover the Cambodia beaches, don’t miss a $3 BBQ that features fresh seafood such as tuna, snapper, prawns, shrimp, barracuda and squid. In each store, you will find the distinctive proportions and marinades in the same menu of safety and tasty. Is it enough for you Cambodia luxurytravel?

Tonle Sape – The Great Natural Reservoir of Cambodian

The Tonle Sap Lake, also called the Great Lake is the proud of the Cambodia. It is among most unique ecological water wonders in the world, a beautiful combined river system and lake in the land of temples. The Tonle Sap is also known as the largest fresh water lake in Southeast Asia, which is abundant of fish.

The peaceful Tonle Sap Lake

If you take a boat trip to Tonle Sap at different time of the year, you will notice the big changes in size in each season. On wet season, the abundance of water create a magnificent view of the great lake, while in dry season, some parts of the lakes are even inapproachable by boat. The lake is dwindled a lot in dry season with only approximately 2,700 square kilometer and almost 1 meter depth. It seems not a “great” lake anymore. However, once you visit the lake during wet season, you will then understand the power of the waters. The Tonle Sap Lake now receives much more rain waters due to the reversed water flows from Tonle Sap River, which connects the lake with the River Mekong at Phnom Penh, in the south east. It becomes a super big natural reservoir for floating life of thousands of Cambodian.

The daily life in floating villages of Tonle Sap Lake 

The lake is said to reach up to 16,000 square kilometers in wet season and completely change its image in the eyes of travelers. The time it begins bigger is normally June, when the rainy season starts. Thank to special features, the lake was chosen as a protected area by UNESCO's Man and Biosphere program.

Splendid sunset at Tonle Sap Lake

In a visit to Tonle Sap Lake, travelers will witness the floating life of thousands of people on the lake. They have a great chance to experience life in the Kompong Luong, the biggest and most popular floating village if trying a homestay here. Everything is on the waters. You can see the floating garage, ice production, church, school, etc.

On Tonle Sap, the human beings are just tiny amid vast of waters. Experience a day on the powerful lake and you then feel the spirit of locals here. This visit can be added into Cambodia tours through Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.

Cambodia map with Tonle Sape Lake

After visiting Tonle Sap Lake, head to the south to discover the destinations in South Cambodia to fulfill the rest of your wonderful trips.


Ratanakiri travel

Located on the northeastern highlands, sometimes called Far West Khmer, Ratanakiri region is easily accessible. It consists of mountainous landscapes and rolling green hills, plantations, rivers and it is the homeland of proto-Indo-Chinese ethnic minorities: Kroeungs, Kacos, Kachaks, Jaraïs and Braus - original inhabitants of these highlands. They live along the reddened laterite trails along forest and subtropical jungles still haunted by some wild tigers, elephants and by a whole pantheon of geniuses formidable.

Ratanakiri has everything to become a dream destination for travelers seeking adventure and authenticity. Banlung, the starting point of excursions, is the capital of the region. Tourists can spend several nights at this region because of the variety of the accommodation. It is also possibility to stay comfortably in historic accommodation (the former residence of the Governor of the province). From there, you can spend one or several days on making excursions in the area, exploring jungles, rivers and villages of ethnic minorities.

Some sites:
- The volcanic lake Yeak LEOM: It is a beautiful lake with crystal clear water surrounded by forest slender. Tourist will have opportunity to take a bath and go hiking on the trail around the lake.
- The Ta Veng ethnic village: This village is close to the border with Laos. It is populated by Kroeungs - the original ethnic Austroasiatic. They are known for the particular architecture of the houses.
- The village of Kachaun: You can travel to the village either by road or by boat on the Tonle San River. The village is famous for its funerary totems. Most of the inhabitants are the Chinese origin.
Apart from these sites, it is possible to make treks of one or more days, see eight or ten days in the jungle through the night in the villages, in huts or in hammocks jungle.

Battambang travel guides

Battambang was established as an important trading city with around 2,500 residents in the 18th century. They lived mostly along a single road parallel to the Sangkae River. In 1795 Thailand, then Siam, annexed much of northwestern Cambodia including the province of Battambang and Siem Reap. The Siamese Abhaiwongse family ruled Battambang as governors for six generations until 1907 when the province was ceded to the French to be part of their French Indochina colony.

Following the colonization of the French in Battambang the colonial administration developed an urban layout which enlarged the size of the French colonial town. In the first time development, they constructed a grid pattern of well-defined streets, put in the urban structures and built three main streets parallel to the Sangker River, connected the both side with two bridges in 1917. Military purposes and prison infrastructures were erected inside the compound. 19 years later, a second urban development plan was created with a newly constructed railway linked from Battambang to Phnom Penh. The urban structure was extended to the west of the town, featuring some important urban axes orienting on the railway station. Many outstanding buildings like residential villas and significant public buildings were constructed during that period. According to the third urban development plan for Battambang, a large extension was planned for the north, east and south of the city. The urban layout was technically planned and required long-term thinking to create an urban axis corresponding to the existing urban layout from the former period. Battambang grew as a modern provincial capital, and became the most developed part of all provinces in Cambodia.

Several large infrastructures and public facilities were built under the modernization program of the Cambodian government under Prince Sihanouk. Several provincial departments, the court house and other public administrations were set up on both sides of the river. Textile and garment factories were built by French and Chinese investors, the Battambang Airport was constructed, and the railway line was developed to reach Poipet. Numerous schools and a university were built. A sports centre, museum and an exhibition hall were constructed to serve the cultural needs of the growing population.

In the southwest of the Tonle Sap Lake, Battambang is located on the Sangker riverbank. Battambang means "disappearing stick" - related to a legend of the magic stick by a Khmer king used to hold and maintain power in the Battambang area. It is the second largest city of Cambodia as well as in the granary of the country. Despite being the second largest province of Cambodia, Battambang still keeps the atmosphere of the countryside and it is not be affected by tourism.

Most of the buildings in this Battambang have French colonial-style and Cambodia’s traditional architecture. There are very few buildings having more than three-floor height. Unlike other tourist towns, the local economy is mainly based on planting rice and crops, logging, mining sapphire…

When you travel to Battambang by road, the landscape quickly appears in your eyes with small villages, rice fields and farms. It gives tourists wonderful opportunities to enjoy the unpolluted countryside of Cambodia. The surroundings of the countryside are ancient temples, the ruins of the Angkor period, caves, waterfalls, and even the killing fields of the Khmer Rouge regime.

Battambang is the main hub of the Northwest connecting the entire region with Phnom Penh and Thailand, and as such it’s a vital link for Cambodia. 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.

Attractions: Battambang has a number of historic wats and they largely survived damage during the Khmer Rogue regime. Tourists can visit these following attractions in Battambang:
  • White Elephant Pagoda (Wat Tahm-rai-saw)
  • Phare Ponleu Selpak - Battambang Circus
  • Battambang Bat Caves
  • Banan Temple
  • Wat Ek Phnom Temple
  • Sneung Temple
  • Phnom Sampeou
  • Kamping Puoy Basin
  • Sek Sork…

Siem Reap, the Gateway to Angkor region

Siem Reap – the Gateway to Angkor region

Located in the northwesternCambodia, Siem Reap is one of the biggest tourist destinations inCambodia. It is also the great gate to Angkor region. The name Siem Reap means "Siam Defeated" and refers to the centuries-old conflict between the Siamese and Khmer people.

Siem Reap has colonial and Chinese-style architecture in the Old French Quarter, and around the Old Market. Travel to Siem Reap, tourists will have a chance to enjoy traditional Apsara dance performances, visit craft shops, silk farms, rice-paddy countryside, fishing villages and a bird sanctuary near the Tonle Sap Lake. Today, Siem Reap serves as a small gateway town to the world famous heritage site of the Angkor temples. Thanks to those attractions, Siem Reap has transformed itself into a major tourist hub. Siem Reap nowadays is a popular tourist destination with a large number of modern hotels and architectures. Despite international influences, Siem Reap and its people have conserved much of the town's image, culture and traditions.

Most tourists come to Siem Reap to visit the Angkor Archaeological Park including Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom and other Angkor ruins. However, those are still the main attractions; there are plenty of other things to experience in the city.

Opened in 2003, the Cambodian Cultural Village assembles all the miniatures of famous historical buildings and structures of Cambodia. There are 11 unique villages, which represent different culture heritages, local customs and characteristics of 19 multi races.

Angkor National Museum

The Angkor National Museum offers visitors a better understanding of the area's archaeological treasures. The Golden Era of the Khmer Kingdom is presented, including the use of state-of-the-art multimedia technology. The museum covers Khmer history, civilization, and cultural heritage in eight galleries.

Old Market (Phsar Chas)

This flea market has a range of artifacts and tourist junk. It offers fake Khmer antiques as well as tourist souvenirs. Tourists can also enjoy great local food at this area.

Moreover, tourists can spend time on taking a cooking class, enjoying some local festivals, for example: the Water Festival (on the last full moon day in October or the beginning of November), the Annual Street Puppet Festival…
Siem Reap has a tropical wet and dry climate. The city is generally hot throughout the course of the year, with average high temperatures never falling below 30 C in any month. It has a relatively lengthy wet season which starts in April and ends in November. The dry season covers the remaining four months.

Angkor Archaeological Park

Located inCambodia’s northern province of Siem Reap,Angkor ArchaeologicalPark is a “must-see” destination for all tourists who visit Cambodia. It is also one of the most important archaeological sites in Southeast Asiaand was declared a UNESCO World Heritage sites in 1992.

Extending over 400 square kilometers,Angkor Archaeological Park consists of forested area, scores of temples, hydraulic structures (basins, dykes, reservoirs, canals...) and communication routes. There are over one thousand temples ranging in scale from nondescript piles of rubble scattered through rice fields to the magnificent Angkor Wat - the world's largest single religious monument. It contains the superb remains of several capitals of the Khmer Empire and represents the entire range of Khmer art from the 9th to the 15th centuries. Many of the temples at Angkor have been restored, and together, they comprise the most significant site of Khmer architecture. Temples such as Angkor Wat, the Bayon (at Angkor Thom), Preah Khan and Ta Prohm are exemplars of Khmer architecture.

Some of Angkor’s sites were originally built as Hindu temples, while some were built as Buddhist temples, and yet others were converted over the years. Nowadays, most of Angkor’s major temples have at least a few Buddha statues (nearly all added later) and draw a steady stream of monks and worshippers. The park is inhabited, and many villages, some of whom the ancestors are dating back to the Angkor period are scattered throughout the park. The population practices agriculture and more specifically rice cultivation.
The temples can be categorized into the following groups:
  1.  Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom – the grandest temple of all and the ancient capital next to it
  2. Little Circuit (Le Petit Circuit) – taking in major sites to the east of Angkor Thom
  3.  Big Circuit (Le Grand Circuit) – Taking in major sites north and further out east
  4.  Roluos group – 15km east from Siem Reap along National Highway 6
  5.  Outlying temples – located over 20km from Angkor Wat
The best time to visit Angkor is between November and February, when the weather is dry and rather cool (25-30°C).