Spend the morning on a walking, boat and cycling tour to the Sangke River, where you are able to experience Battambang’s daily life. The tour includes prayers with monks, as well as providing insight to the city’s classic design and artistic heritage.
The tour begins the at 7.30, at the offices of “”Battambang Bike””, where you get fitted for your bicycle (either a reasonably decent mountain bike or a sturdy ‘basket’ bike).
You will then watch some film footage, which helps you imagine how developed the town was in its heyday. Battambang has a fascinating history, having been passed from Cambodia to Thailand, and back again, several times over the years and the city has an excellent collection of early 20th century French colonial architecture, better preserved and respected than in many other parts of the country.
A tour of the main market, Psar Nath includes time out to taste the exceptional local coffee. Then walk the few metres to the river to cross on a local boat to the other side of the Sangke River. Visit Wat Povil temple and take the opportunity to pray with the monks (Note: the monks may observe different rituals according to their calendar though can be seen on a daily basis). It is sometimes possible to accompany the monks back across the river as they begin their morning alms collection.
Once back on the other side it is time to start the bike tour. The historic “”2.5 Street”” is visited, along with a Thai temple before arriving at a smaller market. Once again, its time for a break, this time centred around either a coffee or sugar cane juice. Continue a short distance to Wat Kor Village, known for its many old Khmer heritage houses built around a century ago. Here, you visit one of the best-preserved homes.
Cycle along the river and cross a suspension bridge where only motorbikes and bicycles can pass. On the way back into town, there is invariably time for another quick drinks before, arriving back in the town at approximately 12:45 p.m.
This tour was set up by a Canadian ex-pat (“”Jam””– a lover of Battambang’s architecture and keen cyclist himself). His ambitions are noble – he wants to pass his business over to local ownership eventually, in turn provoking an interest in their own city.
The cycle ride is easy – no level of considerable fitness is required. Simply an ability to balance on two wheels!