Battambang, Cambodia’s second-largest city, is unfortunately overlooked by many travelers to the country. Given Battambang’s location about 5 hours west of Siem Reap, most people simply decide to head east instead, continuing on to Phnom Penh and then Vietnam (given the animosity between Thailand and Cambodia, traveling overland the other direction can be a little tricky).
However, those travelers who aren’t afraid of getting back onto another bus on the Cambodian highways (which is kind of like riding in a toboggan in the opposite direction of a pack of stampeding wildebeest), should consider checking out the city. Battambang is home to a city center where 800 or so building have been preserved from its Colonial history and beyond, Wat Ek Phnom — an 11th-century temple situated just north of the city, and an artistic history rivaling any other in the country.
As the NY Times notes, “Battambang has produced some of the country’s most famous artists: the 1960s chanteuse Ros Sereysothea, whose popularity persists decades after her death; the late painter Vann Nath; and Chhom Nimol, the frontwoman of the Los Angeles-based indie rock band Dengue Fever.”
I love the name of that band. This makes me want to start up my own Brooklyn-borne indie rock back in Battambang called Persistent Winter Cold Caught on the Subway. It’ll be huge, trust me.
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