Photo: Hilltop pagoda views outside Battambang.

Introduction

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Battambang province lies in the far western region of Cambodia; it’s bounded to the west by Thailand, the south by the Cardamom mountains, the east by Tonle Sap lake and Pursat, and to the north by Banteay Meanchey province. With a rich architectural heritage, an increasingly confident art scene providing a cradle for many of Cambodia’s top talents, and stunning surrounding countryside, Battambang is a tranquil respite from the boom and hustle of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.


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And with talks underway for listing Cambodia’s second city as a UNESCO World Heritage City (most likely in 2016), Battambang’s status as a somewhat peripheral destination looks set to change. As the number of tourists who are catching on to its charms continues to grow, so too is it slowly waking up to the benefits of tourism, not just economically, but also for its role in cultural and heritage promotion and protection (by some anyway).

Welcome to Battambang! Photo taken in or around Battambang, Cambodia by Nicky Sullivan.

Welcome to Battambang! Photo: Nicky Sullivan

Battambang has already been named by UNESCO as a City of Performing Arts, thanks to more than 100 ancient Khmer, Thai and French colonial buildings and the many ancient pagodas and temples that dot the city and its environs. It is also the home of a performance and arts school called Phare Ponleu Selpak, a home-grown NGO that grew out of the post-Khmer Rouge-era refugee camps in Thailand which has animated the city’s ... Travelfish members only (Around 900 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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