Posts Tagged ‘Battambang’

Battambang to Siem Reap via River Boat

Posted in Cambodia on February 17th, 2010 by Vagablonding – Be the first to comment

Wednesday, February 17th, was mostly spent in transit via boat from Battambang to Siem Reap. At 7am we boarded a little boat with 2 rows of seats, a roof, and a tiny 4 foot tall squat bathroom so precarious I was the only one that dared to use it, which I did twice. I have good balance. We floated down the Battambang River for 5 hours; it was much more fun than I was expecting! We’re probably the last Intrepid group to go to Siem Reap by boat rather than by bus this season because the river is getting very low and we got stuck a few times. From our boat we saw a side of Cambodian life that few tourists get to see. The people that live on the river live in either little huts on stilts, floating huts, or their boats with rickety walls and a roof. They bathe in the river (which is filthy), wash their clothes and dishes in the river, and fish in the river to get their food.

Battambang River, Cambodia

Battambang River, Cambodia

Battambang River, Cambodia

Battambang River, Cambodia

Battambang River, Cambodia

Battambang River, Cambodia

Battambang River, Cambodia

Gas station - Battambang River, Cambodia

Battambang River, Cambodia

Battambang River, Cambodia

There were lots of ridiculously cute kids along the river that would run up to the edge of the water to wave at us and yell “bye bye!!!” I got quite the arm workout from all the waving. I’d post pics of them but I think I would get in trouble with the law since most of the kids were half or fully naked.

After 5 hours on the river we got to the Tonle Sap Lake. Tonle Sap lake is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, and it is the reason the ancient Khmer civilization was centered at Angkor (and why the temples were built there). But from my vantage point on the boat, Tonle Sap Lake was large, brown, and boring. I took a picture for posterity.

Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia

We crossed the lake in about an hour and were soon at the docks near Siem Reap.

Siem Reap docks, Cambodia

We got off the boat and onto a bus that took us to Siem Reap proper. I was tired so I spent the rest of the evening sleeping. Tomorrow is temple time!

Rice Rice Rice… Circus!

Posted in Cambodia on February 17th, 2010 by Vagablonding – 1 Comment

Tuesday, February 16th, was spent riding around in a tuk-tuk visiting all kinds of villages and wonderful charity centers around Battambang.

First we went to the Phare Ponleu Selpak NGO which takes in children and teaches them music, painting, computer animation, and circus performance. Some of the kids are housed, clothed, and fed there, and many others just come during the day. There are kids of all ages, from those who can just barely walk, to adults around age 22. It’s an excellent NGO, one of the best in Cambodia, and they are doing great work. Definitely don’t miss a visit if you’re ever in Battambang.

Music practice - Phare Ponleu Selpak NGO, Battambang, Cambodia

Kids - Phare Ponleu Selpak NGO, Battambang, Cambodia

Then we had a short stop at an orphanage where we met some cute kids.

Orphanage - Battambang, Cambodia

Orphanage - Battambang, Cambodia

Next we went to a village where bamboo sticky rice is made. I bought some, and as you can see below one of the tuk-tuk drivers wanted to steal it from me.

Bamboo sticky rice - Battambang, Cambodia

Hey pal, back off my sticky rice!

Bamboo sticky rice - Battambang, Cambodia

After that we went to a village where they make rice noodles. After being cooked the rice is made into a gooey paste.

Rice noodles - Battambang, Cambodia

Then the paste is pressed through little holes into boiling hot water.

Rice noodles - Battambang, Cambodia

The noodles are then rinsed in cool water and the noodles are ready to be sold.

Rice noodles - Battambang, Cambodia

We also visited a rice paper making village. Below you can see some drying on a rack.

Rice paper - Battambang, Cambodia

While there I made a little friend. She looked worried until she saw herself on the camera screen, then she was all smiles.

Girl - Battambang, Cambodia

Girl smiling - Battambang, Cambodia

We stopped at the Ptea Teuk Dong Street Family Center for a delicious lunch ($4). PTD takes in street families and abused women and teaches them vocational skills for 1 year including sewing, weaving, furniture making, food preparation, and agriculture. After a family completes the program they are given a plot of land with a small wooden house and start-up funds for a small business. Besides buying lunch I bought a super cute handmade purse for $5.

Lunch - Ptea Teuk Dong, Battambang, Cambodia

I had been feeling really dizzy all morning so mom and I ditched the rest of the tour and chilled out in the hotel for the afternoon. At 6:30pm we went back to the Phare Ponleu Selpak NGO for an hour long circus performance ($8). It was lots of fun. There are no animals, just people doing acrobatics and juggling. There were stories being acted out so I guess you could say it was like a play on uppers. The performers were very talented; the pictures don’t do them justice.

Circus - Phare Ponleu Selpak NGO, Battambang, Cambodia

Circus - Phare Ponleu Selpak NGO, Battambang, Cambodia

Circus - Phare Ponleu Selpak NGO, Battambang, Cambodia

Circus - Phare Ponleu Selpak NGO, Battambang, Cambodia

Afterward we had dinner at the restaurant there. It was very good, except for the questionable squid things that looked exactly like squid, with eyes and everything, but the chefs insisted was imitation squid… I skipped that dish.

Tomorrow we have a long-ass 6.5 hour boat ride down the river and across Tonle Sap Lake to Siem Reap. I hope it’s fun :p

Smokin’ Pot in Battambang

Posted in Cambodia on February 15th, 2010 by Vagablonding – 9 Comments

Smokin' Pot Cooking School - Battambang, Cambodia

The morning of Monday, February 15th, was spent riding the public bus for 6 hours to Battambang. The air-con was on full blast so it was freezing and there was a tv blaring loud hilarious music videos of teenage Cambodian boys singing American rap songs in Khmer. But thanks to my anti-nausea medication I was able to sleep through most of it.

At 3pm we went to the Smokin’ Pot Thai-Cambodian Cooking School. We were going to make 3 dishes: Vegetable Amok Curry, Lok Lok Veggies, and a Spicy Cabbage Salad. Mom and I made ours vegetarian but the other people in our group made the first dish with fish and the second with beef.

First we went to market and bought all the ingredients.

Market - Battambang, Cambodia

Market - Battambang, Cambodia

Then we walked to the Smokin’ Pot restaurant to cook. It was incredibly fun. We ate each dish as they were finished and by the end I was so full I gave the rest of my salad and mom’s salad to a begging girl and her baby.

Vegetable Amok Curry veggies:

Amok curry vegetables

Vegetable Amok Curry spices:

Amok curry spices

Cooking the curry:

Cooking Vegetarian Amok

All done! Yum ­čÖé

Vegetarian Amok Curry

Now for the Lok Lok stir fry:

Lok Lok vegetables

Lok Lok

And finally the spicy salad:

spicy cabbage salad