Let’s start with Cambodia!
1.) The Cambodian flag is the only national flag that has an image of a building – the Angkor Wat.
2.) Cambodia has been changing its name whenever a new government was installed: It was called the Khmer Republic during its republican years, Democratic Kampuchea under the Khmer Rouge regime, and People’s Republic of Kampuchea under the leftist group called Salvation Front. Today, in its latest government form, it is officially called the Kingdom of Cambodia.
3.) In Cambodia, the head is regarded as the highest part of the body and shouldn’t be touched even in the kindest manner.
4.) In Cambodia, It’s considered disrespectful to let your feet or soles to point at people or things, so the feet must be tucked in when sitting.
5.) Though the famous English film ‘The Killing Fields’ was set in Cambodia, the hotel scenes in this 1984 movie, were shot in the Railway Hotel in Hua Hin, Thailand.
6.) Couples who travel together have reported increased feelings of intimacy.
7.) France covers the most time zones.
8.) Niger has the youngest population of any country.
9.) Did you know that Chicago has the only river that flows backwards? The flow was reversed by engineers about a hundred years ago for sanitary purposes.
10.) Also known as the ‘city of destiny’, Visakhapatnam in India has a Submarine Museum – the only one of its kind in Asia.
11.) With over 450 species of birds, Gambia in Africa has one of the highest concentrations of birds in the world. This place is indeed an attractive destination for bird watchers.
12.) The original name of Bangkok is a real tongue twister – ‘Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Yuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit’. Much simpler to call it Bangkok!
13.) Timbuktu, a name that has become synonymous with far and remote places, is actually an isolated city in Mali, Africa. It was awarded the status of World Heritage Site in 1988.
14.) Most Educated People – Canada
With 50% of its population having been educated at the post secondary level, Canada easily has
the most educated populace in the world. It is followed by Israel at 45% and Japan at 44%.
15.) The Land of No Rivers – Saudi Arabia
Sounds a bit strange doesn’t it? For a country as big as Saudi Arabia there has to be at least
some sort of flowing water. Well, there isn’t. Most of their fresh water comes from desalinization
plants or underground reservoirs.
16.) With over three million lakes, 9% of Canadian territory is actually FRESH water and OVER 60%
of all the lakes in the world are found WITHIN ITS BORDERS.
17.) Russia produces the most oxygen in the world.
Siberia is home to approximately 25% of the world’s forests that span an area larger than the
continental United States, making Russia the largest converter of CO2 into breathable
18.) Worlds’s Largest Swimming Pool – Chile
The San Alfonso del Mar resort in Chile has the world’s largest swimming pool. It holds 66 million gallons.
19.) Rwanda in Africa is commonly known as the Country of Gorillas.
20.) The girls in Venezuela, South America are amazingly beautiful. No other country in the world has had more Miss Universe and Miss Worlds than Venezuela. The country is proud to be home of the beauty queens!
21.) Chiang Mai in Thailand, is rated among the top 10 cities in Asia that is suitable for perfect and peaceful living. If you wish to seek peace and solitude then Chiang Mai is the place where you should be.
22.) Bhutan is considered to be one of the most isolated and least developed nations – television and internet were introduced here only in 1999!
The enchanting town of Battambang is just a few hours by bus from Siem Reap. Fewer travelers end up in Battambang but if you do find yourself in this beautiful town, you’ll soon discover the many hidden gems it has to offer. Whether you’re enjoying some of the best coffee in Cambodia at Kinyei Expresso Bar, riding the tracks on a make-shift train made of bamboo or watching the millions of bats fly out the Phnom Samphou Bat Cave.
Here is a list of a few more things to check out!
- Phare Ponleu Selpak: Battambang’s permanent circus school, Phare Ponleu Selpak offers training in circus skills, art and music to local children and students. Performances (with art exhibition and welcome drink before the show) take place three or four times a week, showcasing the excedingly talented performers’ skills. Many students go on to perform internationally when they leave. Visit www.phareps.org/ for up to date show times.
- Phnom Samphou and The Bat Cave: About 11km outside of Battambang town centre is a mountain, home to the Killing Cave of Phnom Samphou, and the Bat Cave. An easy cycle, or about 10 minutes by moto, the Killing Cave is about two thirds of the way up the mountain, and still houses the remains of those killed there during the Khmer Rouge genocide. The Bat Cave offers an amazing spectacle at around 5pm each day – thousands and thousands of bats leave the cave as dusk falls, a steady stream flying out for around 45minutes. It is possible to combine a visit here with a visit to Banan Temple, also situated out in the countryside; arrange with a moto driver to take you to both, or hire a motorbike (Royal Hotel and Gecko Cafe rent them for approx $7 a day) and visit them yourself.
- Traditional Khmer House (Homestays also possible)– The village of Wat Kor, in Wat Kor Commune, Battambang is home to several traditional Khmer houses, built in the early 20th Century. Located south of Battambang town along the river, the houses are a little hard to find so it can be easier to get here by Tuk Tuk if you don’t have a local guide. The only English speaking owner in the village is called Yee Sarith, who will explain the history of his home, which was built in 1906 and finished in 1907. Some traditional houses in Wat Kor also offer homestays, which can be arranged with them directly. Donations are asked for from visitors.
- Bamboo Train: Battambang’s most touristy tourist attraction, the Bamboo Train is an old fashioned railway track and bamboo platform, which takes you on a 20minute ride to a small village. Worth a trip if you go in a group (it costs about $5 each for a group, $10 if you go alone), the easiest way to get here is by Tuk Tuk. Beware the children in the village who will act as a guide un-asked, they will try demanding dollars from you when you leave!
- Crocodile Farm: located a few kilometers to the north of Battambang, along the river’s west bank, the Crocodile Farm is home to hundreds of crocodiles. Visit early in the morning to catch them at their livliest, during feeding time. If you want to, you can also hold crocodiles that are only a month or so old. Costs $1 if you cycle and $2 if you visit by Tuk Tuk.
- Swimming: If the heat gets too much, head past the night market to Victory Club, a large outdoor pool with sun loungers and massages. Popular with expats as well as locals, it is acceptable to wear western-style swimwear, but be prepared to receive a few curious glances if a group of locals turn up. There’s also a gym here if you’re feeling actice. $2 to use the pool, $1 for the gym.
- Food and Drink: Battambang has one of the most thriving coffee shop cultures you’ll come across in Asia. Many restaurants and coffee shops are also either part of an NGO or a social enterprise, providing training and qualifications for those that work there. The best of the best are:
- Cycling: whether you want to meander through the countryside on your own, or join one of the social enterprise-run bike tours on offer, Battambang is best seen by bicycle. Several hotels rent bicycles for a dollar or two a day, or you can hire slightly more rugged mountain bikes from Kinyei coffee shop on Street 1 1/2 (one road up from the river, just south of the market) for $1.50 a day. If you want to learn more about the country side, both Soksabike and the newly launched Butterfly Tours offer guided bike rides, where you will get the opportunity to learn how locals live, sample locally produced food and drink, and visit historic sites such as the Killing Field and memorial Stupa. Both companies employ local students as guides, all whom speak exceptional English and are great company for a day out. Soksabike are based at Kinyei and Butterly Tours have posters in most coffee shops in the town centre- ask at Coconut Water for details.
For more information, feel free to contact us!