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- Vihear Chen, Svaydangkom, Siem Reap, Cambodia
- +855 92 421 314
Battambang, "Lost Stick" is a province (khaet) of Cambodia located in the far northwest. Bordering provinces are Banteay Meanchey to the north, Pursat to the east and south, Siem Reap to the northeast, and Pailin to the west. The northern and southern extremes of the province's western boundaries form part of the international border with Thailand. In addition, Tonle Sap forms part of the northeastern boundary between Siem Reap and Pursat. Its capital and largest city is Battambang.
With a population of 1,036,523, it ranks as the fourth most populous province. In land area, Battambang is the fifth largest province of Cambodia. Battambang is one of the provinces included in the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve. The province's fertile rice fields have led to a mostly agricultural economy giving rise to the moniker "the Rice Bowl of Cambodia". The province features a range of cultures as well as natural resources. Seventy five percent of the area is jungles and mountains. The area has a tropical climate.
Battambang was established as an important trading city with around 2,500 residents in the 18th century. The population was centered along a single road parallel to the Sangkae River (Stung Sangkae). In 1795 Siam (modern-day Thailand) annexed much of northwestern Cambodia including the provinces of Battambang and Siem Reap into the province of Inner Cambodia. The Siamese ruled Battambang as a provincial capital through the Thai-speaking Khmer Aphaiwong family, a branch of the Khmer royal family, which governed for six generations until 1907 when the province was ceded to the French to be reunited with Cambodia as part of the French Indochina colony.
Following colonization by the French, an urban layout was developed which resulted in an enlarged French colonial town. This first attempt at modernization resulted in well-defined streets laid in a grid pattern, building of urban structures and three main streets parallel to the Sangkae River, and linking of both banks by the construction of two bridges in 1917. Military and prison facilities were also erected as part of the project. Nineteen years later, a second urban development plan was implemented with a newly constructed railway linking Battambang to Phnom Penh. The urban structures were extended to the west of the town creating urban hubs oriented around the railway station. The large residential villas and public buildings built during this period of French development significantly changed the landscape of the previously remote city. A subsequent third urban development plan for Battambang involved the north, east and south of the city. This vast undertaking, which required long-term planning to integrate all of the previous work, resulted in a modern provincial capital that was by far the most developed region of Cambodia outside of Phnom Penh.
Much later, more infrastructure and public facilities were built under the modernization program of the Cambodian government led by Prince Sihanouk. Several provincial departments, a court house and other public buildings were added on both sides of the river. Textile and garment factories were built by French and Chinese investors, the Battambang Airport was constructed, and the railway line was extended to the Thai border at Poipet. To serve the cultural needs of the population, numerous schools and a university were built as well as a sports centre, museum and an exhibition hall.
Where to visit and activities:
Wat Ek, Prasat Banan, Prasat Snung, Phnom Sampov, Sek Sak Resort, Nory (Bamboo Train), Battambang Circus (Phare Ponleu Selpak)