Affordable Hotel in Battambang
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Great Accommodation in Battambang, Cambodia
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Battambang Sunset

Phnom Banan

The 11th century mountaintop Angkorian ruin of Phnom Banan is the best preserved of the Khmer temples around Battambang. As you approach you will see the distinctive five towers pointing skyward, like a smaller version of Angkor Wat. At the base of the mountain you are faced with a steep laterite staircase flanked by nagas. After climbing the 350+ steps you are treated to a wonderfully peaceful setting. The temple was built by Udayadityavarman II, son of Suryavarman I, and despite some looting it is in a considerably better state of repair that Wat Ek Phnom. Several delightfully carved lintels remain above some of the towers doorways, others are now housed in the Battambang Museum. From the mountaintop are superb views across the surrounding countryside, with small villages dotting the endless rice paddies which are punctuated with the characteristic sugar palm trees. To the south you will see Crocodile Mountain, and to the north west Phnom Sampeau.

Towards the base of the mountain is a cave called L’Ang But Meas, it is quite a scramble down the mountainside to reach it, but worth it. After squeezing through an easy to miss fissure in a small rocky outcrop and after a couple of short squatted crawls the cave opens into two magical large airy caverns, with a shaft of light penetrating from above. Here you will see a large stalactite hanging from the ceiling with sacred sparkling water dripped from it into a bowl below. Local legend says that drinking this water leads to knowledge of the past, present, and future. The short walk around the base of the mountain back to the car park passes through a peaceful stretch of countryside where you can listen to the birds, skirt a small pond, and pass a very old traditional pagoda.