After visiting the majestic ruins of Angkor, we took the bus towards the southern side of the Tonle Sap which brought us into the town of Battambang. Beyond the well-trodden tourist paths, we hoped to get a better glimpse of the local life. The following day, we organised a tuk-tuk-driver who showed us around the countryside for a day – and we had a really great time! Although the ancient ruins of nearby Wat Banan cannot compare with those of Angkor, they have a much more secluded feeling. In any case, the major sight in the area is the prominent hill of Phnom Sampeau with a beautiful golden stupa at its top. There are several caves in the hill which were used as torture chambers by the Khmer Rouge and now serve as a sad reminder of this tragic part of Cambodian history. The last stop on our way back to Battambang was a local market where fish from the Tonle Sap is either sold directly or ground into a grey paste used to prepare soup.
Following on our short detour to Battambang, we continued our journey towards the capital of Cambodia: Phnom Penh.