Battambang's Ancient Past

Most people head to Siem Reap to visit the Angkor ruins, but there are plenty of smaller yet significant ruins scattered all over Cambodia. Battambang has its own vestige of the country's storied past.

Looking Back at Battambang's Past

There are plenty of lesser known ancient ruins in different parts of Cambodia outside the more popular Angkor ruins in Siem Reap. Our crew of French and Filipinos headed to Wat Ek Phnom just outside the city.

There is a huge statue of Buddha just right next to Wat Ek Phnom. This newer temple looked abandoned and in disarray, eerily just like the ancient ruins next to it, albeit a tad bit newer.

The old temple had a lower floor that was flooded and also contained several statues of Buddha inside.

I liked how elaborate the Khmer temples are, they contrast the squalor and poverty surrounding them. Then again, it's sad to see the poverty (in some instances, institutionalized) and opulent religious temples side by side.

Wat Ek Phnom is an atmospheric 11th century temple left in a ruinous state. The temple was supposedly constructed in 1029 during the reign of King Sorayak Varman II. There was a woman there who did not speak a word of English, she tried to get me to donate something inside the temple.

There is always something romantic about walking inside a partly collapsed temple. The building blocks scattered all over the ground and the shadows of a richer past get me all the time, maybe I should go to Egypt next?

There were carvings that reminded me of the ones I saw in Siem Reap during my first visit to Cambodia in 2013.

Wat Ek Phnom maybe small in size and not as beautiful as the ruins I saw in Siem Reap, but the history that flows through it is just as important. There were no other tourists in the ruins aside from us because we decided to visit early. Wat Ek Phnom is worth a look during your stay in the sleepy town of Battambang.


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