- Place or Religious Monument
- Place or Historical Monument
- Off the beaten track
It only takes about an hour to visit the temple of Banan but it makes a really nice half day excursion. I didn't think Wat Banan was exceptional, and especially if you go there directly from Siem Reap you'll get a feeling of deja vu!
Nonetheless, the temple is worth looking at as it's the best preserved in the region and the view from the top is magnificent: you can see Phnom Sampov (Battambang's sacred mountain) and look over all the rice paddies that fill the countryside around Battambang - and yes, Battambang rice is supposed to be the best in the world! Its shape strongly reminds you of Angkor Wat, only in miniature.
When you arrive at the temple you have to go up 400 steps to get to the top, but once you are there the air is cool. My advice is to take a picnic with you and make the most of the place after your long climb! Actually, it's better to visit it in the morning because the afternoon is really too hot and humid.
I went several times to Wat Banan, which for architecture and sculpture enthusiasts is the temple to see in the vicinity of Battambang . The place is not very touristic and highly frequented by the Khmer. I was lucky enough to meet a group of Cambodian artists who had come to sketch. They were delighted to show me their drawings and above all to take photos of me in turn. I spent a memorable moment!
I find that you really feel like you are in Cambodia thanks to the wild and pastoral atmosphere. You also enjoy a beautiful viewpoint on the region.
While I was staying in Cambodia , I had the opportunity to visit the temple during the rainy season which is by far my favourite, and it gave it a distinct charm, as a part of the staircase leading to the temple is flooded. I therefore had to cross over in a makeshift boat and bend to avoid hitting a tree branch, while some children played with rubber rings, quite epic!