Wat Banan – Battambang Province

WatBanan - the province of Battambang

Wat Banan temples

Wat Banan lions guarding steps - Battambang Province

Lions guarding steps Wat Banan

In the afternoon an interesting visit to Wat Banan temple some 27 km south of Battambang. Battambang Province has proved to be such an interesting rural area. Wat Banan is an Angkor era temple atop  an 1310 ft mountain at Koh Tey. Two lions guard the entrance to a set of wide steps, the steps guarded by the Naga at the next level, the beginning of the climb.

Naga steps - Wat Banan Battembang Province

Naga and rails flanking the steps to the top

There are about 370 ancient weather worn steps up a steep incline, shaded by leafy green trees and flanked by Naga balustrades all the way to Wat Banan, temple grounds.

Wat Banan Battambang Province

Wat Banan Five temples

Wat Banan Shrine Battambang Province

Wat Banan Temple Shrine

Wat Banan has five towers, first constructed in 1057 under the rule of  Udayadityavarman II (1050-1066), followed by a rebuild during the reign of King Jayavarman VII (1181-1220). Jayavarman VII during his thirty year reign completed an enormous building program throughout the country including Angkor Thom.

Wat Banan Battambang Province

The temples were fascinating in their own right, one with a shrine for worship, some intact, others in somewhat tumbledown state (or a rough rebuild); apparently the site  looted during earlier times.

Wat Banan Battambang Province

The five Wat Banan temples are primarily built from laterite, the temples show the pitted surface of time-worn blocks. Today the site appears well looked after and easy to walk around and view each temple. There is also a pleasant view from the top of the mountain across the plateau below.

Wat Banan  Battambang Province

The Naga balustrade provides a good hand rail for  going up or coming down the ancient steps. Some of the locals offer to go with you on the journey up and down the steps, fan you with a hand fan to keep you cool.  If you feel the heat you may find this quite beneficial on a hot day as the journey up is quite steep and the local ladies very sweet.

Wat Banan Naga Handrails Battambang Province

Naga Balustrade Wat Bannan

Rather glad of the Naga balustrade on the journey back down to the bottom of the steps. The Naga balustrade is a work of art in itself if you look at the length, the scales and design work. Each post supporting the balustrade has  a design  carved  on each surface. From the temple grounds a narrow staircase descends to a group of three caves, and for a small fee the local children are happy to show you around. You definitely need a torch to explore the caves. Caves aren’t my thing so I wasn’t temped to explore. In the grounds below Wat Banan you will notice the statue below and find food and drink stalls nearby.

Statue-food stalls - Wat Banan

Statue Wat Banan, Battambang Province

Our group returned to Battambang in time for a shower and change before dinner at the Bamboo Train Cafe and bar. We really enjoyed our evening meal here, the place has plenty of character and atmosphere, the meals all freshly prepared and delicious; the proprietor very congenial.

WatBananBambootrainBar

WatBananRestMenu

WatBananFood

Battambang Province has certainly been worth the visit; the Bamboo train, city sightseeing, potteries,temples and rural countryside experience.

Tomorrow looking forward to our boat trip down the Stung Sangke river before entering Tonle Sap and on to Siem Reap….

 

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Comments

  1. Lyn, I’m still huffing and puffing from my trip up the stairs at Wat Banan! Awesome post, great images and a fab trip down memory lane. We also did the Bamboo Train and loved it.

    Thanks for sharing!!

    Ryan

    • Hi Ryan, Yes, I was a bit puffed too by the time we reached the top. Nice flat area to explore among the temple ruins.The Bamboo trains is great fun and Battambang an extremely interesting rural area with such a lot to see. Cambodia a fascinating country to visit. Did you spend much time in Cambodia? Thanks so much for your comment.

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