Battambang: Private Banan Hill Temple and Wat Ek Phnom Tour
- Transportation included
- Duration: 5 hours
- Private group
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My wife and I had a great time on this adventure that was full of info, some tips and 'secrets' as well as generally had a great time with the host/guide Pol (aka Mr Friday!). It was made especially special because we were the only guests on the tour, picked up by private 'limousine' at our hotel Templation, driving off towards Tonle Sap lake, stopping at a restaurant famous for the Lotus Flowers it also cultivates - learning why the Lotus is such an important flower, how versatile it is. We also heard the tales of the bloody civil war and at times tense situation between the Khmer and Vietnamese families of the lake. Living as they have been for decades, the 900 or so families living on the lake are Vietnamese, yet have no passports and are granted to stay on the lake by the Cambodian government. Had a thrilling time seeing the Crocodiles of the Croc farm before getting to the Queen Tara where we enjoyed our dinner and free flow beverages/alcohol watching the sunset.
I have been once before - 18 years ago. Back then it was during the wet season and the houses were much closer together. Regardless, it was still good to see the village again. Unlike my first visit where one boarded the boat very close to the village, this time the boat took about 20 minutes to reach the village. The only negative about that is that the motor in the boat was very loud and unless you were sitting right next to the guide, you couldn’t hear a word he was saying. This meant that once the motor stopped, the guide had to repeat everything again (which he happily did). I enjoyed going to the lotus/fish farm. I was concerned though, that the fish, when they needed to be fed dry food, became ill and this was remedied by giving them antibiotics. There’s a big problem with people becoming immune to antibiotics and I would have thought eating fish that have been given antibiotics would exacerbate the situation.
Our guide was so patient, smiley and funny. He made lots of jokes along the way and he was super helpful. You get picked up by a small bus, then head to the rice and lotus fields which are really cool. Our guide told us all about how to use different parts of the lotus and the history of the area. We saw the crocodile farm (kind of awful) but interesting at the same time. You get there on a boat and go along the floating village area. Kids pull up alongside you in small boats holding pythons, it was weirdly incredible to see these small kids standing up like it was no big deal with a giant python. They ask for a dollar. Then you head towards the big boat for dinner. The sunset was absolutely stunning!! The boat is docked and the food and drinks on board are good, don’t expect fine dining or anything but it was tasty and enjoyable!! The only sad part is it ends so quickly, we loved our experience thank you!!
A great alternative way to see the temple complex close to Siem Reap. PROS: you get a bit of exercise, get to see bits of the complex most other tourists on tours don’t see, cycle through the jungle. CONS: you miss a few of the the more minor standard tourist sites such as the Elephant Terrace. But I had a 3 day pass so can go there with a tuk tuk like the rest of the world another day. my guide Li Lyhin Was excellent, well informed and very hospitable. He paced the ride perfectly to meet my pace. We also had a tasty breakfast and lunch and plenty of snacks, water and cold towels.
the 3 of us went for this tour in Nov-2019 - and we enjoyed ourselves very much ... the tour guide was very knowledgeable ... the lotus farm visit was a good eye opener for us ... the lake visit was an even bigger eye opener for us ... and the sunset dinner was such an experience ! ... we were the only visitors on the lake after sunset ! ... I would recommend this tour for families ...