Regional Information - West of Cambodia Battamang and Banteay Meanchey

Battambang Province

 During the pre-Angkor and Angkor eras, the areas to the north and to the north west of the Tonle Sap Lake were known as the territories of Amogha Boreak and Bhima Boreak. During the Angkor period, the territory of Amogha Boreak was significantly prosperous because the land was so fertile that rice crops, fruit and vegetables produced excellent yields. Many Khmer people settled there as indicated by the existence of so many ancient temples in the area. With the exception of the temples of Wat BananEk PhnomBaseth, Stung, Banteay TeyBanteay Chmar, etc.,other monuments, which were built by dignitaries and subjects at the time as places of worship to God and other deities of Buddhism and Hinduism, almost completely disappeared.

 From the late 18th century until early in the 20th century, the Siamese ruled Battambang and placed it under the rule of the Lord Chaofa Ben family, which was later known as the Akpheyyavong Family. This lasted for 6 generations and ended in 1907. While under Thai rule, the province was a changwat of Thailand called Phra Tabong.
The French Siamese Treaty of March 23, 1907, obliged the Siamese to return territories that they had occupied for more than a century. These included Battambang, Siem Reap and Angkor, in exchange for Trat province and the area of Dach Se (Lao territory) in the upper catchment area of the Mekong River. On December 6, 1907, His Majesty Preah Bat Sisowath issued a royal declaration splitting Battambang into 3 provinces: Battambang, Siem Reap and Serei Sophorn. In 1925, Battambang was divided again into two provinces: Battambang and Siem Reap, with Battambang having two districts: Battambang and Serei Sophorn. By 1940, Battambang consisted of 7 districts: Battambang, Sangke, Maung Russey, Monkol Borei, Toeuk Cho, Serei Sophorn, and Bei Thbaung.
In May 1953, the Poi Pet administration was founded and ordered under the district of Serei Sophorn which was divided into two districts: Serei Sophorn and Banteay Chmar. In March 1965, the administration of Poi Pet, was elevated to the status of a district named O Chrov. In July 1965, part of the territory of Maung Russey was separated to become the administration of Kors Kralor. In March 1966, another new district Thmar Pouk was founded and the district of Banteay Chmar was cut off from the province of Battambang for incorporation into Oddor Meanchey province, another newly founded province. In the early years of the Khmer Rouge, two new districts were established: Banan and Kors Lor. During the 3 years and 9 months of theKilling Fields, Battambang saw its people evacuated by Pol Pot's men from the city and towns and relocated to remote and mountainous areas. The province of Battambang, once known as the rice bowl of the country, was turned into a site of torture, killings, and starvation.
The province of Battambang was completely liberated from the genocidal regime on January 13, 1979. At that time, the People’s Committee of commune-Sangkat was founded through the first-ever elections in 1983. Between 1979 and 1986, Battambang had 9 districts and one provincial town.
In 1986, three new districts were created: Banan, Bovel, and Ek Phnom. Until that point, Battambang had 12 districts and 1 provincial town. In 1988, however 5 districts were separated and incorporated into the newly founded province of Banteay Meanchey.
In 1998, following the integration of the remaining territory of the former Democratic Kampuchea, the province of Battambang saw part of its territory separated for the municipality of Pailin, while 4 new districts were established: Samlot, Kamreang, Phnom Proeuk and Sampov Loun. In 2000, part of the district of Maung Russey was split off to become the district of Koas Krala.
 
Economy
Known as the Rice Bowl of Cambodia the province has a strong agricultural economy with a great production of rice. In the 2006 rainy season 2,440.14 km² of rice, were cultivated for production and the average rice yielded 2.2 tons per hectare, with the total output standing at 536,830.80 tons. With the amount reserved for consumption, seeds, animal food, and waste during harvest, there were about 300,000 tons left for sale. The Department of Agriculture in Cambodia has provided quality rice seed varieties like the Romduol and Senpidor strains for farmers to grow on their rice fields as a demonstration and have allocated significant funds towards experimentation in many of the provinces districts.
In addition to rice, subsidiary crops were also planted on 98,342 hectares, including some 420 km² of corn, 400 km² of red corn, 180 km² of cassava, 2.42 km2 of sweet potatoes and many other crops including green beans and chillies. There was a total of 501.78 km² of industrial crops with ground nutssoybeanjutesugarcane produced. The Province also produces notable quantities of pineapplesesamegrapefruitoil palm and saffron.
 
 Rice cropping plays an important role in the provincial economy. Besides arable farming, local people mainly indulge inlivestock breeding, rice seed production, the production of animal fodder, etc. while few operate animal breeding farms. Strategies laid out by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery, have intended to aid the transition from the tradition of growing long-term rice varieties to using medium- and short-term varieties and practicing nature-based intensive rice farming.

 

Battambang Province has 12 fishing lots and commercial fishing exceeded 7,000 tons in 2006 of which 990 tons of rice field fish were caught by local families. The province has 37 fishing communities, each with over 300 members.

During this monsoon season, snakeheads and snakehead murrels are a common target of fishing with a significant increase in stock in recent years due to the Ministry of Agriculture imposing restrictions on illegal fishing to ensure sustainability.
 Attractions
 The multiple use area includes some of the country's richest farmland, but nearly 330 km² is covered by rain forest, home to a wide array of rare vegetation and wildlife.
 
 Snake head fishing plays a role in the provincial economy. Due to the limited resources of the kingdom, Samlaut has received little government management or enforcement. WildAid's Maddox Jolie Pitt Project, (named for the adopted son ofAngelina Jolie and Brad Pitt,) has provided funding for rangers to protect Samlaut's forests. On October 3, 2006, the Cambodian Ministry of Environment and the National Park Service of the United States signed an agreement making theSequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks sister parks to Samlaut. The agreement facilitates the sharing of experience, skills, technical knowledge, and professional abilities between the two protected areas.
 
Phnom Sampov Hill 
A natural hill of Cambodia located in the west of Battambang provoding the beautiful view of the surrounded land scape and Battambang province
Wat Ek Phnom
Wat Ek Phnom is a 10th century temple .
Wat Banan
Wat Banan located some 25 km south of Battambong City is like a smaller version of the rather more illustrious Angkong Wat. Built in the 10th century, it is very popular at weekends with Khmer families out on picnics.
 Kamping Pouy
Kamping Pouy is the site of both a recreational lake and one of the Khmer Rouge's grander schemes, a massive hand-built dam stretching between two hills.
 Culture
The Battambang Provincial Service of Culture and Fine Arts is a local government agency, responsible for providing information and directives on culture and fine arts from central government, to issuing performing permits to registered arts organisations in the province. It is responsible both to the provincial government on administrative and operational matters and to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts in Phnom Penh on cultural matters.

The Battambang region is also known for producing some of the best Pradal Serey boxers.

Svay Sisophon, Banteay Mean Chey province

Banteay Meanchey town of Sisophorn is about 359km from Phnom Penh via national road number 5, located in the West of Cambodia. It borders with Thailand to the west and North, with Oddar Meancheay to the North, with Siem Reap to the East and with Battambang to the South. It is one of the most known places in that province is Poipet, a town ontheThailand/Cambodia border.  Banteay Meanchey is a crossing point between the two countries, and also extremely popular as off the beaten track Banteay Chhma near the Cambodian immigration camps.

Poipet is adjacent to the city of Aranya Pratet on the Thai side of the border.

Banteay Chhma temple

Ban Teay Chhmar temple is the main tourist attractive site of the province in luring foreign tourists to visit. In the far northwestern corner of Cambodia the looted Angkorian temple of Banteay Chhmar sits teetering on the brink of a revival. A paved dirt road scheduled to start construction this year is bound to increase visitors. Established by King Jayavarman VII and situated some 15km from the Thai border, Banteay Chhmar is often compared to Angkor Thom in size and structure. The complex is full of sandstone bas-reliefs that tell stories of ancient Cambodian battles. Witnessing the preservation of the temple and experiencing the beauty of the local community will reward the adventurous traveller. 

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