Most people visit Cambodia to visit the magnificent Angkor Wat Complex in Siem Reap. The longer I stay in Cambodia the more I find out about similar sites in other parts of the country. Banan Temple is one of those places and it can be found in Battambang.
Banan Temple can be found in the district of Banan, a bit out of the way if you’re coming from Phnom Sempeau, luckily, Hapi, our tuktuk driver/guide that time know some shortcuts.
As soon as we arrived at Banan, Hapi parked his tuktuk and explained some bit of facts about the temple. He mentioned that the temple on top of the hill is still intact but some original parts were looted in the past. All the stones are original and the same materials used in the building of Angkor Wat. However, the stone steps (350 steps) were already replaced with larger ones to make climbing the hill safer for pilgrims and visitors.
Banan Temple is a functional temple and a lot of locals go here to make some offerings and prayers. In case you visit, please observe silence especially when there’re people praying.
I also noticed that there are children along the first few steps waiting and are accompanying visitors on their ascent to the temple. Most of them are carrying paper/bamboo fans and will make sure that you feel a bit cool and refresh as you climb up by constantly “fanning the cool breeze” towards you. These kids are quite persistent but not pushy and will accompany you up to the top in exchange of a few coins perhaps.
Here are some pictures I took at Banan:
Start of the 350 step ascent…
Vandalism on Cactus?!?
Here are some tips to enjoy your Banan Temple Tour:
1. Wear Shoes with Good Grip: Some portions of the stairs are a bit steep and for those who are afraid of heights like me would feel more comfortable ascending and descending using a non-slip shoes.
2. Bring a Bottled Water: It has 350 steps and by the time you reach the top you might feel a bit exhausted. So bring a bottled water to keep you hydrated and refresh.
3. Use Sunscreen: Cambodia can get very very hot and exposure to the sun for a long time can have an ill effect to some people. Make sure to protect your skin with sunscreen before you venture out.
4. Pay Some Respect: As I’ve said earlier, Banan Temple is a functional temple and there are locals making some offerings and praying at the temple, kindly observe silence.