Battambang provides relief from Phnom Penh bustle

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Wat Sampeou lies approximately 12 kilometers from Battambang at the top of a high hill and well worth the long, hot and steep climb.  (The temple has various spellings.) 

Battambang is the second largest city in Cambodia, yet it feels much like a one-horse town.

As Wikipedia puts it (why write when others have done it for me?):

Founded in the 11th century by the Khmer Empire, Battambang is well known for being the leading rice-producing province of the country. For nearly 100 years, it was a major commercial hub and provincial capital of Siamese province of Inner Cambodia (1795-1907), though it was always populated by Khmer with a mix of ethnic Vietnamese, Lao, Thai and Chinese. Still today Battambang is the main hub of the Northwest connecting the entire region with Phnom Penh and Thailand, and as such it’s a vital link to Cambodia.

The city is situated by the Sangkae River, a tranquil, small body of water that winds its way through Battambang Province providing its nice picturesque setting. As with much of Cambodia, the French Colonial architecture is an attractive bonus of the city. It is home to some of the best preserved French colonial architecture in the country.

Walking along the street doesn’t Continue reading

Thank the Chinese for combining a shop with a house


It was the Chinese who introduced to Cambodia in the late 18th century what is called the shophouse, a building with narrow frontage and a store, open living area and usually both on the ground floor.

Sometimes, the whole ground floor is devoted to sales, and the vendors live on the higher floors.  In New York City and elsewhere, of course, folks who reside in such a structure are said to be living over the store.

Here in Phnom Penh, block after block is lined with shophouses selling merchandise or services exposed to the street, in part because Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Manhattan sales pace up, condo prices rise, inventory is tight, rates hit another new low, consensus on recovery is developing

Townhouse where Weather Underground dwelling was destroyed in bomb explosion is listed for $10.9 million

Mystery buyer pays $90 million for Midtown penthouse at One57, breaking price record for an NYC condo

Entering a tall-buildings race, New York could have 6 of the 10 tallest buildings in the country by 2016

Majority of respondents prefer smoke-free living in the city

Madison Square’s commercial identity has in places ceded to residential character in recent years

Developers now show reluctance to offer incentives to purchasers of condos

Asking prices, sales zoom in Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: ‘Royalty,’ rates, prices, more

Luxury market in Brooklyn attains four-year high

When having your child sleep in a room, it really should have windows

Even homeowners facing foreclosure take to home repairs

For celebrity stalkers, there’s nothing like a cool map

New program aims to enable state courts to speed up foreclosures

Rents bordering Second Avenue subway drop but rise one avenue away

Mom, 92, battles son, 58, to get back into condo she owns

Slice of the Upper West Side overlooking Hudson River lacks name

Long Island City undergoes third wave of gentrification

Ambivalent about selling, a legendary interior designer lists his Manhattan pied-à-terre for $22.5 million. . . unfurnished

Some basketball player indulges Continue reading

West End Avenue landmarking moves a bit ahead

The city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) is taking early steps toward

Photo from the New York Daily News

designating as a historic district a large swath of West End Avenue from 70th Street to 107th Street, according to the Observer.

The LPC is currently surveying side streets that will form the borders of the district, said LPC spokeswoman Elisabeth de Bourbon. But not until next year will the measure be put on the LPC calendar, the first offical step toward landmarking.  Said de Bourbon: Continue reading