As a border with Thailand, located at the far end of Cambodia, Banteay Meanchey is the 13th largest province in Cambodia with the population of 677,872 people, equal to 5.1% of the whole population. However, the production of its goods and services is smaller than its population. This distant province is considered, though, a good spot for friendly faces and hospitality. Besides its borderline status, it hides some remaining legacies, once part of the Khmer Empire.
Banteay Meanchey Province is bordered with Ordar Mean Chey to the north, Siem Reap to the East, Battambang to the South and Thailand to the West and North.
The province is subdivided into 7 Districts and 2 Cities, which are subdivided into 55 Communes (Khum), 10 Sangkats, and 652 villages (Phum).
|No||Code||Name in Khmer||Name in English||Commune||Sangkat||Village|
||Preah Netr Preah
||Serei Saophoan City
||Paoy Paet City
The major area of Banteay Meanchey’s economic flow is farming, followed by fisheries and trading. In particular, rice paddies play a big role in the provincial economy. However, as a significant border to Thailand, casino businesses become a booming sector, according to Angkor Focus. Trading is getting better for the two countries as the new checkpoint is under construction. And a new road connecting with that checkpoint is also under development, reported in Phnom Penh Post.
As part of the Khmer Empire and once controlled by Thailand until the French protectorate, this province is famous for its valuable masterpiece ‘Banteay Chhmar’, transliterated as ‘Tiny Citadel’ (often mistranslated as “Citadel of Cats”). The temple was built originally as an offering to King Jayarvarman VII’s son. But it has also become Pol Pot’s stronghold, during his regime. Around the ruins, you can visit the Mekong Silk Center, and gain some insight into rural life and wildlife.
Exploring the countryside landscapes, meeting with villagers, and viewing the rural lifestyle, can be your lifetime experience. The villagers are quite familiar with new faces and homestay is available for most tourists. Mekong Silk Center should outshine ecotourism in other provinces, as you can find out about the locals and learn about silk making processes. No such huge buildings as shopping malls have been built yet in Banteay Meanchey. Still, iconic casinos in Poi Pet city make for its familiar sights to those who cross the border and keep this part busier than the provincial town itself. Local people in other parts tend to peacefully perform their daily life as farmers, according to Tourism Cambodia.
No other way is available to reach Banteay Meanchey than land transportation. However, it can be reached from different departure points, namely Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Thailand through the Poi Pet border. The price depends on the different standards and types of vehicles you prefer. Yet, many options can be made upon your budget. The fees generally start at 10 dollars or below, because you can also take a night bus from Phnom Penh to see the sunrise in Banteay Meanchey.