Battambang is Cambodia's second biggest town located at the south west
provincial atmosphere: low buildings in French colonial architecture, rice paddies,
farmland and main streets shared by cars and horse carts. At this laid-back town,
you can get a refreshing change from touristy Siem Reap. Also, Battambang ...
Cambodia is a beautiful country with the temples of Angkor and Angkorian-era architecture.
Battambang Travel Guide
Battambang is Cambodia's second biggest town located at the south west of Tonle Sap Lake. Unlike other touristy towns, it still remains a very local and provincial atmosphere: low buildings in French colonial architecture, rice paddies, farmland and main streets shared by cars and horse carts. At this laid-back town, you can get a refreshing change from touristy Siem Reap. Also, Battambang is a pleasant place to explore in one or two days on foot and forms a great base for visiting the nearby temples and villages.
What to do?
Though it does not have the history or tourist attraction that Phnom Penh does, this place is an excellent place to visit because of its many ancient structures, including some well known ancient statues. The network of charming old French shop houses clustered along the riverbank is the real highlight here. Just take some time to wander around to see life in Battambang up close and try Khmer cuisine in food stands.
There are a number of wats (temples) scattered around the town. The small museum has a collection of Angkorian-era artifacts; and beyond the town there are a number of hilltop temples (Ek Phnom and Wat Ek Phnom, Phnom Banan temple, Barseat Temple and Prasat Snung Temple) and very old pagodas (more than 150 years).
Phnom Sampeau, the site of the local Killing Fields, is worth a visit.
Especially, the surrounding countryside harbors not only Angkorian-era temple ruins and pagodas but also offers some of the most picturesque rice paddy and village scenery in the country. Check out some of the local products in the making - rice paper, noodles and the fish paste market. It's all very traditional if not a bit unhygienic and smelly, but an interesting experience and adventure nonetheless. And ask your driver to take you to a rail crossing where you can meet a bamboo train or Nory to take a ride, one of the "must sees" of Battambang, if only for their novelty value.
When to go?
The best time to visit is during the rainy season or just after, when the fields flash in electric green revealing the full splendor and beauty of rural Cambodia, an attraction that leaves many a positive impression on foreign visitors, especially in case you take the boat from Siem Reap to Battambang.