Battambang Cambodia

26th September 2023

Battambang Travel Guide: History, Facts, How To Reach, Best Time To Visit (2023)

In this blog post, we’ve got you covered with the ultimate Battambang travel guide, packed with exciting activities and hidden gems waiting to be explored.

From our experience of leading group trips here, we’ve discovered the captivating charm of Battambang that will leave you awe-inspired. This vibrant city in Cambodia is a treasure trove of cultural wonders, rich history, and breathtaking landscapes.

So, fasten your seatbelts as we take you on a thrilling journey through Battambang, revealing the best things to do, must-visit attractions, and insider tips that will make your trip truly unforgettable.

Get ready to embark on an adventure like no other in this captivating destination!

Why Visit Battambang?

Battambang, the hidden gem of Cambodia, beckons travelers with its irresistible charm and a myriad of reasons to visit. Nestled amidst lush landscapes and a rich cultural tapestry, this enchanting city offers an authentic and off-the-beaten-path experience that will leave you spellbound.

Immerse yourself in Battambang’s captivating history as you explore ancient temples, such as the majestic Wat Ek Phnom and the revered Prasat Banan.

Take a stroll along the picturesque Sangker River, where you can witness the vibrant daily life of locals and soak in the peaceful ambiance. Don’t miss the opportunity to hop on a traditional bamboo train, an exhilarating ride that showcases the ingenuity of local transportation.

Battambang is also a hub of artistic expression, boasting a thriving art scene with numerous galleries and workshops. Discover the vibrant street art adorning the city’s walls or catch a captivating performance at Phare Ponleu Selpak, an extraordinary circus that showcases the talents of local artists.

History of Battambang

The history of Battambang is steeped in ancient traditions and captivating tales that have shaped the city into what it is today. Dating back to the 11th century, Battambang was founded during the Angkorian era, and its name translates to “disappearing stick” in Khmer. The city played a significant role as a strategic trading hub along the Sangker River, connecting Cambodia with neighboring countries.

Battambang’s history is intertwined with the rise and fall of the Khmer Empire, witnessing the construction of magnificent temples and the rule of various kings.

The city flourished under the reign of King Jayavarman VII, leaving behind a legacy of impressive architectural wonders like the ancient temples of Wat Ek Phnom and Prasat Banan. Over the centuries, Battambang faced periods of turmoil, colonial influences, and the impact of the Khmer Rouge regime.

However, it has managed to preserve its cultural heritage and emerge as a vibrant and resilient city.

Facts about Battambang

  • Battambang is the second-largest city in Cambodia, known for its rich history and cultural heritage.
  • The city is home to impressive ancient temples, including Wat Ek Phnom and Prasat Banan, which are must-visit attractions for history enthusiasts.
  • Battambang offers a unique experience with its famous bamboo train, where you can take a thrilling ride through the scenic countryside.
  • The city boasts a vibrant art scene, with numerous galleries and workshops showcasing local talent and creativity.
  • Battambang is a food lover’s paradise, offering a wide array of delicious Khmer cuisine, street food delicacies, and local specialties that will tantalize your taste buds.

Things to Do In & Around Battambang

1. Explore the Ancient Temples

Embark on a captivating journey through time as you explore the ancient temples of Battambang. Step into a world of architectural marvels and spiritual sanctuaries that bear witness to the city’s rich history and cultural heritage.

From the majestic Wat Ek Phnom to the awe-inspiring Prasat Banan, each temple offers a unique glimpse into the past. Marvel at intricate stone carvings, towering pagodas, and serene courtyards as you immerse yourself in the mystique of these sacred sites.

Feel the spiritual energy as you discover hidden chambers and ornate shrines, providing a deeper understanding of Cambodia’s ancient traditions. Don’t forget to catch a glorious sunrise or sunset, painting the temples in a golden hue and creating a truly enchanting atmosphere.

  • Location: Battambang, Cambodia
  • Opening Hours: Varies per temple

2. Take a Bamboo Train Ride

Hold on tight as you embark on a thrilling adventure aboard the legendary Bamboo Train. Experience the unique mode of transportation that has captured the hearts of travelers worldwide.

Feel the breeze in your hair as you glide along the rustic tracks, passing through picturesque countryside and vibrant green rice fields. The bamboo platform, fitted with wheels and powered by a small engine, provides a one-of-a-kind journey through the heart of Battambang’s rural landscapes.

As you speed along, witness the daily lives of locals, catch glimpses of grazing cows, and exchange smiles with curious children along the way. The Bamboo Train ride is not just a mode of transportation; it’s an exhilarating experience that allows you to connect with the charm and simplicity of Cambodian village life.

  • Location: O Dambong, Battambang
  • Opening Hours: Varies

3. Visit the Phare Ponleu Selpak Circus

Prepare to be mesmerized by the extraordinary talent of the performers at the Phare Ponleu Selpak Circus. This captivating circus troupe showcases a unique blend of acrobatics, dance, music, and storytelling that will leave you in awe.

Witness breathtaking stunts, graceful movements, and a powerful display of creativity and passion. The circus not only provides an entertaining spectacle but also supports a social enterprise that empowers underprivileged youth through arts education.

By attending a performance, you contribute to the development of these talented individuals and the preservation of Cambodian arts and culture.

  • Location: Battambang, Cambodia
  • Opening Hours: Showtimes vary

4. Wander through the Battambang Night Market

Indulge your senses in the vibrant atmosphere of the Battambang Night Market. As the sun sets, the riverside comes alive with a kaleidoscope of colors, sounds, and enticing aromas.

Explore a labyrinth of stalls offering an array of local handicrafts, souvenirs, clothing, and delicious street food. Engage in friendly haggling with vendors, sample delectable Khmer snacks, and immerse yourself in the lively energy of the market.

From handmade crafts to mouthwatering treats, the Battambang Night Market is a treasure trove for those seeking unique mementos and a taste of local flavors. Take your time, embrace the bustling ambiance, and create lasting memories of your visit to this enchanting city.

  • Location: Along the riverside, Battambang
  • Opening Hours: Evenings

5. Discover Battambang’s Art Galleries

Immerse yourself in the vibrant art scene of Battambang as you explore its eclectic art galleries. This city has become a hub for local and international artists, showcasing a diverse range of artistic expressions.

Wander through gallery spaces adorned with captivating paintings, sculptures, and mixed-media works that reflect the unique perspectives and narratives of the artists. Engage in conversations with gallery owners and artists, gaining insights into their creative processes and inspirations.

From contemporary art to traditional Khmer motifs, the art galleries of Battambang offer an enriching experience for art enthusiasts and cultural enthusiasts alike.

  • Location: Various locations in Battambang
  • Opening Hours: Varies per gallery

6. Cruise along the Sangker River

Embark on a leisurely cruise along the serene Sangker River, allowing the tranquil waters to guide you through the picturesque landscapes of Battambang. Drift past verdant rice paddies, lush vegetation, and charming floating villages as you soak in the peaceful ambiance of the river.

Watch local fishermen cast their nets, observe the daily activities of riverside communities, and witness the captivating beauty of nature.

The river cruise offers a serene respite from the bustling city, providing a unique perspective on the local way of life. Sit back, relax, and let the gentle currents carry you on a journey of serenity and natural splendor.

  • Location: Battambang, Cambodia
  • Opening Hours: Daytime

7. Visit the Killing Caves of Phnom Sampeau

Delve into Cambodia’s tragic history with a visit to the haunting Killing Caves of Phnom Sampeau. This somber memorial stands as a reminder of the Khmer Rouge regime’s atrocities.

Explore the caves that once served as execution sites, paying respects to the victims and reflecting on the country’s past. Ascend to the hilltop pagoda for a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside, a poignant contrast to the solemnity below.

Gain a deeper understanding of Cambodia’s resilience and the importance of remembrance as you visit this significant historical site.

  • Location: Phnom Sampeau, Battambang
  • Opening Hours: Daytime

8. Take a Cooking Class and Learn Khmer Cuisine

Indulge your taste buds and immerse yourself in the flavors of Khmer cuisine through a cooking class in Battambang. Join expert local chefs as they guide you through the vibrant world of Cambodian cooking.

Discover the secrets of traditional recipes, learn to balance flavors and spices, and create mouthwatering dishes. From famous dishes like fish amok and lok lak to lesser-known delicacies, the cooking class experience offers a hands-on immersion into the culinary traditions of Cambodia.

Unleash your inner chef, savor the fruits of your labor, and take home the skills to recreate these delectable dishes in your own kitchen.

  • Location: Various cooking schools in Battambang
  • Opening Hours: Varies per cooking class

9. Explore the Countryside by Bicycle

Embark on an adventurous journey through the picturesque countryside of Battambang on a bicycle. Pedal along quiet rural roads, passing through lush landscapes, quaint villages, and vibrant farmlands.

Feel the refreshing breeze against your skin as you immerse yourself in the natural beauty that surrounds you. Encounter friendly locals along the way, who will greet you with warm smiles and wave as you explore their communities.

Cycling allows you to discover hidden gems off the beaten path, giving you a unique perspective of the authentic Cambodian way of life. So grab a bicycle, set off on an unforgettable expedition, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

  • Location: Battambang, Cambodia
  • Opening Hours: Daytime

10. Visit the Bamboo Sticky Rice Village

Delve into the culinary traditions of Battambang by visiting the Bamboo Sticky Rice Village. Witness the intricate process of cooking sticky rice inside bamboo tubes, a cherished local specialty.

Learn about the age-old techniques passed down through generations and gain insights into the cultural significance of this culinary practice. Engage with the friendly villagers, who will gladly share their stories and traditions with you.

Indulge in the delectable flavors of freshly cooked bamboo sticky rice, infused with fragrant coconut and other delicious ingredients. This unique culinary experience offers a glimpse into the rich gastronomic heritage of Battambang and is a must-visit for food enthusiasts seeking an authentic taste of Cambodia.

  • Location: Battambang, Cambodia
  • Opening Hours: Varies

11. Experience the Flavors of the Battambang Vineyards

Embark on a delightful journey through the Battambang vineyards and indulge in the flavors of locally produced wines. Set amidst rolling hills and lush vineyards, these wineries offer a unique wine-tasting experience in Cambodia.

Sample a variety of wines, including reds, whites, and rosés, made from carefully selected grape varietals. Learn about the winemaking process and the challenges of cultivating vineyards in this tropical climate.

Enjoy the serene surroundings as you sip on fine wines and savor the exquisite notes and aromas. Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or simply seeking a leisurely afternoon, the Battambang vineyards provide a delightful escape and a taste of Cambodian viticulture.

  • Location: Battambang, Cambodia
  • Opening Hours: Varies per vineyard

12. Discover Battambang’s Traditional Handicrafts

Immerse yourself in the world of traditional handicrafts as you explore the vibrant art scene of Battambang. Discover skilled artisans crafting intricate products that showcase the rich cultural heritage of Cambodia.

Visit workshops and studios where you can witness the meticulous process of creating traditional crafts, such as silk weaving, pottery, wood carving, and silver jewelry making. Engage with the artisans, learn about their techniques, and appreciate the incredible craftsmanship that goes into each piece.

Support local artisans by purchasing unique handmade souvenirs, ensuring the preservation of these age-old traditions. Exploring Battambang’s traditional handicrafts is not only an opportunity to acquire unique treasures but also a chance to connect with the artisans and gain a deeper appreciation for their invaluable contributions to Cambodian culture.

  • Location: Various locations in Battambang
  • Opening Hours: Varies per shop/studio

How to Reach Battambang

By Air – Fly into Siem Reap International Airport, which is the nearest major airport to Battambang. From the airport, you can hire a private taxi or take a shared minivan to Battambang, which is approximately a 3 to 4-hour drive away.

By Bus – Several bus companies operate direct routes from major cities like Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Sihanoukville to Battambang. Buses offer a convenient and affordable mode of transportation, with both daytime and overnight options available.

Best Time to Visit Battambang

The best time to visit Battambang is during the dry season, which spans from November to March. During this period, the weather is generally pleasant with lower humidity levels and milder temperatures, making it ideal for outdoor exploration and activities. The dry season offers comfortable conditions for sightseeing, temple visits, and exploring the countryside.

If you prefer to avoid crowds, consider visiting Battambang during the shoulder seasons of November and March. These months offer a good balance between favorable weather and fewer tourists. However, it’s important to note that the dry season is generally the peak tourist season, so popular attractions may still have some crowds.

The wet season, from April to October, brings more rainfall and higher humidity levels to Battambang. While the landscapes are lush and vibrant during this time, outdoor activities may be limited due to the weather. However, if you don’t mind occasional showers and want to experience a quieter atmosphere, the wet season can still be a good time to visit, as prices may be lower and popular sites less crowded.

Where to Stay at Battambang

1. Bambu Hotel: Nestled in the heart of Battambang, Bambu Hotel offers a serene and stylish retreat. The boutique hotel features comfortable rooms adorned with traditional Khmer decor, a refreshing swimming pool, and a tranquil garden setting. With its central location, it’s an ideal base for exploring the city’s attractions, including the nearby Night Market and Riverside Promenade.

2. Classy Hotel & Spa: Offering a blend of luxury and comfort, Classy Hotel & Spa provides a refined stay in Battambang. The elegant rooms are tastefully furnished, and the hotel boasts a range of facilities, including a spa, fitness center, and an outdoor pool. Located near the city center, it provides easy access to popular landmarks, such as the Bamboo Train and Battambang Museum.

3. La Villa Battambang: Set in a beautifully restored colonial building, La Villa Battambang exudes charm and sophistication. The boutique hotel features spacious rooms with antique furnishings, a lush garden courtyard, and a delightful restaurant serving delectable French and Khmer cuisine. Situated in a quiet neighborhood, it offers a peaceful retreat while still being within walking distance of Battambang’s main attractions, including the Provincial Museum and Central Market.

Things to Know Before Visiting Battambang

  • Battambang is the second-largest city in Cambodia, known for its rich history and cultural heritage.
  • The local currency is the Cambodian Riel (KHR), but US dollars are widely accepted.
  • English is spoken by many locals, making communication easier for tourists.
  • Battambang has a tropical climate, with the dry season from November to March being the best time to visit.
  • Tuk-tuks and motorbike taxis are popular modes of transportation within the city.
  • It’s important to dress modestly when visiting temples and other religious sites.
  • Bargaining is common in markets and shops, so be prepared to negotiate for the best prices.

Things to avoid at Battambang

  • Avoid wearing revealing or inappropriate clothing when visiting religious sites.
  • Avoid drinking tap water; opt for bottled water to stay hydrated.
  • Avoid leaving valuables unattended or displaying them openly to prevent theft.
  • Avoid excessive displays of wealth or flashing large amounts of money in public.
  • Avoid getting involved in illegal activities or purchasing counterfeit goods.
  • Avoid giving money or gifts directly to children as it can perpetuate a cycle of dependency.
  • Avoid disrespecting local customs and traditions; be mindful and observe cultural etiquette.

Conclusion – Battambang Travel Guide

In conclusion, Battambang beckons travelers with its rich history, vibrant culture, and hidden treasures. From exploring ancient temples to indulging in local cuisine, this Battambang Travel Guide has unveiled the city’s charm.

Whether it’s cruising along the Sangker River, immersing in art galleries, or experiencing the thrill of the Bamboo Train, this Cambodian gem offers a truly unforgettable journey.

Discover Battambang’s warm hospitality, immerse in its local traditions, and create memories that will last a lifetime in this captivating destination. Let the spirit of Battambang enchant you with its unique allure.

FAQs – Battambang Travel Guide

What are the must-visit attractions in Battambang?

Battambang boasts must-visit attractions like the ancient temples of Wat Ek Phnom and Prasat Banan, offering glimpses into Cambodia’s history and architectural wonders. Don’t miss the thrilling Bamboo Train ride through picturesque landscapes or the enchanting performances at the Phare Ponleu Selpak Circus.

When is the best time to visit Battambang?

The best time to visit Battambang is during the dry season, from November to March, when the weather is pleasant and ideal for outdoor exploration.
Consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of November and March for a balance of favorable weather and fewer crowds.

What are the transportation options to get to Battambang?

You can fly into Siem Reap International Airport and then take a taxi or minivan to Battambang. Buses are a convenient option, with direct routes available from major cities like Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.

Are there good accommodation options in Battambang?

Battambang offers a range of accommodation options, including Bambu Hotel, Classy Hotel & Spa, and La Villa Battambang, providing comfortable stays with convenient locations.
These hotels offer amenities such as swimming pools, spas, and stylish rooms for a memorable stay.

What are the popular activities in Battambang?

Popular activities in Battambang include exploring the ancient temples, taking a bamboo train ride, and visiting art galleries showcasing local talent.
Cruising along the Sangker River, cooking classes to learn Khmer cuisine, and discovering traditional handicrafts are also highly recommended.

Is Battambang safe for travelers?

Battambang is generally safe for travelers, but it’s important to take usual precautions like safeguarding valuables and being aware of your surroundings.
Respect local customs, follow local laws, and ensure you have appropriate travel insurance coverage.

What should I know about the local culture in Battambang?

Battambang has a rich cultural heritage, and it’s important to dress modestly when visiting temples and religious sites.
Engaging with locals respectfully, learning a few basic Khmer phrases, and supporting local businesses contribute to a more immersive and rewarding cultural experience.

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