Battambang designates both the city and the province that is under its jurisdiction, and is one of the most interesting and attractive destinations in the entire Cambodia. Irrespective of the nature of your visit or of the type of tourism you’re in (eco tourism, tourism for a cause, or simply for pleasure), the second populous city in the country has plenty to offer.
A Little Bit of History and Geography
Battambang is located in the northwestern part of the country, by the Sangrek River and was initially founded during the times of the Angkor Empire. Due to its special position, it soon became the most important center for commerce in the area. This transformed the city into a Cambodian gate to and from Siam and, after 1939, Thailand.
This area of impact and continuous dialogue between two cultures and multiple ethnic groups creates the identity of Battambang, which still maintains an air of colonial architecture reminding of the French Protectorate who intermittently ruled over the area for almost half a century. The buildings, the peculiar city plan, and even the local lifestyle speak of such a complex cultural and social mixture.
Don’t Forget Your Camera
City’s attractions are focused on three different levels: historical temples, local culture, and nature and surroundings.
- Buddhist temples – Tourists are generally interested in the wide variety of building styles, but, apart from that, they are also a great starting point to learn about the ancient culture of Cambodia.
- Multiple Khmer traditions, especially rice cultivation, weaving, and pottery, transpire from the daily life in Battambang and in the villages around.
- Around Battambang you can discover truly marvelous natural and human-built wonders, like the Sam Puoy natural wells or the villages near Tonlé Sap.
And Buy a New Pair of Shoes
There’s plenty to do in the region, especially if you plan on visiting the city in the autumn or during winter, when the dry season provides a comfortable temperature and humidity. Modern attractions (bars, night clubs, cafés, shows, festivals, etc.) are available, but in this case in particular you’ll soon feel the urge to walk and see as much as possible. However, even if there are many attractions in the city, you should alternate between discovering the streets of Battambang with visiting the countryside. And forget not about Tonlé Sap.
- Rent a quad and visit villages near Battambang. We suggest Ba Set and Ta Nget.
- Take cooking classes featuring Khmer and Asian cuisines.
- Learn about the wats within the city.
- Visit nearby resorts, like Boeng Kam Pinh Puoy, located approximately 35 km away from Battambang.
- Try kayaking in the afternoon.
- Visit the Battambang Museum.
- Visit Ek Phnom, a vestige from the 11th century.
- Learn how rice paper is produced.
- Enjoy a full-day trip to Tonlé Sap.
Due to the partial isolation of the city, the area is not as full of tourists as its counterparts (mainly Siem Reap and Phnom Penh). Take advantage of this and try to benefit from a quiet vacation in an authentically exotic setting.