Battambang: An Introduction

Battambang is Cambodia's third largest city and the capital of Battambang Province. An elegant riverside town, it’s home to some of the best preserved colonial architecture in all Cambodia. Until recently Battambang was off the map for travellers, but conditions and facilities have recently been improved and it now makes a great base for visiting the nearby temples such as Phnom Banan, Wat Aek Phnom and several surrounding villages.

The streets of charming old French shops and houses clustered along the riverbank are the real highlight here, and there are also a number of wats scattered throughout the town. The small museum has a collection of Angkorian-era artifacts and beyond the town there are a number of Angkor-era temples such as the superb Prasat Banon with its 358 steps. Travel here is an absolute pleasure, exploring such a majestic temple but without the crowds of Siem Reap.

One of areas better known hills is Phnom Sampeau - home to the interesting Phnom Sam Pov Pagoda and the notorious 'Ghost Cave', infamous from the Khmer Rouge days. The caves make for an interesting visit despite their history and the lack of tourists make it far more acceptable to many than say Cheung Ek in Phnom Penh.

The bamboo train near Battambang, Western Cambodia

Battambang is fast becoming a major attraction, thanks in part to its close proximity to Thailand, the Tonlé Sap Lake and the Cardamom Mountains. Throw into the mix a wealth of interests of its own, particularly the ruins of Phnom Banan and the city centre Colonial architecture, and you have yourself a real gem.