You have heard about the beautiful cities of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. But amongst the picture-worthy cities of Cambodia is the less-known city of Battambang. It has the perfect balance of being a large city with a provincial lifestyle. In fact, you will find hotels Battambang has to be cheaper than those in the capital.
The upside of not being an overrated tourist destination is that Battambang continues to keep its laid-back ambiance. Although it lacks the resorts of Sihanoukville, the Angkor Wat of Siem Reap, and the urban vibe of Phnom Penh, there’s still so much you can see and do during your visit.
Here are five of the best reasons why you should travel to Battambang.
Architecture and Temples
Battambang was once under the French colony hence the distinct French-colonial designs of their buildings. Take a walk on the streets and get a free view of the many impressive architectures of the city. Such buildings include shops, galleries, and hotels Battambang offers that have survived the war.
From the city architecture, you can then take a trip to visit the temples of Battambang. Take a tour to the Baset Temple, Wat Ek Phnom, Prasat Banan, and Prasat Snung. You can even take a side trip to the popular Kamping Puoy Lake or dip in the natural resort of Sek Sak Resort.
Tuk-tuk is very common anywhere in Cambodia. But Battambang has their own bamboo trains for transportation. Because of the intermittent train service in the country, locals have designed an open train cart made of bamboo to shuttle produce and people to and from different points.
Explore the jungle-esque pathway as you are carted to your destination.
An amazing part of the experience is to witness the swift dismantling of the bamboo train to make way for any incoming cart from the opposite direction.
The local restaurants in Battambang are worth visiting too. Taste traditional Khmer cuisine, such as the famous amok (fish curry), bai cha (fried rice), and ka tieu (noodle soup). You can also taste traditional sticky rice samples paired with slices of mango. Western food is served on the local restaurants as well. Get your fix of burger, pizza, or fries served in a Khmer diner.
Cambodia has come a long way since the reign of the Khmer Rouge. Nevertheless, the people living in the country, particularly in Battambang, has maintained the peaceful rural living outside the central city.
Experience this first-hand when you visit the Pheam Ek village where spring roll wraps are made. You can also see the actual sun-drying process for fishes that are sold locally. While you’re at it, you can talk to the residents for a taste of their kralan sticky rice. It is a good place for you to unplug from technology and from the city buzz.
Phare Circus Shows
Battambang is the home of the famous Phare circus. Although most of their shows are in Siem Reap, you still get the chance to watch a few shows in the Phare Ponleu Selpak Circus. Schedules vary every week from two to four nights. The performers are students of the circus programs organized by Phare. They are the same people who perform in their Siem Reap shows.
Where to Stay in Battamabang
Battambang has a sufficient number of accommodation options. There are bunk beds for backpackers and fancier star-quality hotels Battambang too. Hotel La Villa for one is an excellent choice for solo, couple, or group travelers. Finding a place to stay will be the least of your problems when in the city.
Explore more of the relaxing city of Battambang. Take note of this guide as you plan your next holiday in Cambodia. From traditional local dishes to historical French-inspired architecture, there are plenty of reasons why you should pay this place a visit.
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