Home to the famous bamboo train and colonial architecture, Battambang is a gem that is often skipped by many tourists. While Battambang may be the most underrated city in Cambodia, that doesn’t mean anything! There are plenty of amazing things to do in Battambang, Cambodia! Get our complete travel guide to Battambang province below!
9 Amazing Things To Do in Battambang Province
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Where is Battambang Cambodia?
First, let’s get our barring’s right, shall well? Battambang is located in Battambang Province in the northwestern section of Cambodia. Founded in the 11th century and nestled along the Sangkae River, Battambang is a charming city that is far less bustling than Siem Reap or Phnom Penh.
Check out our Three Week Cambodia Itinerary
How Many Days Do You Need in Battambang?
When visiting Battambang, we recommend spending at least two days in the area. Two days will allow you the time needed to see the city as well as the surrounding areas, like it’s countryside. If you are short on time and only have one day, that is 100% doable too. Two days just allows for a more relaxing pace.
What Is Battambang Known For?
Battambang leads the way in rice production for Cambodia, buuuuut we have a feeling that rice production isn’t a real draw for you to visit this place, are we right?! If you’ve been to other cities in Cambodia, like Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, you’ll immediately notice how “less” this place is. Less traffic, less chaos, and far fewer tourists.
The city is quaint and oh-so-charming with its well-preserved French colonial architecture. Basically, this place is an unexpected, delightful, laid-back surprise.
Check out: Tips for Planning Your Visit to Angkor Wat
Things To Do In Battambang Province
1) Take A Ride on The Bamboo Train
The bamboo train in Battambang is not your typical, modern train. Instead, it’s a bamboo plank on wheels that is powered by a tractor engine. Yup, amazing, right?! Getting up to 45kms / 30mph, you’ll fly down a 7-kilometer (4-mile) railway through the jungles of Cambodia.
There is something amazing about holding on for dear life as the wind whips through your hair! Good ole fashioned fun at its finest. The ride lasts around 30 – 40 minutes and costs around $5 USD per person.
2) Experience The Battambang Bat Caves at Sunset
As the sun sinks on the horizon watch thousands of bats fly out into the night sky! Located 12 km / 7 miles from the city center, the Bat Caves are a pretty unforgettable way to end a day of exploration! Once you arrive, you’ll notice a handful of cafes down the hill from the cave. Take a seat, grab a beverage, and wait to see the sunset bat extravaganza!
3) Visit The Battambang Killing Caves
If you plan on catching a sunset from the Bat Caves, consider coming a few hours earlier. The area around the caves has wonderful views, and a beautiful Buddhist temple, but a dark past.
The Killing Caves of Phnom Sampeau was one of the execution sites used by the Khmer Rouge during the Cambodian Genocide in the 1970s. No doubt, visiting the Killing Caves will be a somber experience. As you listen to the chirping birds and watch the monkeys play, it’s hard to imagine that crimes against humanity were committed in such a beautiful place.
4) Explore The Ruins of Wat Banan Temple
Wat Banan, also known as Phnom Banan, is located 22 km / 13 miles south of the city center of Battambang.
Built in the 11th century, Phnom Banan is a wonderful representation of ancient Khmer architecture. While it is nowhere near the caliber of Angkor Wat, the five towers form a resemblance to those of Angkor Wat. It’ll take you 350+ steps to reach the temple ruins, but in our opinion, well worth the climb if you are up for it!
5) Take a Cooking Class at Nary Kitchen
One of our favorite things to do when traveling to a new country is to understand the flavors of that country’s cuisine! Nary Kitchen is a family-run restaurant and cooking school! Offering morning and afternoon classes, tourists will learn how to cook four traditional Cambodian dishes for the price of $10 USD. A day cooking and eating tasty food is a day well spent, if you ask us 🙂
6) Walk Through Phsar Nath Market
Phsar Market is located in the city center, and if anything, a great place to take a stroll. This market caters more to the locals than the traditional tourist markets you may be familiar with within Asia. Take a walk through the Phsar Nath Market and see vendors selling everything from fruits and vegetables to clothing and electronics. A good way to kill an hour or so before heading off to your next stop!
7) Explore The Countryside
No visit to Battambang is complete without experiencing its rural countryside and villages. Two great ways to see the countryside is to hire a tuk-tuk driver for the day or book a cycling tour. Regardless of which option you choose, you’ll get to take in the sights and experience village life and the kindness of the Khmer people.
8) Volunteer at a Cambodian Orphanage
One of the best experiences we’ve ever had while traveling was spending the morning volunteering at an orphanage in Battambang. Run by the kindest man and his family, BOVA (Battambang Orphanage Village Assistance) is a school that teaches English to Cambodian children.
Spend the morning, or a full day, hanging out with sweet, smiley face children who are eager to learn and ask you “where do you come from!?” We promise it’ll be a day you will never forget. BOVA is an absolute MUST do when your visit Battambang.
9. Explore Wat Phnom Sampov
Located just outside of the Killing Caves, you’ll find Phnom Sampov perched beautifully at a top of a mountain. As you circle the temple’s parameter, you’ll be rewarded with amazing views of the valley and lands below. The walls are bright and depict stories of Cambodian culture.
A great way to see Battambang Province is by tuk-tuk or bicycle! Not only is it fun, but a great way to explore the area with a local guide. There are a handful of tours that show tourists the best of what Battambang has to offer.
- TukTuk Tour: Experience Battambang from the back of a tuk-tuk as you are whisked around the city and countryside to see the highlights of Battambang. If this tour is booked, a great alternative option is Battambang Tour by Mr. Vatthana.
- Bike Tour: Perfect for all skill levels, cycle your way through the countryside and experience the beauty of local village life and Khmer culture. If a full-day tour is too much cycling, no worries, there is a perfect half-day cycling tour for you!
Regardless if you choose to take a guided tour or explore solo, one thing is for sure, you won’t regret your time spent in this city.
For The Budget Conscious: The Place is located within the heart of the city and brings all the good vibes! From its rooftop restaurant to its social atmosphere, The Place is a great spot to call home during your time in Battambang!
For The Luxury Inclined: Hotel Bric-a-Brac is the french colonial charm you never knew you needed or wanted. Whether you are relaxing by the pool or enjoying its onsite restaurant, Bric-a-Brac will pamper and delight you day in and day out.
For Something In Between: La Villa is an old french colonial mansion that’s been restored to beautiful perfection….need we say more? Centrally located, a fantastic swimming pool and friendly staff will make you want to extend your stay another day.
For more accommodation choices and places to stay in Battambang, you can check the latest place and prices here to secure an unforgettable Cambodian accommodations.
Where To Eat
Looking for the best Battambang restaurants to eat at? Well, no worries friends, we have you covered! Below is a list of tasty cafes that offer a little something for every pallet.
- Jaan Bai:
- One of the best restaurants in town, Jaan Bai employs impoverished youth through the Cambodia Children’s Trust and serves up amazing food while doing it!
- Smokin’ Pot Streetfood:
- Smokin’ Pot is a family-run establishment that serves up authentic Khmer street food that will make your taste buds smile. Need we say more?
- White Rose Restaurant:
- Come here for the food, stay for the vibe. This open-air, french colonial restaurant is perfect for a cocktail and meal. Take a seat on the balcony and watch life go by in the city below.
- Battambang Cafe: Coffee & Waffles:
- Now, if you are looking for something sweet, look no further than Coffee & Waffles. You’ll have no problem overindulging here, trust us 🙂
Nightlife & Bars
Yes, Battambang can become a sleepy place at night, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a good place to grab a cold beer and cocktail at! Check out our list of Battambang nightlife and bars below.
- The Balcony:
- Our favorite bar in Battambang is The Balcony! Serving up cold beers and delicious cocktails in a wooden house over a jungle garden is the definition of a good time in our book.
- Madison Corner Pub:
- A perfect, simple, friendly corner bar to sit back in, make new friends, and enjoy some cold brews. Yup, we agree too, perfect.
- Here Be Dragons:
- Here Be Dragons is a hostel located outside of the city center a bit, but don’t let that discourage you. It’s well worth a tuk-tuk ride to listen to live music and share a drink (or 5) with fellow travelers!
How To Get To Battambang
Depending on where you are coming from in Cambodia, boats, mini-vans, and busses are available transportation options to get you to Battambang. Sadly, trains are not an option and while the city has an airport, it’s not in active use.
Siem Reap to Battambang
Of the cities, tourists visit when in Cambodia, Siem Reap is the closest to Battambang Province. By land, Siem Reap is about 165 km / 103 miles Northeast, making the journey doable well within a day.
Siem Reap to Battambang By Bus
If you decide to go the bus route, you can expect the drive to take about 3 hours and cost around $8 USD per person. The routes are direct in a comfortable bus that offers AC. Mekong Express is a well-known and reliable company in Cambodia and these are the folks that operate the bus routes from Siem Reap to Battambang.
Siem Reap To Battambang By Taxi
If driving with strangers in a bus isn’t your thing, private taxis from Siem Reap to Battambang are a great option then! Split the cost with your mates and/or family and arrive directly at your accommodation. A private taxi that seats four will be about $55.00 USD total / $14 USD per person.
Siem Reap To Battambang By Boat
Traveling by boat from Siem Reap to Battambang is the most expensive travel option as well as the longest, however, it’ll also be the most memorable! The boat costs $25 USD and departs at 7:30 am from Siem Reap and arrives in Battambang at 1:30 pm – a total of 6 hours cruising up Tonle Sap Lake.
Sihanoukville to Battambang
The journey from Sihanoukville to Battambang is a long one, like really long. Sihanoukville lies 485 km / 301 miles south of Battambang and regardless of which of the below options you choose, the journey will take all day or all night. If you are coming from the Cambodian islands like Koh Rong Samloem, Battambang is a great next stop before heading onto places like Siem Reap or across the border to Thailand.
Sihanoukville to Battambang By Bus
There are several daily bus options that depart from Sihanoukville. Departure times range from 6:30 am – 9:30 am and get you into town anywhere from 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm that night. Depending on the time you choose, the ride can take anywhere from 10 – 13 hours and can cost in the range of $16 – $24 USD.
Sihanoukville to Battambang By Night Bus
The night bus from Sihanoukville to Battambang departs Sihanoukville around 7:00 pm and arrives in town around 6:00 am the following morning. The night bus takes 11 hours to reach Battambang and costs around $23 USD per person. This is the route we took and speaking from personal experience, the ride was long, bumpy, and at times hot – the driver kept turning the AC off.
Would we do the night bus again? Meh, only if we had to.
Phnom Penh to Battambang
Located 292 km / 181 miles south of Battambang, the overland journey from Phnom Penh to Battambang will take you a little over a half day.
Phnom Penh to Battambang By Bus and Night Bus
There are a crazy amount of options for departure times from Phnom Penh to Battambang! Whether you want to leave in the morning, in the afternoon or travel overnight, there are loads of bus companies that will cater to your preferred travel time.
The ride from Phnom Penh to Battambang will take anywhere from 5 to 6 hours and cost in the range of $8 – $12 USD per person.
Phnom Penh to Battambang By Taxi
If you are looking for a more intimate travel experience, a private taxi is a great option! A four-person private taxi will cost you around $75.00 total / $19 USD per person and take around 6 hours to get you to your accommodation in Battambang.
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– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stüs)