Battambang will charm its way into your heart with its perfect blend of nature, history, culture, laid-back friendliness, and city modernity.
Not just a gateway to ancient temples and lush countryside, the city of Battambang is also an epicentre of creativity with hip cafés, delightful boutique hotels, innovative restaurants, and the birthplace of many local talents. It is the ideal balance of modern-day originality and small-town charm.
Surrounded by hilltop temples, sleepy villages, and quirky bamboo trains, Battambang holds a certain allure for the adventurous. Within the city proper, you can walk around admiring the city’s rich architectural heritage or simply sip on a coffee in one of the many trendy cafés that are popping up. Battambang makes for a great destination for the solo traveler, small groups of friends, and young couples.
Without an airport, you can only get to Battambang overland and by boat. It is connected by road from both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap with buses running between these cities. If you are more flexible in your schedule, consider taking the boat to Battambang from Siem Reap, which runs through some very charming floating villages.
Do not bother with exchanging for the local currency as US Dollars are accepted everywhere and it is the preferred currency. ATMs dispensing US Dollars that accept most major cards can be found only in the main parts of the city, so make sure that you carry enough cash with you should you venture out from the heart of Battambang.
Battambang, being a tropical city, is warm all year round with an ample amount of rainfall. If you would like to avoid the heat, the cooler months are from December to February. However, this is also the peak tourist season for the city, with higher prices and bigger crowds. May to October marks the wet season of Cambodia, dotted with flash floods and afternoon downpours are common. Most people avoid visiting in the months of March to April as the heat can be intolerable for some.
As the city centre is quite compact, Battambang can be easily explored on foot or bicycle. To reach attractions outside the city, your best bet is to hire a tuk-tuk for half a day or a full day. English speaking drivers who also act as tour guides charge a higher rate but provide a better experience.
Although not as diverse as the food scene in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, Battambang could hold its own when it comes to offering mouthwatering eats and usually at incredibly affordable prices. Authentic Khmer cuisines can be found in the stalls set up on the river bank in the evenings or served in classy up-scale restaurants. Thanks to the local expat community, you will find the best coffee in the country at Battambang, along with good burgers and icy beers.
Battambang offers a refreshing break from the surge of tourists and constant toutings at Phom Penh and Siem Reap while still packed with many interesting attractions of nature and culture. It is the perfect sanctuary to catch your breath before venturing forth onto more challenging destinations.