Battambang is in northwestern Cambodia. It is the capital of the leading rice-producing province of the country. Battambang remains the hub of Cambodia’s northwest, connecting the region with Phnom Penh and Thailand.
The city is situated on the Sangkae River, a tranquil, small body of water that winds its way picturesquely through Battambang Province. As with much of Cambodia, French Colonial architecture is a notable aspect of the city, with some of the best-preserved examples in the country.
Battambang is drawing in more visitors to enjoy its laid-back charms and the opportunity to go off the beaten track territory of Cambodia, Seim Reap, and Phnom Penh. This spot that has loads of things to see and do for the visitor. It feels like a genuine living city and not like an amusement park as the close-by Siem Reap can feel like now and then.
French Architecture in Battambang
1. The primary thing that will strike you about Battambang is an early architecture that shows French engineering making up a significant part of the old town. There is everything from lines of terraced shophouses that are all built in the French style as well as some bigger private estates. Once occupied by the pioneer world class all of which make an exceptionally fascinating strolling visit. The most excellent and of these are the old governors’ home, the city corridor, railroad station and the postal station.
2. Battambang is situated on a waterway and there are numerous bridges and crosswalks, some made of stone and some from metal which traverses the water. The majority of the lodgings and places to eat are on the eastern side. The business sector is the middle part of the town as is normal in Cambodian towns and it’s shaded paths are pleasant spots to shop and talk to the shop owners and street sellers.
Bamboo Railroad in Battambang
3. Further out of the downtown area you will locate some different sites, most famous is the Bamboo Railway. Cambodia’s railroad system is today in a condition of decay and has no trains running on it. The villagers living along the train tracks chose to put them back to some use and assembled their own particular trains. In no way like a full train, as you know them, the bamboo train is a lightweight wooden truck fueled by a petrol motor that keeps running along the old railroad line. One problem though is that there are no sidings or spaces to pull over for trains to pass each other. When two trains meet one must be disassembled and put to the side for the other to pass. You can go to the train starting point by taxi or Tuk Tuk and take a ride for a few kilometers to a village at the end of the ride. This costs five dollars.
4. Battambang is the area of Cambodia’s unparalleled vineyard and winery and they invite guests with a wine sampling display.
5. Another irregular sight is the old Pepsi industrial facility, which was relinquished by its proprietors when the Khmer Rouge possessed the zone. You can stroll inside and see the apparatus and a large number of unfilled Pepsi bottles precisely as they were left in 1979.
6. There are also sanctuaries built during the same time as Angkor Wat around Battambang called Wat Ek and Baset, that are worth of a visit. Baset sanctuary sits on top of a slope which likewise contains two huge hollows. Prasat Banan is a larger sanctuary that is at the summit of a 400-meter high mountain and the top of the precipice overlooks the rice fields and countryside of Cambodia. There are amazing photos to be taken from here. It is an amazing sight to see.
7. Bat Cave is a great way to close out the day. Take a Tuk Tuk for a few dollars to the outskirts of town. At sunset one of the largest concentration of bats in the world will leave their nests all at the same time. They go out each night to eat bugs and search for food.
8. 100 Year Old House is one of the oldest structures in Battambang. Many of the homes were damaged during the war of the last century but this structure went without any damage and is a great example of local architecture. Spend a few minutes here and head off to the next spot on your visit.
9. One last note, a great way to travel on to Siem Reap is by slow boat. The trip takes about 8 hours and is a good way to see life and it goes on in Cambodia in areas less affected by tourism. Once you are in Siem Reap you can visit the Angkor Wat Complex. Check out our post on the temples in the complex. 8 Must See Temples in Angkor Wat Cambodia