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Battambang [1] is Cambodia's second most populous city. It is a popular tourist destination due to its many famous statues.


Get in

Map of Battambang

By air

Battambang does have an airport, but it's been closed since the road to Phnom Penh was sealed.

By road

Buses and share taxis run to many destinations, including Phnom Penh, Siem Reap (via Sisophon), and the Thai border at Poipet/Aranyaprathet (also via Sisophon).

The Phnom Penh - Battambang - Sisophon road is sealed and well maintained, and the bridges are not prone to collapse (unlike their counterparts on the unsealed roads). Travelling by car, it takes around four hours to get to Phnom Penh, and just under an hour to get to Sisophon. Buses take a little longer.

The Poipet - Sisophon - Siem Reap road however is not sealed, and its condition varies considerably, depending on the time of year (rainfall) and maintainance. Best case scenario for getting from Sisophon to Poipet or Siem Reap by car is just under an hour, and about double that by bus; but it can take much longer when conditions are not so favourable, and even more so if there are problems with any of the bridges.

By boat

Boats go to and from Siem Reap (for Angkor) daily. An interesting and very scenic journey along small rivers, the boats thread their way through numerous charming floating villages and past dozens of towering installations. It should be noted, however, that the ride can be very unpredictable. It may take as little as four hours, or over twelve. Being stuck means sitting on the roof of the boat, baking in the heat for hours on end without any water or shade. It is not unheard of for boats to sink, either. Most expatriates in Cambodia advise giving the boat ride a miss.

Note that in the dry season, low water levels mean boats cannot get all the way to Battambang, hence part of the journey is made by minibus or pick-up.

By rail

There is a very slow, once-weekly train service between Battambang and Phnom Penh via Pursat. The journey is scheduled to take 14 hours but may be much longer, even though the distance by rail is only 275 km. It costs $5 one-way for foreigners.

    Phnom Penh to Battambang : Saturdays, departs 06:20, arrives 20:00
    Battambang to Phnom Penh : Sundays, departs 06:40, arrives 19:00

The train station is on the edge of the city centre (see map above), a short walk from the central market.

Get around


Battambang is known for its statues which seemingly decorate every public place. Most are of animals (mythical and real) and divinities (also mythical and real?)

The most famous of these statues is on the main road in from Phnom Penh and is of an ancient Khmer King holding a stick which he used to quell rebellions in the Battambang area. The name of the town / province comes from this legend.

The town also has a number of fine colonial buildings along the river including a very grand French era governors residence.

Around Battambang:

  • Phnom Sompoen, a hill with the killing caves of the Khmer rouges, a series of buddhist caves and a monastery with two Stupas on the hilltop. Entrance fee is USD 2.00, covering also Wat Banan.
  • Wat Banan, the so-called mini-Angkor wat, an impressive flight of stairs leads up to a dilapidated Angkor-type temple which is still in use as a buddhist shrine.
  • Wat Baydamram, the bat temple, where hundreds of fruit bats live under the protection of the monks.
  • Wat Ek Phnom, another Angkor-type temple ruin.


The bamboo train near Battambang
  • Take a ride on the bamboo train. A trip to the train can be booked in most hotels. Expect to pay additional for the train.
  • Take a motorbike trip around the countryside and visit some nice temples and enjoy the views.
  • Wander around the market and sample local dishes.



Cultural Experience Homestay

  • Ancient House, in Watkor village, a few km south of town, 100m south of Watkor temple. 012-363174. Talk with Madame Boun Roeung (who speaks some french but no english) about the possibility of staying in her "Ancient House." Accomodation is simple, with foam mattresses on the floor. Other owners of ancient houses may also be open to this.


  • Hotel Chhaya, Road 3 south of the central market, 012-733204. Very good hotel with clean en suite rooms, fan, two beds and cable tv. Many English speaking guides and motodop drivers hang around here. Rooms from 4 USD, rates are negotiable.
  • Hotel Royal, on a side street west of the central market, 016-944955. A good option with a rooftop restaurant. Spacious rooms with bathroom, hot water and aircon around 25 USD, smaller rooms start around 5 USD.


  • TEO Hotel, Road 3, Khum Svay Por, 952288, (mobile) 012-857048. The best hotel in town, with AC, TV and hot water. With prices starting at $11 for a single room, it is quite unbeatable. Takes VISA and MasterCard. In the outside area of the restaurant there are also nice hidden tables in the garden

Get out

Wat Ek

An excellent day trip is to Wat Ek Phnom about 15 km north west of Battambang. The road goes alongside lovely small rivers bordered by trees and small villages and is in general a very nice area. Approaching Wat Ek Phnom you suddenly encounter a giant buddha statue in the wat. The grounds of the Wat also have an Angkorian era temple which is in relatively good shape and with some interesting carvings.

Several opportunities to explore villages exist just south of town. The Cultural village of Watkor, just a few km south of the town center has several "ancient wooden houses" from the early 20th century. Further south are the agricultural villages of Kompong Seyma, and Ksach Puoy. For info call District Administration Battambang: 012.881.516/016.666.111

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