Throughout its colorful life, the northwestern city of Battambang has been, alternately, a trading city of the Thai, the Khmer, and finally, the French. Its rich history is well-reflected in its streets, which sport a fascinating mix of eastern and western architecture, from elaborate temples like Wat Ek Phnom and Wat Banan to quaint, French buildings. Stroll the pleasant avenues, which harken back to the bygone days of French rule, or explore the surrounding countryside for a glimpse of rural life in Cambodia.


A handpicked selection of experiences endorsed by our experts. If you can’t see what you’re looking for, let us know, as our extensive network of local contacts can open many doors.

Bamboo Train

Consisting of a wheeled, bamboo platform powered by a gasoline engine and running along Battambang’s old railroad lines, the Bamboo Train is a fun, easy way to see the surrounding countryside. The scenery along the route is picturesque and pleasant, and the line terminates at a series of local shops selling refreshments and trinkets.

Colonial Battambang

Explore the streets and visit the French storefronts that line the riverbank and can lend a slightly disoriented feel — a hint of Europe in the heart of Southeast Asia.

Khmer Boxing

Go to an authentic Khmer Boxing match, a martial art handed down from father to son for almost a thousand years. Have a Cambodian beer afterwards with the boxers and learn about their passion for the sport.

Phnom Sapeu

Visit the temple complex perched atop a limestone hill, Phnom Sampeau. A small group of brightly painted shrines and a temple, including a large reclining Buddha, occupy the summit. Sadly, the complex was used as a prison by the Khmer Rouge during Pol Pot’s regime, embodying the contradictions of Cambodia’s peaceful traditions and brutal recent history.

Wat Banan

This 10th-century temple is of roughly the same period as Angkor Wat, and locals often call it “Little Angkor.” A somewhat steep climb of several hundred stairs leads to the top of a plateau with beautiful views, and crumbling temple towers which still have some of their carved friezes and lintels.

Wat Ek Phnom

Go see Wat Ek Phnom, an 11th-century temple ruin set along the Stung Sangker River, surrounded by lush green fields in an agrarian community. Along the way, visit a fascinating crocodile farm, which sees few tourists, and marvel at the fierce amphibians.

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