Cambodia in Brief – A Quick Guide to Battambang
A Quick Guide to Battambang
A combination of rich ancient history, French colonial architecture and modern art scene makes Battambang a town where one wants to spend more than just a couple of nights. Though it is the second most visited city in Cambodia, Battambang doesn’t feel busy or overcrowded. On the contrary, it charms visitors with its style and peaceful atmosphere.
What to do and see in Battambang
No visit to an Asian city is complete without visiting at least couple of temples. And Battambang has many interesting ones to offer. There are 10th century Wat Banan, Prasat Sueng and Ek Phnom with beautiful carvings and trees overgrowing the ruins. If you feel like a hike, climb a limestone mountain to visit Wat Sampeou. Thousands of fruit bats live in the mountain caves. Every evening at 6 pm they fly out – a spectacular view you wouldn’t want to miss.
Learn how to cook traditional Khmer dishes
If you like Cambodian food, why not to learn how to cook it? Book a half day class at one of the city’s cooking schools (Smokin’ Pot is the oldest and the most popular one). In addition to the the cooking experience you will get a tour of the local market and a book with recipes. Make sure you have a light breakfast, because you are going to cook lots of dishes.
Watch locals shopping at Phsar Nath Market
Visit to Phsar Nath market guarantees fun local experience. As any other market in Asia it has everything: food, household items, clothes, jewellery, etc. Watch women choosing the best meat for their families, young couples buying wedding rings, school kids getting ice-cream from a vendor by the market entrance. You can just walk around taking photos and enjoying the buzz, or step in and master your bargaining skills over an item you wish to buy.
Spend a fun night in the Phare Ponleu Selpak Circus
Phare Ponleu Selpak is an organisation that educates kids and young adults through arts, music and theatre. Circus performances combine acrobatics, music and live art. Their themes are based on traditional Khmer legends and the history of Cambodia – from ancient to modern times. Take a seat, and you will be treated to an hour of jokes, breath-taking acrobatics and fun. Performers’ passion and enthusiasm is contagious, and spectators have huge smiles on their faces when they leave the theatre.
Admire modern art in Art Spaces and Gallerie
Named by UNESCO the City of Performing Arts, Battambang has a lot to offer to the Art Lovers. Most of Cambodia’s best artists came from Battambang. The town is filled with art spaces and galleries. Visit any of them and you’ll see high quality paintings and sculptures. Many art spaces organise lectures and meet-ups with artists. And if you are really keen, you can even take a part in a workshop or two.
How’s the food?
There are many good restaurants in Battambang offering both Khmer and international cuisine. The city also has the only winery in Cambodia. The wine isn’t going to win any awards soon, but it’s still worth a visit if you are in the area. If you are looking for a fun place to spend an evening head to the Night Market by the river. It’s full of lots of local dishes, beers and later at night – karaoke.
If you want to see as many sights as possible in one day we recommend to take a bicycle tour. It will not only take you to the town’s most significant temples and monuments, but will also provide an opportunity to see life in the countryside.
Is Battambang for you?
Anyone can find interesting things to do in Battambang: History Junkies and Foodies, Photographers and Art Lovers, Families and Independent Travellers.
The best time to go to Battambang
Just like most of Cambodia, you can visit Battambang at any time of the year. Dry season (November-April) is hot with daily average around 35 degrees Celsius. From late May and until the end of October the monsoon rains bring cool weather, and the daily temperature drops to about 27 degrees.
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