Battambang is a charming quaint provincial capital - classic architecture and old Pagodas (Wats) set picturesquely along a river, and even though the city is one of the country's largest it's still lightly touristed. In town colonial - era buildings line narrow lanes, including the walking district near the market where art galleries, cafes, shops, and bars inhabit old shophouses.
Battambang is a place to explore the architecture and art sence, check out the local cousine, and to use as a base for excursions into the nearby countryside. Outside town the scenery quickly becomes one of villages and rice paddies, offering an excellent opportunity to see a bit of rural Cambodia.
Things to See in Battambang
Bamboo Train: It's a unique and creative from of ad-hoc transportation. It consists of a small motorcycle engine - powered bamboo cart that rides the railroad tracks, picking up and dropping off passengers, cargo and animals along the way. When it meets bamboo train, it can be disassembled and taken off the rails in a minute or two, allowing the other to pass. Getting experience and fun with the local bamboo train costs only 5$/Pax.
Ek Phnom: About 40 minutes from Battambang, is an substantial early 11th century Angkor-era temple ruin built as a Hindu temple under the ruler Suryavarman I. The temple is in rough condition, consisting of Prasats on a platform with some Hindu themed carvings in pretty good condition. Wat Ek Phnom, a modern Buddhist pagoda, sits picturesquely next to the ruin and a small lake.
Phnom Banon: A mountaintop, mid-11th century Angkor-era ruin consisting of 5 Prasats arranged in 5 pointed from reminiscent of Angkor Wat. The temple was built by King Udayadityavarman II, son of Suryavarman I, the king who built the temple at Ek Phnom.
Phnom Sampov: Phnom Sampov is a mountain steeped in legend, topped by Wat Sampov and a group caves used as 'killing caves' by the Khmer Rouge, containing the skeletal remains of their victims. Bat Caves at Phnom Sampov are also interested to see (watch it nearly sunset time).
Pagodas (Wats): Battambang Town and the surrounding countryside are rich with beautiful old Pagodas, some of them hundreds of years old, highly respected and displaying some very unique art and architecture. There are 9 Wats you should see in Battambang. In town, Wat Kandal displays some of the most interesting architecture and Vihear paintings. Wat Dom Reysor, built in 1903, is one of those rare Cambodian Wats to display paintings of the Hindu epic Reamker (Ramaryana).
Provincial Museum: The Battambang Provincial Museum on the riverfront in the center of town houses a large collection of Angkorian and and pre-Angkorian artifact - statues, carvings, bits of ancient temples, pottery, etc. These little provincial museums can be a real treat for the Angkor enthusiast, containing some rare and unique pieces, and this is one of the best of the provincial museums.
Circus Phare: The Phare Ponleu Selpak NGO gives Cambodian children from disadventaged families the opportunity to ''access culture via different artistic activities'' including music, drawing, drama, dance and circus.