Battambang: The Bamboo Train & more tips

Posted on

The charming town of Battambang is not a place where you can expect particularly spectacular sights. But what you can look forward to: Cozy flair, colonial streets and an authentic insight into the daily life of Cambodians.

Are you considering making a stopover in Battambang on your Cambodia trip? On our travel blog we show you what awaits you in Battambang and which sights you should not miss. We’ll tell you our highlights and give you tips for your trip.

1. Battambang: Cambodia’s friendly provincial town at a glance Battambang is the capital of the province of the same name and is located in western Cambodia. Although Battambang is the third largest city in Cambodia, the center honestly feels more like a rural small town. It’s surprisingly cozy and relaxed.

In the center of Battambang there are still some architectural remains from the French colonial era. You’re allowed to have perfectly renovated and spruced up buildings expect you only partially – most of the streets now make a slightly dilapidated, but quite charming impression.

Battambang is famous for the legendary Bamboo Train. Once goods were transported on this single track railway line – today the adventurous trip with the Bamboo Train is the most famous tourist attraction in Battambang.

How many days should I plan for Battambang? We ourselves stayed two nights in Battambang and found this period almost too short. While we were able to see the main sights easily, we loved the relaxed, authentic vibe of Battambang and would have liked to have stayed a little longer.

Of course it depends on how much you want to do, but if you are more of a leisurely traveller, we would recommend you to stay three nights.

Tip: Travel guide for Cambodia For Southeast Asia, we always like to recommend Stefan Loose’s travel guide, as they are well researched. The one about Cambodia is in in September 800. of the new edition published. You won’t go wrong with this travel guide and you are well prepared.

You can buy the travel guide here: Stefan Loose travel guide Cambodia (September edition 2018)

2. Sights and activities in Battambang: Our tips Walk through the center of Battambang The center of Battambang is cozy and manageable. It is located on the west bank of the river (Sangker River) around around the Central Market (Psar Nat). There are some nice streets to find.

One often reads that Battambang is a colonial gem. In fact, you have to use a magnifying glass to look for the colonial buildings. Probably the most beautiful colonial building in Battambang is the former Governor’s Residence (Sala Khaet). This structure dates from the beginning of 14. Century and is located about 20 Walking distance south of the Central Market.

All in all, Battambang is definitely not a city of impressive sights, but rather a place where you can drift a bit without a plan or goal.

Bicycle tour with Soksabike The great thing about Battambang: Within a very short time you can get from the center to the rural surroundings and are up close to the Life of the locals turn. The best way to get to know the region and its people is on a bike tour. We ourselves were traveling with the provider Soksabike and can highly recommend them.

Our choice fell on the Half Day Tour (Local Livelihood Half Day). which takes you through rural Battambang accompanied by a guide, stopping at some families and local producers. For example, you can watch how rice paper or dried bananas are made and learn a lot about the daily life of the people.

On the half-day tour you will be on the road for about four hours and you will cover a total of about 25 kilometers back. Don’t worry, that may sound like a lot, but it’s also doable for less fit people. The tour starts in the morning, so you’ll be back before the midday heat. Our conclusion: You can do better 27 Do not invest in US dollars. The bike tour was our personal highlight in Battambang.

Booking & more information: Soksabike

Phare Ponleu Selpak Circus You shouldn’t miss a show of the Phare Ponleu Selpak Circus. Young people are trained to be artists here and put on a public performance several times a week. The circus school is a project of an NGO. The proceeds from the performances flow into the education of the young people.

The level is really amazing and the show is very touching. Of course, not everything always works right away – but that’s what makes it so likeable. Admission costs 11 U.S. dollar. Highly recommended!

Tickets & further information: Phare Ponleu Selpak Circus

Bamboo Train Not an insider tip, but still recommended: a ride on the legendary Bamboo Train. In the past, Bamboo Train used to transport local people and goods, now it is the main tourist attraction around Battambang.

The route runs single-track. This means: In the case of oncoming traffic, the less loaded car must be dismantled and then rebuilt. The route ends in a tiny village with a few souvenir and drink stands. Then it’s back the same way.

Good to know: The track was recently renovated and the roughest bumps and bumps have been repaired. But the journey is still quite adventurous. In total you are on the road for around an hour. The round trip fare is US$5. By the way, the best way to get to the starting point of the Bamboo Train is by tuk tuk.

More Sightseeing in Battambang for more time Phnom Sampeau (= Phnom Sampov): Good 10 km south of Battambang towers the 20 meter high mountain Phnom Sampeau. As idyllic as the place may seem, the story behind it is horrific. The Khmer Rouge killed countless people in the cave system of the mountain. Therefore, the caves are also known as Killing Caves. By the way, you can climb the Phnom Sampeau and have a nice view from the top. Also known is the so-called Bat Cave: in the evening hours hundreds of thousands of bats fly out of the cave.

Wat Ek Phnom: This temple ruin dates from to the 11. Century. The Wat Ek Phnom is not one of the big highlights and of course cannot keep up with the temples of Angkor, but it is still worth seeing. It is located on a small hill about 05 kilometers north of Battambang. With the Tuk Tuk it is about 11 until 25 Minutes.

3. Eating & drinking: Restaurant tips for Battambang The range of restaurants in Battambang is not huge, but there are quite a few very nice places. Of course, we don’t want to withhold our favorites from you.

Jaan ​​Bai Restaurant: This friendly restaurant is supported by an NGO that works for the (Aus -) education of disadvantaged young people. The menu features creative Khmer and Thai dishes – there is also plenty of choice for vegans and vegetarians.

Bonlai Til I Die: Vegan pizza in Cambodia? Sounds unusual, but if you ever need a change from Khmer cuisine, you’re in good hands in this little place.

The Place Rooftop Bar: This cozy bar is located on the roof terrace of a hostel. Perfect for a drink or two in the evening. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are also served here.

About the World: There is very good Khmer food at this small family run restaurant. You sit at tables on the floor – so the experience feels a bit more authentic. There are also vegetarian or, on request, vegan dishes on the menu.

4. Staying the night in Battambang: Our hotel tip You want to stay in a quiet area? Then we can recommend the beautiful hotel complex Maisons Wat Kor. This gem is a bit out of the center but can be reached by tuk tuk in approx. 10 minutes to reach. A great retreat awaits you here.

The beautifully manicured, beautifully landscaped garden houses several bungalows built around a lotus pond. The rooms are traditionally and tastefully furnished and very comfortably equipped. There’s also a swimming pool so you’re sure to find refreshment after a long day.

The staff is extremely accommodating and the food is delicious. Our conclusion: A highly recommended hotel. Not the cheapest option in Battambang, but accommodation that makes you feel very comfortable.

You can book the hotel here: Maisons Wat Kor

Transparency: Affiliate Links 2020 This blog article contains our personal recommendations in the form of so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something through the links, we will receive a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. A thousand thanks from both of us!2019

Has it happened to you before Stuck in Battambang? How did you like it? Tell us about your experiences in the comments. We look forward to your additional tips for Battambang!2020