Nestled along the Sangkae River lies an essential Cambodian stop that you’ve probably never considered: Battambang. Typified as sleepy, the destination is often overlooked, even if it is Cambodia’s second largest city! Battambang is an exciting place to try traditional food, experience Cambodia’s rural culture, and gaze at stunning architecture. Here are 5 reasons why you should add Battambang to your bucket list.
1. Taste Authentic Dishes
Lesser known, but just as delicious, is Battambang’s thriving food scene. It is the perfect place to eat traditional Cambodian cuisine! Visit the city’s beloved Phsar Nath market for a diverse selection of street food. For an affordable price, you can buy skewers of smoky barbecue meat which you can take to eat on the banks of the Sangkae River. Here, dinner with a view is as easy as it gets!
Other must-try dishes are bor bor phek (porridge made with Battambang rice, fish, and fresh vegetables), bai sach chrouk (pork and rice), kuy teav (rice noodle soup), and banh ja’neuk (glutinous sweet rice balls).
2. Ride The Bamboo Train
Battambang’s most famous attraction is definitely worth the journey! Consisting of a small, motorised bamboo platform covered with a woven mat and a few multicoloured cushions to sit on, the train is controlled by a man steering a wooden pole. With the train hitting speeds of up to 50km per hour, it’s an exhilarating experience through Battambang’s scenic countryside that you won’t find elsewhere!
3. Architectural Beauty
Decadent French colonial architecture characterises Battambang’s compact town centre, along with several stunning pagodas scattered throughout the area. However, Phnom Banan Temple epitomises Battambang’s alluring Khmer architecture. Built in the 11th century on a hilltop offering panoramic views, the towers are similar to Angkor Wat’s, and the experience is just as surreal, yet with fewer crowds. Don’t let the climb of 350 steps uphill stop you from visiting this architectural gem!
4. A City Steeped in History
Pay your respects at Phnom Sampeau’s killing caves. The Khmer Rouge used this site as execution grounds during their cruel regime in the 1970s, where they dumped thousands of bodies into the grottos. As you descend towards the rocks, you can still see remaining human bones littering the site. This brutal reminder of the past is contrasted with surrounding vistas.
5. Kayaking Down Sangkae River
Hopping on a kayak offers you a different perspective of Battambang. Paddle down the lazy river to enjoy the delightful scenery of Battambang’s rural life consisting of farms and villages. Some friendly children may even wave hello! If you’re up for a small outdoor adventure, this one’s for you!
Needless to say, you won’t regret booking a trip to Battambang! Check out our Cambodia tours now!