THINGS TO DO IN BATTAMBANG

7+ Top Things To Do In Battambang [Cambodia]

| | |

It is not one of Cambodia’s most popular destinations but it oozes culture. Dive into this guide and discover the top things to do in Battambang, from ancient temples to killing caves what else does the third-largest city in Cambodia have to offer?

Not known for mad pub crawls or sandy white beaches, Battambang more than makes up for this with its rich cultural presence. Whether you’re coming from Phnom Penh or Siem Reap, Battambang promises to offer a completely different experience from anything else in Cambodia.

Not to mention it’s a healthy break between two big party places! Just make sure you’re fully packed as Battambang isn’t rich in western supplies. I found that out the hard way with a infected leg.

Visiting Battambang turned out to be a secret gem for me. Travelling from Siem Reap, after visiting Angkor Wat, Battambang further develops your understanding of the Khmer Rouge and the Khmer culture and provides glimpses of the atrocities many people had to go through. 

Not only that but some activities are truly unique to the area and something I’ll cherish forever. If you’re planning to stay in Battambang for one or two days this guide about the top things to do in Battambang is for you. When I create my Cambodia itinerary, Battambang will be included.

Without further ado, let’s discover some of the top things to do in Battambang.

Where To Stay In Battambang, Cambodia?

For Budget Travellers: The Place is ironically the place to be. With over 700 reviews and a rating of 9.0+, this is one of the most loved hostels in Battambang which can be acquired for less than £5. With the lack of social opportunities in Battambang, this hostel will help to arrange any tours you wish to do and the rooftop bar is perfect to chill and chat.

The Mid-Priced Option: The Sanctuary Villa, designed to look like a Khmer Buddhist temple, this hotel is perfect for those who like a little more privacy during their travels. Featuring an outdoor pool, comfortable rooms and a complimentary pickup service from Battambang Bus Terminal or train station this is the place to be if you have a little more money to spend.

For Luxury Travellers: For my travellers with a bit more £££ to spend, Cambana La Rivière Hotel is a real treat on the eye. Even if you’re not interested in paying the price associated with this hotel, click the link, it’s well worth a look at. Little bit mind-blowing for the city of Battambang.

What Are The Top Things To Do In Battambang?

When I arrived in Battambang, I have to be honest I wasn’t completely sure what I was going to do. We got to the hostel and the workers suggested we did a tour. 

Of course, you’re always dubious of these things but we checked it out. We eventually agreed to the tour and I have to say it was fuc**** fantastic

The tour we did is similar to the tour provided by Rich. We covered the majority of Battambang in one day and we left for Koh Rong that night! Of course, like any destination, it’s difficult to see everything but here are the top things to do in Battambang.

1. The Bamboo Train

Probably the most famous attraction in Battambang is the bamboo train.

So what is the bamboo train?

It consists of a simple bamboo platform mounted on wheels powered by a small gasoline engine which they build in front of you, pretty cool right? Originally used by locals to transport goods and people through the countryside, the bamboo train offers a distinctive experience for those seeking to experience the culture of Cambodia.

Make sure you’re wearing sufficient sunscreen because you’re gonna be feeling the full blaze of the sun! When I was on the bamboo train although you’re trying to take in the Cambodian countryside, the wind in your face can create the illusion you’re nice and cool when in reality you are cooking.

Safe to say I was burnt!

When you get to your stop, there is an opportunity to buy some food and drink or purchase some local Cambodian products made by the people who live in the area.

I was so hot getting off the train I brought four bottles of water but the locals wouldn’t leave me alone! It got a bit annoying but I do understand the situation they are in.

The trip takes around 30 to 40 minutes and costs $5 per person. The driver will look for a tip at the end of your journey but it’s totally up to you.

Without a doubt, one of the BEST things to do in Battambang

2. Hike Up To See The Killing Caves

Found Southwest of Battambang, you’ll be greeted by Phnom Sampeau. you’ll be charged $1 for entry to the grounds. You can get a motorbike to do the leg work for you up this steep hill but we decided to brave the hike like 95% of other people.

Buy at least two bottles of water from the village at the start of this hike, it’s steep, sweaty and you’re going to need refreshments.

When you reach the killing caves you’ll bear witness to the brutal Khmer Rouge regime’s atrocities during the 1970s.

Used as execution sites, victims were pushed into deep caves to perish. Next to the Buddha statue the caves still contain human remains, serving as haunting reminders of the genocide’s horrors. 

Above is where victims of the regime were murdered and thrown down, unbelievably sad.

The site now stands as a memorial, fostering remembrance and reflection. Visiting the Killing Caves offers a solemn experience, which allows you to contemplate the profound impact of historical tragedies and the importance of preserving collective memory to prevent such atrocities in the future.

3. Meet The Monkeys At The Top Of Phnom Sampeau

As you go further up the mountain you’ll reach the temple named Phnom Sampeau pagoda

From this worship point, you’re greeted with truly magnificent views of the Cambodian countryside

Not only does this mountain provide unbelievable views but it is also a monkey hangout point.

Be careful of the monkeys, they like to rummage through your belongings if you’re not paying attention! I saw somebody spend 25 minutes trying to get their hat back, it must’ve been frustrating for them but top-class entertainment for everyone else.

4. Watch The Sunset From The Bat Caves

This is without a doubt one of the top things to do in Battambang and for me, my favourite activity.

These caves are home to millions of bats that emerge in the evening to embark on their nightly hunt for insects. Many people only know of the main bat cave spot, see below.

Luckily for us, our Tuk Tuk driver knew a secret spot, a little off the beaten track, to get a perfect view of the sunset as well. If you can find this gate below.

You have the chance to see a view like this – thousands upon thousands of bats, set against the orange skyline of Cambodia, breathtaking.

This alone made my time in Battambang worth it.

Sensational, making it one of the top things to do in Battambang. Don’t stay out in the dark too long else the bats might mistake you for an insect.

5. Explore The Ruins of Wat Banan Temple

Found south of Battambang, Wat Banan is a Khmer temple located in Cambodia, resembling Angkor Wat on a smaller scale.

The temple features five towers, offering panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

It takes over 350 steps up a set of eroding olden brick stairs to reach the ruins, you’ll have to make sure your fitness is up to scratch!

Though less visited than other temples, Wat Banan showcases intricate carvings and ancient architecture, providing a glimpse into Cambodia’s rich history and cultural heritage.

6. Walk Through Phsar Nath Market

At the centre of Battambang, you’ll find the Phsar Nath Market – more commonly known as the central market.

This isn’t the usual type of market you might be used to having been in Thailand or Vietnam, it’s more for the locals than tourists. I can’t say I was too impressed during my walk through the market.

What the market taught me was what life in real Cambodia is like and how the locals spend their days in and around the city.

There is an opportunity to purchase a variety of goods including rice paddies, rice paper, sticky rice and traditional Cambodian outfits.

7. Respecting The Killing Fields At Wat Samrong Knong

A place of worship for the people who lost their lives to the Khmer Rouge.

There’s not much to see here, but paying your respects is always nice. Similar worship points can be found in Phnom Penh.

The killing fields of Phnom Penh truly are a must-see if you want to dive into Cambodian history.

Other Activities

I think that’s all you need to see from Battambang and that you can continue to your next destination in Cambodia.

BUT

If you have time to kill or you’re still not satisfied with the current activities, I have some bonus suggestions for you.

Wat Ek Phnom

Not somewhere I visited in Cambodia as I had just been to Angkor Wat and once you’ve been to the granddaddy of them all in Angkor Wat any other temple is a little bit underwhelming.

You’re gonna need a motorbike or tuk-tuk for this one as it’s 12 km away from the city centre.

The temple reflects the rich cultural and religious heritage of Cambodia it features well-preserved carvings and architectural elements, let us know what you think as it’s not somewhere I went.

Kayaking 

Kayaking along the Sangkae River allows you to witness life for the locals in Battambang.

Along the river, you’ll find villages, rice fields, schools, temples and so on. Rental through Green Orange Kayak will cost around $12 each, which may be on the steeper side, in my opinion.

This activity will take around two hours, I wouldn’t consider this one of the top things to do in Battambang but I’m sure you can have a lot of fun either way. Just don’t fall in!

Battambang Circus

Run by a Cambodian NGO (non-government organisation), they take street kids and youth from rough backgrounds and allow them to learn an art and potentially use it as a way of earning a living.

The show lasts one hour and unlike other circuses is totally ethical.

The show runs four nights a week and will cost you between $9 and $16 depending on your age.

With multiple 5* reviews maybe this is a show you don’t want to miss out on.

Final Thoughts

So there we have it, the top things to do in Battambang. Spending one full day in Battambang was enough for us to see everything we planned on seeing so I think one or two days will be right for you.

Battambang isn’t one of the top destinations for people moving from Siem Reap or Phnom Penh but, if you have enough time, it’s the perfect stop to make before heading to different destinations in Cambodia.

Certainly more of a cultural trip this one but one I’ll never forget.