Battambang, a city full of artistic people and a calm atmosphere. Although it is the second city of Cambodia, a lot of people forget to put this city in their Cambodia itinerary. We almost thought of skipping it as well, but we are glad we didn’t. With a lot of artistic bars, vibrant cultural sights and humble local people it was one of our favorite places we visited during our 3 weeks in Cambodia. Take a ride on the traditional bamboo train and watch thousands of bats leave their cave at Phnom Sampeau.
In this guide you will read about the six things that you should definitely do when visiting Battambang.
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#1 the Bamboo train
When in the Battambang province you can have a ride on a classic norry what you may also know as the bamboo train. It’s an improvised rail vehicle made of bamboo that can reach a speed of 50 km/h. When the train brings you from A to B, you will have a nice impression of the countryside. With lovely views of vast rice fields and local people working in the fields. The experience is really worth it and will cost you only $5,- for a return ticket.
#2 Visit the Killing cave
This tragic site is known as one of the places where Pol Pot his Khmer rouge soldiers killed thousands of innocent Cambodian people. Normally we don’t like to visit those kind of touristic sites. But we learned more about the tragic history of Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge and are now making people we know aware of what happend. So this will hopefully never happen again. On the other side of Phnomh Sampou you can find something that is more calm and has a serene vibe.
#3 See thousands of bats leaving their cave at phnom sampeau
As we mentioned, this is the cave with the serene vibes. Beside the tragic Killing Caves, you also have the Bat Cave at Phnom Sampou. You can have a look on the side of the road or go to the edge of the cave with your local guide. There are so many bats leaving the cave that this scenes lasts about 20 minutes. Such an amazing vibe and show by mother nature. We went up and that was a really nice experience. One thing, head down the hill before it’s dark. It can be a dangerous climb down if you don’t see anything.
#4 Have tapas at The Lonely Tree Cafe
The Lonely Tree Cafe is an organization that supports humanitarian activities across multiple lines of action in North-West Cambodia. With the goals of formation, empowerment, employment and obtaining profits to help financing the activities. On the ground level you can buy all kinds of traditional handcrafted items crafted by the victims of landmine accidents. On the top floor you can eat delicious tapas or Spanish, Mediterranean, Western and Khmer dishes.
Please gimme some more of that Creamy Pumpkin Soup, NOW.
#5 walk around an Abandoned train station
At many places in Cambodia you will find abandoned train stations and that’s also the case in Battambang. At the train station in Battambang all of the buildings are abandoned and some of them contain graffiti traces. A funny thing about this station is that the clock always says it’s two minutes past eight. It’s worth to have a look and after all, the time isn’t ticking.
#6 Climb your way to Wat Banan
Wat Banan is one of the best preserved temples of Battambang and is on top of a hill. You can reach the temple by climbing 358 steps, but when you reach the top you have a great panoramic view. The temple is located about 22 km outside Battambang but easily to combine with a visit to the bamboo train and Phnom Sampou.