#Battambang is a small city, in the North West of Cambodia. A simple and quiet city situated by the river Sangkae. When it’s simple, the city is not yet very touristy, and for which you get a glimpse of a real Cambodian city. A long walk across the city has been interesting. You don’t get to see restaurants lined across the streets, they are quite scattered across the city, but locals love to sit at a restaurant and talk a lot over good food.
Getting back to thelong walk of the city and taking any random lanes, actually grows the interest in the city. Every lane, every street seem different from each other. Where one street has street food counters one after the other, other streets may have some departmental store and a Korean noodle shop at a corner. Then there are schools at another street where again the street food vendors are waiting for the break time!
The Psar Nat or Central market is quite an amazing place to come close to the local culture. The market opens early in the morning and it’s crowded with shoppers buying vegetables, groceries, dried or fresh meat/ fish/ seafood/ clothes/jewelry, etc. The food joints inside the market are selling noodles soup and chicken rice, so grab your breakfast here like the locals do.
Just a short walk from the Central market and you are by the river area. In the morning the riverside pavement seems deserted with few joggers or few people strolling here and there, whereas the place comes alive during the evening when the night market starts it’s service.
How to reach Battambang:
From Siem Reap or Phnom Penh, there are direct buses available (cost 7-10 USD pp), it takes about 4:30 hours from Siem Reap & 6 hours to reach Phnom Penh
Private cars may cost: 50 USD
There is also a boat service available during the wet season if the water level is high. The journey takes about 5-8 hours, but it completely depends on the water level.
Things to remember while transporting from Battambang to South or south western Cambodia:
- Only Siem Reap and Phnom Penh has direct road connection to Battambang
- From Battambang if the next stop is Koh Kong/ Sihanoukville/ kep/ Kompok etc—the only way is to go via Phnom Penh—be it local bus or private car, both will go that way—only bus will take more time and there will be change of bus from Phnom Penh (there is still no direct bus to any of these towns)
- Better to take the night bus, in that way you are not losing the entire day travelling to the next stop. As the bus leaves at about 10:30 -11 pm and reaches Phnom Penh early in the morning. From there you take bus to next destination. Ticket costs minimum 21.00 USD pp (for the destinations, i.e. it includes the night bus to Phnom Penh and ticket for onward city), this entire journey may take about 15 hours- including traffic (private car may cost about 50 USD)
- Or maybe plan accordingly so that you don’t keep crisscrossing the same place like I had to do to go to Koh Kong from Battambang
Stay at Battambang:
There are quite a few good hotels/ hostels available. Also, people do stay close to villages where there are few boutique hotels. The area by the river is a good option to choose your stay for, as the night market is just by the river.
Duration of stay:
A 2 nights’ stay is enough in Battambang. Also, if you need to take an overnight bus from Battambang, then you can take your bus on the day no. 2, as throughout the day you will be in town doing sightseeing, and the buses leave at 11 at night which is a good option to save time.
Food at Battambang:
Apart from the variety of street foods, there are few restaurants at Battambang, who offers cooking classes; where participants can learn to make 4-course meals and then they can eat their own cooked food (for 10.00 USD pp)
• There are also quite a few good eateries available across the city