Battambang (ក្រុងបាត់ដំបង) is the rice bowl of Cambodia. This is where the world-famous jasmine rice called Phka Rumduol grows. Awarded several times as the best rice in the world by the Rice Trader World Rice Conference. Most recently in November 2022.

Karte von Kambodscha: Provinz Battambang

Map of Cambodia: Battambang Province

Almost one million people live in Battambang and the provincial capital of the same name. The region was already one of the most prosperous areas in the country during the Angkor era. Even then, a lot of rice, fruit and vegetables were grown on the fertile soil. Fishing is also of economic importance. And while Battambang was considered an insider tip among tourists just a few years ago, the region is now enjoying increasing numbers of visitors from all over the world. Some take a detour from Siem Reap to Battambang. The journey takes around 2 hours by cab or minivan.

Battambang, the capital of the same name

Battambang, the country’s second largest city, has taken up the cause of being the cleanest among its peers in Cambodia. And this is urgently needed, as the mountains of garbage in the surrounding area are frightening.

Once upon a time: The name Battambang is based on a legend about Ta DumBong, a shepherd who received a magic wand and became king. The actual pronunciation of Battambang is Bat-dam-bong, named after Ta Dum Bong. Today’s Battambang corresponds to the French translation.

Life takes place on both sides of the Sangkor River. The center, characterized by both modern and colonial French architecture, attracts visitors with restaurants, sky bars, a riverside park and street food along the river. The Sor Kheng Bridge makes it easy to explore the two-part center to the east and west. While the usual well-known attractions are located outside of Battambang, the city is developing into a hotspot for the Cambodian art scene. Speaking of culture: Sin Sisamuth became famous beyond Cambodia’s borders with his song “Champa Battambang”. Cambodians still revere the singer today.

Bamboo Railway of Cambodia

For a long time, the bamboo railroad was considered THE tourist highlight in Battambang. A Grimme Award-winning documentation was even dedicated to it. Norry, the original, used to be the main artery for the local people. Everything was transported back and forth on the open little carts. Live animals for the market such as chickens and ducks, vegetables and fruit, whole families and even households.

Today, it mainly takes tourists from A to B. Once they arrive at their destination, a small stand with refreshments awaits them, depending on the line they have chosen. For USD, of course. It’s only fair if you buy something. There are now two lines. The new Banon Bamboo Train is not so popular among “connoisseurs”. The real bamboo train experience can only be had on the old tracks with their jolting Tok Tok … Tok Tok … Prices: Khmers pay 2.50 USD, foreigners 5 USD per person.

Phnom Sampov – monastery, bats, caves

Phnom Sampov (also known as Phnom Sampeau) is a place of nature, culture and history. You can easily spend several hours here alone. The bat cave at the foot of the mountain with its unique natural spectacle at dusk is particularly popular with tourists.

  • Wat Phnom Sampov: The wat is located at the top of the mountain on two levels, accessible by motorized (5 USD) or on foot (1 USD) for a fee.
  • Phnom Sampov Mountain: The view from the top of Phnom Sampov is simply breathtaking. Be sure to bring enough time to marvel at the swarming bats in time for dusk.
  • Killing Caves: grim reminders of the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror on the way to Wat Phnom Sampov. The caves served as execution sites for the atrocity perpetrators. Today, the Killing Caves are a place of remembrance for the victims.
  • Bat cave: An impressive natural spectacle can be observed at dusk, when millions of bats emerge from a cave at the foot of Phnom Sampov. The nocturnal mammals go in search of food and consume countless insects. With their “work”, they make a valuable contribution to pest control in the rice fields in Battambang. Tip: arrive in good time to catch a good spot.
  • Buddha statue and reliefs: To the left of the bat cave is a huge Buddha statue and larger-than-life reliefs carved into the stone.

Art & Culture in Battambang

  • Phare Ponleu Selpak: Translated “The Brightness of the Arts” – Phare Ponleu Selpak is a Cambodian non-profit art school and circus based in Battambang. Since 1994, it has been empowering children, youth and communities through artistic, educational, social support and outreach programs. The artists for the Phare Circus in Siem Reap* are also trained here.
  • Romcheik 5 Art Space & Café: Charming little rooftop café with art over 3 floors at 201A Street. Partly run by artists who are given rooms to work in.
  • Battambang Art-Tour: 3 different tours by the artist Poy Chhunly Rose Koeurm Kolab. The Art Experience Tour takes you on a journey of discovery of street art in Battambang. The other two tours are Lost Places and the History of Battambang.
  • S’art Urban Art Festival: StreetART Festival in Battambang, for the first time in 2023.

More tours & sights in Battambang

  • Phnom Banan, the temple mountain: also known as Banan Hill, is a mountain about 25 kilometers south of the provincial capital of Battambang. At the top of its plateau with a fantastic view are 5 towers. It can be reached via a 358-step stone staircase flanked by lions.
  • Ek Phnom: Hindu temple built under King Suryavarman in the 11th century, approx. 9 km north of the city of Battambang. Its special feature is a huge seated Buddha statue made of white stone, surrounded by 18 Bodhi trees.
  • Wat Piphetthearm: On Road No. 2, built at the end of the 19th century. The murals in the vihara are particularly beautiful.
  • Wat Dhum Rey Sor: Also called Damrey Sor Pagoda, translated as “Statue of the White Elephant”, is one of the oldest pagodas in Battambang. It is named after the statue of a white elephant on the stairs to the central monastery.
  • Samlaut Multiple Use Area: Declared a nature reserve in 1993, the area is home to wild Asian elephants in the last rainforest of Western Cambodia.
  • Culinary tour: On this tour, tuk tuk drivers take their guests to various small manufactories. Each of the small craft businesses produces its own product. Sticky rice, banana chips, rice paper, rice schnapps, rice noodles. A large fish factory is also part of the program. The providers are tuk tuk drivers from the region. They all know the individual locations and take their guests there. Simply ask at the hotel or guesthouse.
  • Fish factory: This place is not for the faint-hearted. Here, tons of fish are processed into prahok, fermented fish. A Cambodian specialty. The Khmer use specially constructed vehicles to transport the fish. This means that apart from the driver’s seat, all the interior has been removed and the fish is stacked in one piece and unpacked up to the ceiling of the car. A real feast for the nose AND the eyes.
  • Soksabike: Bicycle tours around Battambang. The main focus is on sustainable tourism. The tours are used to finance various projects in the surrounding villages. Information and booking options on the Soksabike website.
  • Phsar Boeung Chhoeuk: Colorful market and hustle and bustle with mountains of fruit and vegetables, fresh fish and meat and everything your culinary heart desires.
  • Islamic village community: A small village with a mosque. Only a few people of this faith live in Cambodia. 97 % are Buddhists, the remaining 3 % belong to Christianity, animism and Islam.

Hotels & Guesthouses in Battambang


  • Battambang Dream Bungalows: A gem in the north of Battambang. Rated with an incredible 9.4 points at The accommodation consists of small huts in the middle of extensive rice fields. Pure tranquillity and small but fine cuisine. I was there in 2019. An incredibly friendly family-run business. From 25 usd.
  • Por Chey Hostel: New hostel on Highway 57, only 700 m from Por Chey, the first hostel under the same management. Both popular and close to the old town center Overnight stay from 8 USD.

Medium price range

  • Battambang Resort: A little out of the way, but all the more idyllic for it. Surrounded by rice fields, the Battambang Resort delights its visitors with great rooms, excellent service and superb cuisine. A large pool and a lake belonging to the resort invite you to unwind. From 75 USD per night.
  • Au Cabaret Vert: Award-winning sustainable bungalow complex with pool near the center. Large menu with Asian and Western cuisine. From 55 USD per night.
  • Hotel La Villa: Here guests stay in style in an old villa from the French colonial era. Almost everything is preserved in its original state. The beds are velvety soft with canopies and beautifully high, the bathtub is free-standing on legs. Even the room keys are original and you are given instructions on how to use them. In the center directly on the right bank of the river. From 80 USD per night.

Upscale price range

  • Maisons Wat Kor: South of Battambang’s center. One of the places in Cambodia where Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt once resided. Voted one of the 10 best hotels in the world by the Tripadvisor community in 2021. Overnight stay from 370 USD.
  • Bambu Hotel: Close to the center of Battambang. Local Khmer combined with French colonial architecture. From 180 USD.

Food & drink

Battambang offers a variety of restaurants, street food and more. The nightlife also has a lot to offer.

  • Green Mango: Restaurant and café with lots of greenery and mega good cakes.
  • Rainbow: Restaurant and bar in one. Very popular with Cambodians, for tourists it takes some getting used to. A DJ sits on a stage, barely visible, behind a console. The dance music he plays is deafeningly loud, but nobody dances. Everyone is sitting at tables, talking (shouting) and munching away happily. Suddenly the music stops and shortly afterwards a live performance of slow Khmer songs begins. Be sure to visit to get to know the Khmer nightlife! North of the Sor Kheng Bridge, turn right onto road 203 and after about 200 meters on the right-hand side.
  • Zaun-Restaurant: A restaurant without a name, but for us the place to be when it comes to breakfast in Battambang. The special thing about this place is that you are served through a fence. Kitchen and service on one side, tables and chairs on the other. The fence belongs to the Sor Heu Secondary School on Road No. 2, which is open until midday from Monday to Saturday. Tip: After breakfast, visit the Piphetthearm Pagoda directly opposite.
  • Pizzeria da Claudio: If you’re not into Asian cuisine, this is the place for you. Little Italy in the middle of Battambang with great service and delicious food.
  • Jaan Bai: Opened in 2013 as one of the first educational restaurants under the supervision of the Cambodian Children’s Trust in Battambang, which was still quite sleepy at the time. A great restaurant with delicious dishes at moderate prices on Street no. 2. There is something for everyone here, including vegetarian and vegan cuisine. The cocktails are said to be the best in Battambang. Be sure to try the lime cheesecake. A poem!
  • Kinyei Cafe: Also with a social background, right next to Jaan Bai. Delicious cakes and unusual snacks in large portions. Be sure to try the creamy cappuccino. Cafe superstar Sakana Long won the title of best Cambodian barista here in 2013. At Street No. 1.5. open during the day until 5.00 pm.
  • Street food: On the east side of the Sangkor River and at the Phsar Nath market in the center. Just follow your nose from sunset to the best smells and try them. It’s worth it!
  • Balcony Bar: Restaurant, music venue and lounge night bar in a beautiful traditional wooden house with an open balcony overlooking a jungle garden and a view of the river. At Street No. 1
  • Miss Wong: As in Siem Reap, Miss Wong is one of the institutions in Battambang. Street 2 at Phsar Nat.


As everywhere in Cambodia, the tropical rule also applies to Battambang: cook, fry, peel or forget. Also use sunscreen and take precautions against mosquito bites.

Getting to Battambang

There is a wide choice: Battambang can be reached by bus, minivan, cab, train and, during the rainy season, by boat. The cheapest way is by bus. It takes about 5 hours from Phnom Penh and costs 24,000 riel (approx. 6 USD). The first bus leaves at 6.30 am, the last at 10.30 pm at night.

The cab is quicker at 4 hours. However, it is also the most expensive option. Due to the rise in fuel prices, you should expect to pay at least USD 80. The boat trip from Siem Reap across the Tonle Sap and Sangker rivers costs around 22 USD. The eight-hour trip starts at 7 in the morning. Although the longest, it is the most scenic trip. On the other hand, it’s quicker by bus or cab, taking 2-3 hours.

If you want to travel by train, take the only connection from Phnom Penh to Battambang at 6:40 in the morning. The 6.5 hour journey costs 8 USD.

The tickets can be booked at baolao, among others.

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Phare, the Cambodian Circus

A highlight in Siem Reap! Buy tickets online directly on the Circus Phare website*.

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