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While Battambang may be Cambodia's second largest city, it's a different world from Phnom Penh. There's a quieter, gentler way of life in this agricultural capital and the pace meanders like the river that runs through it. Located in the northwest of the country, about a 2 1/2 hour drive from Siem Reap, Battambang is most known for its French architecture, bamboo train (soon to be dismantled), Phare Ponlue Selpak circus and dubious reputation for having the country's only winery, the Prasat Banan winery. It's also a great spot for exploring ancient temples, most notably Phnom Banon (a ruined temple at the top of a mountain where you ...

While Battambang may be Cambodia's second largest city, it's a different world from Phnom Penh. There's a quieter, gentler way of life in this agricultural capital and the pace meanders like the river that runs through it. Located in the northwest of the country, about a 2 1/2 hour drive from Siem Reap, Battambang is most known for its French architecture, bamboo train (soon to be dismantled), Phare Ponlue Selpak circus and dubious reputation for having the country's only winery, the Prasat Banan winery. It's also a great spot for exploring ancient temples, most notably Phnom Banon (a ruined temple at the top of a mountain where you can look across miles of rice fields) and Phnom Sampeau, known as the killing cave because of the devastation caused here during the Khmer Rouge regime (also the spot where millions of bats stream from every evening). For outdoor lovers, there’s a wonderful kayak trip down the river, biking tours can be arranged into the countryside and home stays are available in the rural outskirts.

Gabrielle Yetter
About the Expert

Gabrielle Yetter writes the LeBoost Phnom Penh guidebook, completed a book on traditional Cambodian desserts, and wrote the chapter on Cambodia for a book about moving to Southeast Asia. She has been living in Phnom Penh since 2010.

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Gabrielle Yetter for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Northwestern Cambodia, on the Sangker River
  • Language: Khmer
  • Currency: Cambodia Riel
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    It's best to try to avoid rainy season (June to November) if you want to explore outdoor attractions.