upon a time, in the heart of Cambodia, lies a hidden gem of a city
known as Battambang. Our preferred city in Cambodia, after Siem Reap,
it stands nestled in the northwestern region of the country: boasting
an abundance of tourist, cultural, and gastronomic attractions.
starters, Battambang is a haven for history enthusiasts. Visitors can
explore the famous Wat Banan temple, an ancient Khmer temple located
atop a hill, which provides a breathtaking view of the surrounding
countryside. The temple dates back to the 11th century and features
five towers that are reminiscent of Angkor Wat (Siem Reap and its
legendary temples are a 160km, 3 hours car or comfy bus ride: so, DO
combine a visit of both cities). Another popular site is the Killing
Caves, a chilling reminder of the atrocities committed by the Khmer
Rouge regime in the 1970s.
from its rich history, Battambang is also a hub of artistic and
cultural activities. The city is home to numerous art galleries,
cultural centers, and performance spaces, showcasing traditional Khmer
dance, music, and theater. Visitors can catch a live performance at the
famous Phare Ponleu Selpak circus, where local performers dazzle
audiences with their acrobatic skills and entertaining shows.
visit to Battambang is complete without indulging in the local cuisine.
The city is known for its mouth-watering street food and vibrant night
market. Visitors can sample the famous num banh chok, a Khmer noodle
dish that is typically eaten for breakfast, or try some grilled meat
skewers, fresh seafood, or tropical fruits.
Central Market, in its French colonial style, is a living remain of the
French Protectorate. It is the heart of the colonial district,
spreading along the riverside.
nicely restaured houses, impressive mansions and palaces, banks and
administrative offices, make the traveller travelling back in time.
More than Angkor and Siem Reap, Battambang is the most beautiful city
in term of architecture. Few tourists know about it; that why most of
the foreign visitors are quality travellers, participating in the so
unique atmosphere of the so unique Battambang. Its Western residents
feature a discreet, yet world famous actress called...Angelina Jolie.
After staying long term at the enchanting Maisons Wat Kor, with Brad
and the kids, she acquired land and a traditional house in the
For those who want to get off
the beaten track, Battambang has plenty of natural and eco-tourism
attractions to offer. Do like us, and explore the scenic countryside by
bicycle (most of the hotels can provide it), or take a boat ride along
the tranquil Sangkae River. The city is also a gateway to the nearby
Phnom Sampeau mountain, where visitors can hike to the top and visit
the ancient pagoda and bat caves.
large, yet off the beaten paths city, Battambang is a hidden treasure
of Cambodia, offering a plethora of tourist, cultural, and gastronomic
attractions. Whether you're a history buff, an art enthusiast, or a
foodie, this city has something for everyone. So pack your bags and get
ready to explore this enchanting destination!
How to get
There are several options to travel from Siem Reap to Battambang:
By bus: There
are several bus companies that operate daily buses from Siem Reap to
Battambang. The journey takes around 3-4 hours depending on traffic and
road conditions. We usually travel with Virak Buntham Express. Unless you
like speed and adrenaline injection, avoid their vans, and prefer their
comfortable and safe minibus. For more flexibility, we always book our
tickets via BookMeBus Cambodia.
They are good and responsive. The price is the same compared with
booking directly with the company. Around USD 11 only, one way.
By taxi: You can hire a
private taxi from Siem Reap to Battambang. The journey takes around 3
hours and is a more comfortable option than the bus. You can find taxis
at the airport or through your hotel. Price is negociable, yet a bit
high: USD 100 – 120. You gain 30 minutes only compared with the
minibus, but the later is safer. We therefore DO recommend bus,
whatever your budget.
By boat: You can
take a scenic boat ride from Siem Reap to Battambang along the Sangker
River. The journey takes around 6-7 hours, but it offers beautiful
views of the Cambodian countryside. However, boat service may be
subject to seasonal variation or cessation due to water levels or other
factors. This romantic, adventurous option is worth if you have time,
and costs only USD 20-25 per passenger.
Astonishingly, Battambang doesn’t get so many attractive hotels. It has
much choice for the backpacker, all around the Central Market. The few
five / four star hotels are mostly boutique, located a five / ten slow
bicycle ride, in the peaceful, lushly outskirts of the city.
We really love two hotels, where we enjoyed a wonderful stay.
The best option for those who want to be in the
city center is Cambana La Rivière. We like the Cambana group of hotels
concept, and already experienced its two properties in Siem Reap (Cambana Residence
d'Ankor Suites). Their hotel in Battambang is located close to the
riverside, opposite the touristy quays near the French colonial Central
Market, in a quiet residential area. It offers a truly authentic
experience that immerses you in the local culture and traditions.The
architecture is as appealing, in a modern, neo-French style with a
Khmer touch, englobing a lovely swimming pool. The designers worked
hard, and successfully, on a sophisticated illumination system bathing
the buildings in a magic light after sunset. That’s a bit unexpected in
a remote provincial city like Battambang. We really loved it.
From the moment we arrive, the young and cheerful feminine staff
greeted us with warm smiles, fresh towels, and a refreshing welcome
drink that instantly sets the tone for our stay. The staff goes above
and beyond to make sure we had everything we need. It was very
accommodating in the small restaurant where we had our succulent a la
carte breakfast with a fragrant and powerful Espresso produced using
the local ground.
The 13 rooms at Cambana La Rivière are simply stunning. Each one is
uniquely decorated with local art and stylish modern furnishings,
creating a cozy and inviting atmosphere. Again, we appreciated the
lighting system which goes from atmospheric to practical. That’s what
we shall remember from this hotel: the lights! The Pullmann beds
are incredibly comfortable, and the linens are soft and luxurious,
ensuring a great, silent night's sleep.
We were lucky to get upgraded into their «Pool Villa». The name refered
to the proximity of the pool, as there was only a large outdoor stone
tub in the secluded private garden, a bit long to fill-up, but so
pleasant by night, listing music and smoking a Cuban cigar in the
lukewarm water… That’s what we like with Cambana: they doted most of
their rooms with large tubs or Jacuzzi, should it be in Battambang or
There is a well equiped gym, and room service. F&B is good, and
really fairly priced. That’s the ideal hotel for those who want to mix
excursions and relaxation.
CAMBANA LA RIVIERE:
Romchek 5, Ratanak Commune, Sangkat Rottanak, Krong Battambang,
Battambang, Kingdom of Cambodia
PHONE: +855 17 977 727 |
070 766 188
A bit far from the city center, yet located amidst a
pleasant, lushly neighbouring, Maisons Wat Kor is a prestigious special
lodging, famous for being the long stay home of Brad Pitt, Angelina
Jolie, and family, when they were in Cambodia.
The friendly and anticipating owners, Kim Nou and Sophea, supervised
our comfortable and intimate experience in one of the villas located
close to the large swimming pool. The villas are isolated enough to
provide privacy, and are designed in a Khmer regional style.
The furniture is simple yet elegant, made of carefully selected,
legally traded old wood. The air-conditioned rooms are immaculately
clean, and the amenities include a large writing desk with a complete
tea / coffee facility, and a safety box.
The owners served their guests bio-coffee produced in the area, as well
as tea, in lovely china bowls reminding us of our childhood when
people, at least in France, still used to sip their coffee from a bowl
instead of a cup… That’s a part of the nostalgy of this delightful
The small open-air SPA, located beside the lily pond, is the place for
Khmer massage al fresco.
We dined every night at “La Terrasse du Lotus,” which serves a Khmer
option for the rich breakfast, and an updated set menu for dinner.
The hotel's atmosphere is idyllic, with tropical birds, the frogs' love
ritual, and the scent of flowers in the air.
Talkative Kim Nou entertained us with informations about Battambang and
its region, and told us captivating stories about his dreadful life as
a child during the Khmer Rouges reign. His tragic yet exciting
adventures inspired Angelina Jolie's movie “First They Killed My
MAISONS WAT KOR: St 800, Wat
Kor Village, Battambang, Kingdom of Cambodia
PHONE: +855 17 555 377
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