Phnom Penh Getaways – Battambang Guide

As part of Cambodia Lifestyle’s Phnom Penh getaways series, we present our Battambang Guide, featuring how to get here, where to stay and of course what to do in this Cambodian city.

When given time off it is very easy to tend to look to the near abroad, with flights to Thailand being $50 and buses to Saigon half of that, but this ignores some neat places you can check out within the Kingdom, such as Battambang. 

This fairly big city is often overlooked by both tourists and locals alike, which is a shame, because although it might not exactly be New York, when you scratch beneath the surface you will find a lot to love about the city.

How do you get from Phnom Penh to Battambang (and back).

We will not go too hell for leather on this subject, as we have already covered it another article, but it is really easy to get to the city in 5-8 hours.

Why the big difference you ask? Well if you want quick and efficient then you take the bus, but if you want slow and scenic, you take the train. Alas the train can and often is late on arrival, but this is no big deal as the journey is so picturesque.  

Alas there are no flights to Battambang yet, although an international airport has been mooted.

Sleeping in Battambang

There are a plethora of sleeping options in Battambang and they git pretty much every budget from gritty hostels all the way up to 5 star hotels and resorts, although you will not find a Hilton here….

The happy price point though seems to be at round the $30 mark, which covers resorts with pools. For this we checkout out a few places, but found the very centrally located, but not as easy on the tongue Vinear Sovannaphoum Resort to be the best. Great staff, nice location, lovely pool and overall ticks the boxes that make Cambodia Lifestyle happy.

Eating and drinking in Battambang

Before coming here you need to realize that Battambang is not Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, or even Kampot and you will not get the same range as you would in these cities.

Should you really need it there are some backpacker places, a curry house, lots of pizza and pseudo-western coffee joints. 

In reality though what Battambang lacks is also what gives it strength. The riverside here is where all of the action takes place and there is quite literally street food for as far as they eye can see, covering most everything you could dream of from Khmer cuisine. I might even go as far as to say that it has the biggest range of street food of any place within the Kingdom.

And of course if your tastes are higher grade, there are more upscale Chinese, Khmer and western restaurants, although far less than in the big cities.

Drinking here tends to be done in the restaurants, although there are a few Sky Bars offering cocktails from as little as $2,50, as well as Khmer joints along the river selling cheap beers to the masses. You will not go hungry or thirsty in Battambang.

What is there to do in Battambang

Of course the main reason to travel is to do “stuff” and Battambang has stuff. These include sites related to the Khmer Rouge, as well as nighttime trips to a bat cave and perhaps what the city is most famous for, the Bamboo train.

Said bamboo train is a makeshift train used to run along the train tracks of Battambang, which can be put together and taken apart with absolute ease, as you will find out whenever there is a “traffic jam”.

Yes it is a bit touristy, but it also offers one of the best opportunities to get truly out in the countryside, although you really should bring sunscreen….

Battambang guide to getting out….

There are regular buses back to Phnom Penh which leave at all hours, as well as a daily train going back in the other direction. Both of these options are about $8.

Should you wish to double down and continue your adventure though, even by rail then Battambang is just a few hours from Poipet, the border city with Thailand from where one can get a train, or bus all the way to Bangkok and beyond…

Gareth Johnson
Author: Gareth Johnson

Gareth Johnson is the founder of Young Pioneer Tours and has visited over 180+ countries. His passion is opening obscure destinations to tourism and sharing his experience of street food.