Battambang Province is in northwestern Cambodia. The province shares its name with its capital city, Battambang. It is the fifth largest province in Cambodia, while Battambang city is Cambodia’s second largest city. That being said, it still has the feel of a small Cambodian town and much of its charm still remains.
The province reaches the banks of Tonle Sap Lake which is one of their primary sources of water. The other source comes from the Stueng Sangker River which flows through Battambang city. Hence, the soil there is rich in minerals making the land ripe for agriculture. Both the fishing and agricultural industries benefit from having an ample supply of water.
Part of Battambang Province, where it meets the Tonle Sap Lake, is included in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The Biosphere Reserve was established by way of Royal Decree in 2001.
Cambodia’s “Rice Bowl”, Battambang is famous for its high-quality rice and cottage industries such as the production of rice noodles and palm wine. Based on a river, it’s the perfect town for afternoon strolls and viewing the remaining French colonial architecture. Battambang is also a great place to explore by bicycle.
There are many riverside restaurants offering amazingly delicious local Khmer and western cuisine, a number of which directly support local community organisations.
Battambang is also putting itself on the map for its art scene, with local and international artists regularly holding art exhibitions in town.
Battambang has a climate similar to Siem Reap, enjoying warm to hot weather all year round. The climate is generally broken down into three seasons, (hot, cool and rainy).
Cool Season – Nov – March (23c – 29c)
Hot Season – March – May (27c-37c)
Rainy season: May – October (24c-33c)
Battambang has a number of culturally significant sites including ancient pagodas and remnants of French colonial architecture. Relatively undisturbed by western influences, the town still holds all its local charm and is full of friendly, smiling Khmer people who have a genuine interest in showing you their beloved Cambodia.
The province has a particularly dark past, only freeing itself from the Khmer Rouge stronghold in 1996.
Things to Do
Constructed in the 11th Century, Phnom Banan is and Angkorian style temple which sits on a mountaintop in Battambang and overlooks the surrounding countryside. The temple has 5 towers and resembles a miniature Angkor Wat. The mountain temple is accessed by climbing a number of stairs, however, the fresh air from the top and stunning scenery make the climb worthwhile.
Phnom Sampeou is another mountain in Battambang Provinces which is home to the temple Wat Sampeou. This mountain temple also offers some of the best views over Battambang of the city and countryside surrounding it.
The mountain is also home to culturally significant caves that are said to have been the site of Khmer Rouge executions.
Wat Ek Phnom
Located around 45 minutes from Battambang town, Wat Ek Phnom is an 11th-century temple (pagoda). Partially in ruins, the pagoda has intricate carvings and is well worth the visit for the scenic countryside drive on the way there. A beautiful while Buddha statue is also located at Wat Ek Phnom.