Top 6 best tourist spots in Battambang, Cambodia

Battambang is an intriguing city that is just now starting Cambodia to gain the respect and visitors it deserves. Roughly 7 hours from the capital of Cambodia, the town was teeming with French-era colonial homes and the distinct energy that only Cambodia can deliver.

This city offers tourists a genuine urban experience that cannot be replicated in Phnom Penh’s tourism sites. Battambang may not be as well-known as another city center like Phnom Penh, but it is an excellent complement to any Southeast Asian travel itinerary.

Battambang is a station you do not realize you need to make, but a place you will never regret.

Are you ready to explore this amazing town? Check out the best places to visit right here.

1. Phnom Sampeau 

Phnom Sampeau is a prehistoric site in Sampeau Commune, approximately 12 kilometers from Battambang. In Khmer, Phom Sampeau translates to ‘Ship Mountain’ because of its ship-like shape.

This mountain is entrenched in legend and myth. It is home to the well-known Killing Caves, a Bat Cave, and a pagoda on a 100-meter-high peak. Besides, there is an exquisite vantage where visitors can witness the greenish rice fields of the Battambang motherland. If you happen to come to Battambang, Phnom Sampeau is a thrilling trip you should make.

The natural Bat phenomena, beautiful rural vistas, and a tragic story of Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge’s regime between 1975 and 1979 of Phnom Sampeau’s legacy will take you to a whole new experience of Cambodian vibe. To access the site, you need a 2-USD ticket per adult. This ticket allows you to three main sites: Wat Ek Phnom, Phnom Sampeau, and Phnom Banan. All of these locations sell tickets.

2. Bat Caves

A visit to the Bat Caves of Phnom Sampeau is a must on all Battambang tourists’ itineraries. The site comes with a captivating history, breathtaking scenery, and a treasurable moment to witness nature work her wonder.

Bats Cave by Clément Falize
Bats Cave by Clément Falize

Visitors assemble at the roadside taverns and stalls, where foods, beverages, and shelter are provided. Tourists gather to see an astonishing natural panorama: the nightly migration of a massive swarm of hungry bats upon sunset. At twilight, thousands of bats fly out of Phnom Sampau’s cave, creating a spectacular sight for crowds. However, the bats will not harm you—they are too hectic searching for bugs to survive—but the buzz is so vast and fierce that you can sense the sky gets darker within 20-minute as the bats hover above. 

A local guide can bring you up to the cave’s mouth for those looking for extreme exploration. This is such a fascinating experience to be so close to the cloud of flying animals whistling out of the cave. The wave after wave of flying bats seems to paint the air with flowing black forms, creating a succession of enthralling visuals against a sunset-colored skyline.

3. Wat Ek Phnom

Wat Ek Phnom is a magnificent Angkorian temple located 13 kilometers north of Battambang. The temple is a popular picnic and religious place for local Khmer people during festive occasions, making it a notable destination for tourists.

Wat Ek Phnom, Battambang Province, Cambodia By Piotr D
Wat Ek Phnom, Battambang Province, Cambodia By Piotr D

Wat Ek Phnom is constructed of sandstone stones. Rocks encircle the sanatorium outside the wall and a Baray made up of Prasats or little shrines. These shrines are built on a big square stone pedestal. Most sculptures on the temple grounds are falling to pieces, with the sole extant building standing the temple’s central towers. Visitors must step over big chunks of sandstone in the temple grounds, giving the impression to the tourist that they are traveling through a historical memoir.

To visit Wat Ek Phnom, tourists are advised to dress modestly, as with all other temples’ dressing rituals in Cambodia. Women must always cover their shoulders and wear knee-length clothing. Both men and women are not permitted to wear sleeveless tops or shorts.

4. Banan Temple 

Banan Temple  is another splendid Angkorian temple in Battambang. It is 22 kilometers south of Battambang, which takes 45 to 50 minutes to get there from the city center. This temple, located on a hill near Sangkae river, offers a supreme 360-degree landscape.

Banon Mountain Temple in Battambang, Cambodia by IntoCambodia
Banon Mountain Temple in Battambang, Cambodia by IntoCambodia

The temple of Banan is famous for its five massive towers represented after the Angkor Wat temple. A visit to this temple is a big draw for both tourists and residents, particularly on weekends. From the summit, you will enjoy the picturesque landscape of rural Cambodia, featuring rice and paddy fields, palm trees, and the Sangkae River. Also, you will see the scenic neighboring mountain valley, including Phnom Sampeau to the north and Crocodile Mountain to the south.

Pond at the footage of Banon  Mountain. Battambang Cambodia by IntoCambodia
Pond at the footage of Banon Mountain. Battambang Cambodia by IntoCambodia

Tourists often explore a tunnel at the mountain’s base that leads to the temple. There is not much sunlight inside, but local youngsters frequently volunteer to assist and guide with torches for a decent price. You must walk via a very tight passage to see the succession of dripstone hanging from the caverns’ ceiling.

5. Bamboo Train 

The Bamboo Train, the so-called Nori, is one of Battambang’s most famous sights. It takes around 25 minutes to reach the station and board the bamboo train from Battambang downtown.

The bamboo train is an antique railway built of bamboo or wood that runs on a basic motor system. It carries visitors through the lovely landscape of Battambang on a 20-minute excursion. In fact, the ancient Nori was later closed. So, the new bamboo motor-powered trains with nice cushioned seats operate throughout the day. This new Nori boards at the base of Phnom Banan, a historic Angkorian temple in Sang Village. The trail is around 4 kilometers long and terminates at Chouteau Commune. Traveling through beautiful scenery of villages with rice fields, temples, fruit orchards, and local flora, Battambang bamboo trains make it a worthwhile site to visit.

The trains stop for around 10 minutes in the middle of a hamlet, where villagers sell beverages, snacks, and even handicrafts. They may be relentlessly enticing the tourists to buy, particularly the kids who also offer to be your tour guides.

6. Phare Ponleu Selpak

Phare Ponleu is situated in Anh Chanh village, and Ochare commune; it takes 45 minutes from Battambang’s downtown. This is a non-profit multi-arts organization for Cambodian children, well known for its circus performances.

Founded in 1994, Phare Ponleu Selpak means “Brightness of the Arts” in Khmer. The organization helps Cambodian young children by training and teaching them in circus arts like juggling, clowning, theater, acrobats, dance displays, educational class, and public assistance. As a result, young children study the fundamental skills that will allow them to earn a living.

Visiting this location is one of the must-do activities in the city, especially if you are traveling with children. You will see many marvelous circuses, acts, storytelling, and performances delivered by kids of all ages.