Whilst the town of Battambang has its own charm, the main reason to visit this area is to explore the beautiful surrounding countryside and all it has to offer. Cycle, kayak or stroll through picturesque scenery, passing monasteries and sleepy villages, stopping off to learn about local life in rural Cambodia.
Battambang is popular with ex-pats, which resulted in one of the country’s best food scenes, although this is still very casual. The town’s other claim to fame is that it is the home of Cambodia’s most well-known circus, Phare Ponleu Selpak.
The mountain of Phnom Sampeu stands around 12 kilometres from Battambang. The top of Phnom Sampeu offers wonderful views and a collection of temples, however it is slightly lower down that mountain’s main historical legacy can be found. There are caves around half-way up the mountain, and this was one of the sites where the Khmer Rouge massacred thousands of Cambodian people. A glass case filled with bones now stands here, watched over by a golden Buddha statue.
The countryside around Battambang is some of the most fertile land in the country, and this province produces a large percentage of Cambodia’s fruit, vegetables and rice. Venture around the rice paddies and orchards by bicycle, and spend some time with the locals, learning about their farms.