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There's something about Battambang that visitors just love. Forget the fact that there's really not all that much to do in the city proper: the colonial architecture teetering into genteel disrepair, the riverside setting, the laid-back cafes – they all make up for it. It's the perfect blend of relatively urban modernity and small-town friendliness. Outside the city's confines, meanwhile, timeless hilltop temples and bucolic villages await. Not to mention the most scenic river trip in the country, which links Battambang with Siem Reap. That Cambodia's best-known circus (the magnificent Phare Ponleu Selpak) is here is no coincidence: the city has an enduring tradition of producing many of Cambodia’s best-loved singers, actors and artists.

Battambang Weather Overview

The weather in Battambang is split into two spells, the dry season and the wet season. Temperatures usually range between 21°C and 36°C. The warm and parched climate of the dry season forms the best time of the year to explore Battambang. Let us read on to know how the different seasons attract tourism prospects.

Dry Season (October to Early May)

The aptest time of the year to explore Battambang is between November and February. These months fall under the dry season and witness a pleasant climate with temperatures ranging between 18°C and 27°C. Overall, the weather during the dry season continually hovers around the 30°C mark. Tourists who visit Battambang at this time of the year find perfect conditions to venture into ancient shrines such as Wat Ek Phnom Temple, and Wat Banan Temple. The warm and bright weather proves apt for trekking up Phnom Sampeou Mountain or riding through picturesque landscapes in a bamboo train.

Wet season (Early May to September)

During the wet season, Battambang experiences cloudy weather with September receiving the highest amount of rainfall. The heavy precipitation creates a pleasant atmosphere around the city with temperatures fluctuating between 25°C and 30°C. The landscapes around Battambang turn beautiful during the wet season thanks to lush greenery. The best thing about exploring this city during the wet season is lesser crowds and convenient access to the tourist hubs. Tourists can either experience regular circus performances at the Battambang Circus or hop onto the Nory Bamboo Train during the rainy season.

Check the below table for the general idea of Battambang weather throughout the year.

Month High/Low (°C) Rain
January 35°/ 21° 0 days
February 36°/ 20° 0 days
March 36°/ 24° 10 days
April 35°/ 24° 15 days
May 35°/ 25° 22 days
June 34°/ 25° 18 days
July 32°/ 24° 21 days
August 31°/ 24° 24 days
September 31°/ 23° 27 days
October 32°/ 23° 22 days
November 32°/ 21° 6 days
December 32°/ 19° 0 days

Best time to go to Battambang

The best time to visit Battambang is between October and January. The weather is not hot, and the humidity is less during these months. From late February, summer sets in slowly with March to May being the hottest months. Monsoon begins in late July and lasts until September, with the city witnessing landslides and floods. 

Battambang Current Weather & 7-Day Forecast

BATTAMBANG PROVINCE WEATHER

Despite being Cambodia’s second largest city, time seemingly stands still when visitors land in Battambang. Compared with the tourist hubs of Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, there are few visitors and the city — more like a small town — has retained its Cambodian charm. Here are the top things to see and do in Battambang.

Take a trip on the bamboo train

A huge sigh of relief rippled across Cambodia when in January, the government announced that the bamboo train was back on track and being reinstated in a different area after operations were halted in its original location. Called a norry in Khmer, the “train” consists of a small bamboo platform covered with a mat and a few thin cushions to sit on. This sits on two sets of bogies with a motor at the back. A wooden pole is used as both the brakes and accelerator, with the train hitting speeds of up to 50km/h. A truly hair-raising ride.

Go to the circus

As Cambodia’s creative capital, it’s only right that Battambang is home to Phare Ponleu Selpak. The organisation offers underprivileged youngsters free arts training in a range of skills. It’s most famous for the circus performances that can be found in Siem Reap and Battambang, which feature a range of jaw-dropping acrobatics. Visitors can take a daily tour of the campus before stopping off to see a circus show.

Visit the bat caves

Take a tuk tuk in mid-afternoon to Phnom Sampeou, about 12km from Battambang centre, and head to the peak. Here, you’ll find Wat Sampeou and its stunning views that stretch uninterrupted into the horizon. Visitors can explore the temple as well as the neighbouring Killing Caves, where Khmer Rouge soldiers pushed their victims to their deaths. A shrine sits inside the caves. Just before dusk, head back down to the base, and join the crowds that gather at about 6pm to watch the seemingly endless stream of bats pour out of the caves for a night of hunting.

Explore the city

Battambang is home to Cambodia’s best-kept collection of colonial buildings and other ancient architecture, which is well worth viewing. Khmer Architecture Tours offers a downloadable map so visitors can take their time exploring the city. Alternatively, Free Cycle Tours, led by Cambodian students, offers free walking excursions around Battambang. For those of you fearful of fatigue, fret not because the city is compact, so not much effort is needed to get around on foot.

Get a massage

After all that sightseeing, the best way to unwind is through a rejuvenating massage. Nature Boutique Spa is one of the latest offerings to open and boasts a truly tranquil helping of treatments, from a sports massage and four-hand massage, to foot reflexology and a tropical treatment. Scrubs are also available. A café is onsite, serving up healing teas.
Nature Boutique Spa, Pub St, Krong Battambang, Cambodia, +855 12 251 569

Visit an art gallery

No trip to Cambodia’s artistic hub is complete without visiting some of the city’s galleries and studios. Romcheik5, across the river from the city centre, has served as the studios of four young Cambodian artists since 2012. It has since expanded and now takes in rotating exhibitions from local contemporary artists and offers a permanent exhibition of the residents’ work. Sangker Art Space and Gallery is another spot that hosts changing exhibits from local artists. Visitors can also meet those working in their studios to find out more about their work.

Romcheik5, Street 201, Krong Battambang, Cambodia, +855 92 304 210

Sangker Art Space and Gallery, 229 Rd No 1.5, Krong Battambang, Cambodia

Battambang by bike

Battambang is home to Soksabike, an award-winning pioneering sustainable tourism venture that offers vocational training for local students while giving visitors the chance to see first-hand local living. The range of tours take in a Local Livelihood trip, visiting rural communities, a customs and culture tour and a countryside jaunt.

Soksabike, Street 1.5, near Psar Nath (central market), Krong Battambang, Cambodia, +855 12 542 019

Stuff your face

Jaan Bai is undeniably one of Cambodia’s top restaurants. The Cambodian Children’s Trust-operated restaurant trains and employs disadvantaged young people in the area, who cook and serve a delightful array of dishes. The social enterprise is also a big supporter of the local art scene and regularly hosts exhibitions. A huge colourful mural painted by local artists adorns the outside wall — a great spot for photos.

Jaan Bai, Street 2 in next to Psar Nat, Krong Battambang, Cambodia, +855 78 263 144

Prasat Banan

Take a tuk tuk about 23km south of Battambang city to 11th century temple, Prasat Banan. Don’t let the 358-stair climb put you off because the views of the surrounding countryside make every step worth it. Not over-run by tourists, you can explore the five-tower temple that was built by Udayadityavarman II, son of Suryavarman I, with ease. The site is also home to several caves, which can be visited by one of the guides available to hire for a few dollars from the temple.

Mrs Bun Roeung’s Ancient House

If you fancy immersing yourself in rural Cambodian living, then take a trip to Mrs Bun Roeung’s Ancient House. As one of a handful of heritage houses located in Wat Kor village, the stilted house showcases traditional Cambodian living, built from sturdy wood and surrounded by orchards and palm trees. Tours of the house, which Mrs Bun grew up in and is full of family artefacts, are given in French and English. There is also the option to stay in accommodation at the back of the property.

Take a river cruise

Battambang city sits on the banks of the Sangker river, and there are several companies offering river cruises that take in life along the waterways. Gecko Private River Cruise offers intimate boat trips for one and two people that pass by fishing communities, families cooking on the shores and children splashing in the water.

Shop at the night market

Shoppers have two options: the original night market, which sits at the northeast corner of Psar Nath market or the new night market on the riverfront. At both, you’ll find street vendors serving up local bites, souvenirs and an array of clothes. Remember to barter to bag a bargain.

Dubbed the rice bowl of Cambodia, Battambang is home to sprawling rice fields, stunning countryside and the country’s second-largest city. While it may appear sleepy on the outside, the understatedly charming city boasts a thriving arts scene and a swathe of restaurants serving up everything from contemporary Cambodian cuisine to traditional Khmer desserts. Here are 10 of the best places to eat out.

Jaan Bai

By far one of Cambodia’s best restaurants, Jaan Bai is a must-visit for foodies. Translating as ‘rice bowl’, the social-enterprise diner is run by the Cambodian Children’s Trust, which provides vocational hospitality training for young people. The menu spans a range of contemporary Khmer dishes, with many ingredients coming from the restaurant’s farm. Both the twice-cooked Australian coconut-braised beef and the Kampot pepper crab with chilli jam are to die for. Channelling an artsy vibe – a cool Khmer mural covers one outer wall – Jaan Bai is also a great place to kick back with an early-evening cocktail.

Address: Phum 20 Ousphea Krong Battambang, Battambang Province, Cambodia, +855 78 263 144

Kinyei

Packaging a coffee shop, art gallery and co-working space into one place, Kinyei houses an award-winning social enterprise café that’s scooped first place in two Cambodian National Barista Championships. The evidence of its success is in the coffee, which is undeniably the best in Battambang. With a super-chilled vibe and super-speedy wi-fi, Kinyei is the perfect spot to enjoy a well-cooked breakfast, lunch or cheeky cake, washed down with a hot drink or smoothie. The shop is also home to Soksabike Tours, with bikes available to rent for $2 (£1.60) a day.

Address: Road No 1.5, Phum 20 Ousphea Krong Battambang, Cambodia, +855 10 643 958

Cafe Eden

If you’re craving the comforting taste of home (if you happen to be from the West), then Cafe Eden has got you covered. Offering huge portions of American-inspired dishes, menu items range from a towering toasted bagel with cream cheese and various fillings, to Philly cheesesteaks and a mighty fine eggs Benedict. Run by a Christian social enterprise, the café ploughs all profits back into staff training as well as other local services. A happy hour runs daily from 3pm to 7pm, with an in-store boutique selling crafts and clothing.

Address: Road No 1, Phum Prek Mohatep Krong Battambang, Battambang Province, Cambodia, +855 77 534 840

Choco L’Art Cafe

In keeping with Battambang’s arty scene, Choco L’Art Cafe is run by Khmer painter Ke and his French partner Soline. Showcasing stacks of local art, the diner is famous throughout the city for its home-made breads and delicious, French-inspired desserts – think chocolate hazelnut cake, rich mousses, pastries and crêpes. Also serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, this cosy haunt boasts a simple menu that takes in sandwiches and omelettes. The venue also occasionally features live music.

Address: Street 117, Phum 20 Ousphea Krong Battambang, Cambodia, +855 10 661 617

Monorom Garden

As one of Battambang’s longest-standing vegetarian eateries, Monorom Garden – previously known as Mercy House – is a stalwart on the city’s restaurant scene. The menu spans Asia, with a predominance of Japanese and Korean dishes, such as teppanyaki, alongside traditional Cambodian meals, including a meat-free lok lak. If you’re vegan, mention this to the staff, as egg is included in a number of the recipes.

Address: Street 101, Phum Prek Mohatep Krong Battambang, Cambodia, +855 12 243 364

The River

Ideally located for sundowners, The River is – unsurprisingly – set on the banks of the Sangker River, which slices through Battambang. Offering an extensive and affordable menu, the restaurant focuses on both Western and Khmer cuisine, with prices ranging from $2 to $4 (£1.60-£3.20). While breakfast, lunch and dinner are all available, sunset is the best time to choose a spot and watch the sun slip below the horizon, cocktail or draft beer in hand.

Address: Road No. 1A, Phum Prek Mohatep Krong Battambang, Cambodia

Jewel in the Lotus

Doubling up as an art gallery and bar-restaurant, Jewel in the Lotus attracts a creative crowd. Featuring pieces by local and foreign artists, this popular haunt is the brainchild of curator Darren and his Khmer artist wife, Khchao Touch, who are happy to talk about the work on display and the city’s vibrant art scene. Serving Western and Asian dishes in a well-thought-out space, the venue also hosts movie nights throughout the week.

Address: Phum 20 Ousphea Krong Battambang, Battambang Province, Cambodia

Nary Kitchen

For some hearty Cambodian cooking with recipes taken straight from the countryside, Nary Kitchen is the place to be. Very reasonably priced meals take in traditional dishes, such as lok lak (beef stir-fry) and amok (curry steam-cooked in banana leaves), as well as vegetarian options. There’s also the chance to join a Khmer cooking class and learn how to rustle up Cambodian cuisine for yourself.

Address: Street 111, Krong Battambang, Cambodia, +855 12 763 950

Coconut Lyly

A graduate of the prestigious Paul Dubrule culinary school in Siem Reap, restaurant owner Lyly has done an outstanding job with his venture. Coconut Lyly offers a range of Cambodian delicacies, prepared using fresh and healthy ingredients, minus the MSG flavour enhancer commonly found in Khmer dishes. Vegetarian options are available, and Mr Lyly also runs popular cookery classes, covering both veggie and meat recipes.

Address: Street 111, Krong Battambang, Cambodia, +85516399339

La Casa Battambang

If it’s a doughy carb-fest you’re after, then head straight for La Casa Battambang – a simple affair plating up tasty, thin-crust pizzas with a variety of toppings, including lok lak and tom yum. Also on the menu is a selection of pasta, salads, starters and desserts (the chocolate fondue is a highlight). With both outdoor and indoor seating, there’s no shortage of space to enjoy a leisurely meal.

Address: Street 115, Phum 20 Ousphea Krong Battambang, Cambodia, +855 81 610 177

Cambodia’s second city — albeit rather sleepy — is home to a swathe of accommodation, catering to all budgets and needs. Here are some of the best places to stay in Battambang.

Bambu Hotel

Keeping its reputation as one of Battambang’s top boutique hotels, this stylish offering is situated slightly out of town, making the province’s stunning countryside all the more accessible. It boasts 16 guest rooms, a restaurant and bar, outdoor pool, tropical gardens and free WiFi.

The Sanctuary Villa Battambang

With 12 guest rooms, this intimate hotel boasts a restaurant and bar area, outdoor pool, babysitting services, a spa and business centre and free continental breakfast. Nestled on the outskirts of town, a free shuttle bus is available for guests.

Royal Hotel, Krong Battambang

This family-run hotel is centrally-located and offers all the creature comforts you may need. With 42 rooms, the rooftop features a restaurant and bar, with cheaper dorm accommodation. And while it may not have a pool, the relatively recent addition of a hot tub kind of makes up for it.

Ramchang Guesthouse, Battambang

If it’s bang for your buck that you’re after, then Ramchang Guesthouse fits the bill. The clean and contemporary 20 rooms span double offerings through to spacious family rooms. There is also an outdoor pool, luggage storage and free WiFi and parking. All rooms feature a private bathroom and cable TV.

Asia Hotel, Battambang

Combining contemporary designs with Khmer style, this 50-room hotel is located on the outskirts of town, with shuttle facilities available for guests wanting to explore the area. A restaurant is onsite, with all rooms featuring a private bathroom, minibar and cable TV. WiFi is also available throughout the hotel.

Classy Hotel & Spa, Battambang

Centrally-located Classy Hotel & Spa blends crisp contemporary décor with traditional Khmer design. Rooms are affordable, and bright and breezy, with 128 ranging from superior to deluxe. The hotel comes complete with two restaurants and three bars, an outdoor pool, roof terrace, spa and gym and tropical gardens.

Maisons Wat Kor, Battambang

This hotel boasts a beautiful mix of 10 traditional wooden Khmer houses and traditionally decorated rooms dotted throughout tropical gardens. A restaurant and bar is onsite, as well as an outdoor pool, business centre and terrace. Free tea and coffee is served in the common area, with in-room childcare available at an additional cost.

By train

Plans do exist for a rail upgrade though there are no services at all at present -- well, except for the bamboo variety. For onward travel you have a choice of bus services or taxis, with the extra option of boat travel in the case of Siem Reap.

By bus

Battambang does not as yet have the swish services that the Phnom Penh-Siem Reap route does, though you could now take a VIP minibus, which is likely to have WiFi. The main buses will be pretty basic, and there’s little to differentiate them in terms of price or service.

Plenty of buses leave throughout the day from both Siem Reap and Phnom Penh and all points en route, with a more restricted service to Pailin as well. Times vary with road and weather conditions but normally allow six to seven hours from Phnom Penh, and three or four for Siem Reap. We know the websites say five hours from Phnom Penh, but that’s rather hopeful. You can shave off an hour for Siem Reap or the capital if you’re using a minibus but bear in mind you don’t necessarily get the same seating space as in a large bus.

Some places will offer tickets to further destinations such as Sihanoukville, Bangkok or Saigon but unless it’s an urgent journey we reckon it’s much better to break up your journey in Phnom Penh.

By boat

Daily boats run the scenic journey across the Tonle Sap and up the Sangke river between Battambang and Siem Reap, leaving from each port at 07:00 every morning.

Arrival times can vary enormously depending on which boat is being used, and the water levels - indeed during the dry months of March and April services may be cancelled due to low water. We’ve also seen services interrupted by infestations of water hyacinth blocking up the waterways, so do not take departures for granted either -- check ahead of time.

At best in September and October when the channels are full the trip will take seven hours, while during the dry season it can take anything up to 10 or 12 (and more). Note boats will generally make only one stop -- at a grocery store in Bak Preah floating village –- and otherwise there is nowhere to buy any snacks or drinks, so go prepared.

Boats can get very crowded in high season, but the scenery is fantastic. Prices are around $20 a ticket give or take a dollar or two depending upon where you purchase your ticket.

Others

As with bus services, shared taxis depart Battambang for Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Pailin and Poipet and all stops along the way and as per usual in Cambodia you can either pay for a taxi for yourself or buy a seat (or two) in a shared vehicle. The usual arrangement is four passengers in the rear and two in front so if you want the front seat to yourself you will have to pay for two places. Your hotel can call to book a car or seat(s) for you and tuk tuk drivers will know the departure points for the various routes.

For Phnom Penh expect to pay around $60 for a private taxi or $10 for a shared taxi seat. For Siem Reap it's around $40 and $7 respectively

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A playground for locals, Phnom Kulen (literally Mountain of the Lychees) is a gorgeous day out. The main attraction is the waterfalls at the top of Kulen Mountain and it’s also a great picnic spot; well set up in Cambodian style with hammocks and shelters to keep you shaded from the sun. It’s around 1.5-2 hours drive from Siem Reap and if you go all the way to the top by van or car, you need to get there early, as the road is one-way traffic only.

The birthplace of the ancient Khmer empire, it is said that it was at Phnom Kulen that King Jayavarman II proclaimed Cambodia’s independence from Java.

Additionally, it is a very sacred site with multiple temples easily accessible. Two sites most noted are the Thousand Lingas at Kbal Spean, within the Kulen National Park site and Preah Ang Thom pagoda with its giant reclining Buddha. The area is a magnet to “kru khmer” (natural medicine doctors), and attracts people seeking blessings from its holy waters, particularly the potent life-giving waters at Kbal Spean, that are said to help couples conceive.

You may be interested in Khmer Empire & Jayavarman II

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Preah Vihear Temple (Prasat Preah Vihear) is an ancient Hindu temple built during the period of the Khmer Empire, that is situated atop a 525-metre (1,722 ft) cliff in the Dângrêk Mountains, in the Preah Vihear province, Cambodia. In 1962, following a lengthy dispute between Cambodia and Thailand over ownership, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague ruled that the temple is in Cambodia.

Affording a view for many kilometers across a plain, Prasat Preah Vihear has the most spectacular setting of all the temples built during the six-century-long Khmer Empire. As a key edifice of the empire's spiritual life, it was supported and modified by successive kings and so bears elements of several architectural styles.

Preah Vihear is unusual among Khmer temples in being constructed along a long north–south axis, rather than having the conventional rectangular plan with orientation toward the east. The temple gives its name to Cambodia's Preah Vihear province, in which it is now located, as well as the Khao Phra Wihan National Park which borders it in Thailand's Sisaket province, though it is no longer accessible from Thailand.

On July 7, 2008, Preah Vihear was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Deep in the forests of Cambodia’s Siem Reap province, the elegant spires of an ancient stone city soar skyward above the sprawling complex of Angkor Archaeological Park.

The Khmer Empire’s various capitals thrived here from the 9th to 15th centuries, while their rulers presided over an empire that stretched from Myanmar (Burma) to Vietnam. Including forested areas and newly discovered “suburbs” Angkor covers more than 400 square kilometers.

Though just one of hundreds of surviving temples and structures, the massive Angkor Wat is the most famed of all Cambodia’s temples - it appears on the nation’s flag - and it is revered for good reason. The 12th century “temple-mountain” was built as a spiritual home for the Hindu god Vishnu. The temple is an architectural triumph laden with artistic treasures like the bas-relief galleries that line many walls and tell enduring tales of Cambodian history and legend.

In other parts of Angkor such art depicts scenes of daily life - offering scholars a precious window into the past.

Reading the below epic guide for Angkor Archaeological Park, you will have all the information you need from its history, maps, best time to visit and so on to have the best out of your Angkor tours

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Banteay Kdei Temple (Prasat Banteay Kdei), meaning "A Citadel of Chambers", also known as "Citadel of Monks' cells", is a Buddhist temple in Angkor, Cambodia. It is located southeast of Ta Prohm and east of Angkor Thom. 

Built in the mid-12th to early 13th centuries AD during the reign of Jayavarman VII (who was posthumously given the title "Maha paramasangata pada"), it is in the Bayon architectural style, similar in plan to Ta Prohm and Preah Khan, but less complex and smaller. Its structures are contained within two successive enclosure walls and consist of two concentric galleries from which emerge towers, preceded to the east by a cloister.

This Buddhist monastic complex is currently dilapidated due to faulty construction and poor quality of sandstone used in its buildings and is now undergoing renovation. Banteay Kdei had been occupied by monks at various intervals over the centuries till 1960s.

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Just east of Angkor Thom’s Victory Gate is Chau Say Tevoda. It was probably built during the second quarter of the 12th century, under the reign of Suryavarman II, and dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu. It has been renovated by the Chinese to bring it up to the condition of its twin temple, Thommanon.

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Thommanon Temple is a Hindu temple site that's covered in intricate carvings and surrounded by forests in Angkor. The temple is in relatively excellent condition, thanks to extensive restoration work in the 1960s.

It was constructed about the same time as Angkor Wat. The style of architecture is quite evident in the towers and carvings, which are in very good condition. During the rainy season, the dampened sandstone offers great photo opportunities.

Part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the complex dates back between the 11th and 12th centuries. It is about 600 metres east of the Victory Gate of Angkor Thom, just opposite Chau Say Tevoda. Even before restoration, Thommanon was in much a better condition than Chau Say Tevoda. Unlike the latter, which was built using wooden beams enclosed in stone, Thommanon Temple's entire structure was made out of stone. 

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