The rice bowl city and the best-preserved colonial town in Cambodia
Battambang is one of Cambodia’s largest towns, nestled on the banks of the Sangker River. As well as boasting graceful architecture, the town is a popular place to visit by speedboat from Siem Reap across the lake. Nearby attractions include the hilltop Angkorian temple of Wat Banan, the sacred mountain of Phnom Sampeau and the riverside temple of Wat Ek Phnom. Lifestyle excursions are a popular experience when visiting Battambang, including riding the ‘bamboo train’ through the lush countryside. Just outside Battambang lies Phare Ponleu Selpak, an NGO-funded circus school helping disadvantaged children to learn an alternative lifestyle. Formerly a stronghold of the Khmer Rouge, Pailin is known for its gemstones and has a beautiful setting on the edge of the Cardamom Mountains. The Thai-Cambodian border is open and when the new road between Pailin and Koh Kong is complete, the town will then lie on a strategic overland corridor between the temples of Angkor and Cambodia’s unexplored south coast.