Wednesday, March 13, 2013


I adore Battambong. It's the second largest city in Cambodia, but it has a Cambodian feel that Phnom Penh nor Siem Reap have. If you want to have a glimpse of what living in Cambodia is like, and don't have time to visit a smaller village, visit Battambong. Battambong has some good Cambodian restaurants, and some lovely western restaurants, along with great tailors if you want to get some clothing made, for cheaper than Phnom Penh prices.

How to get here:
-From Phnom Penh: Battambong is located 6 hours by bus from Phnom Penh straight up National Road 5. It costs about $5 to get there by Capitol or Sorya bus companies.
-From Thailand Battambong is about two hours away from the border town of Poipet and costs about $2.50
-From Siem Reap Battambong is also about two hours away and costs about $3.75

Things to do:
1. Bamboo Train: Please go do this quick, because soon you won't be able to do it anymore. A Train hasn't existed in Cambodia for quite some time, so they have set up these bamboo trains which is just a bamboo slat with a motor and wheels to get around. Now tourists can ride one. Hopefully you run into someone on the tracks, because whoever has the lighter load has to take their little train off the tracks and let the others pass before putting it back together. When we rode it we had to get off once, and once people had to get off for us. Do not pay more than $5 a person to ride. Haggle with them if you can.
2. Battambong Bat Caves aka Phnom Sampov: I haven't actually been here, but a volunteer lives in this town and I've heard it's amazing. Something like at 5:00 every night tons of bats all come flying out of the cave. If I'm not mistaken it was also used as a killing field during the Khmer Rouge
3. Walk along the river. Battambong is centered around a beautiful river, and it has a wonderful walkway all along the river. It's perfect for an evening after dinner stroll.
4. Visit ancient wats (temples) such as Wat Banan, a 10th century temple often considered similar to Angkor Wat, or Wat Ek Phnom, this is a temple built on top of a mountain and has spectacular views.
5. Phare Ponleu Selpak: also known as the circus. My friend teaches English at their little school so go support them and see their cool circus.
6. Check out the art scene: Battambong has a huge art scene and they sometimes do gallery strolls so go check out their art galleries.

Places to eat:
1. Chinese Noodle: ($2.50) I don't actually know the name of this place, it's just what volunteers call it. It's located just a few doors down from White Rose. It's super cheap and you can watch them make their own noodles and dumplings. SO GOOD.
2. White Rose: ($5) This is a good local restaurant and is hard to miss since it's big and on a street corner. I've never had a meal here, but I've heard it's good. I go there for their ice cream or fruit shakes for $1. Yum.
3. Cafe Eden: ($5-10) I love this restaurant. It's some of the best western food you can find in Battambong. it's run by the sweetest woman from washington. They really give back to the community. They often have music nights on the weekends so check their website.
4. Gecko Cafe: ($5-$10) Two Words...Snickers Blizzard. They're a little more spendy, but they're also really yummy.
5. Green Mango: ($5) It's hard to find good baked goods in Cambodia. The owners and workers of this place are the best.This is the place to go! It's a great organization where they are teaching young village girls how to cook, so go support them and eat a cinnamon roll for me.
6. Espresso House: ($2) This is my favorite place to eat in Battambong. I'm going to attempt to tell you how to get here. Go to the main market, Centreal Market(touches the river and street 113) and walk west. You'll see a giant cell phone store with a giant green sign, Smart Mobile. Walk down that street and on the right hand side will be Espresso House. You have to look for their little sign. It's just a few doors down from the Royal hotel. Please go give this family your business. They are the greatest and always throw in a plate of fruit or an extra dessert to their nice customers.

Places to stay:
1. Paris Guesthouse: ($6-$10) Their rooms are a bit small, but my friends got a double room with a balcony with AC for like $10. Prices may be different in the high season, or during the really hot season. The staff were nice and the hotel had nice hot water. Stay here if you're backpacking and are going to cheap and functional, but not fancy
2. Seng Hout Hotel: ($12-$20) This hotel is a little more spendy, but it's obviously a lot nicer than Paris. The rooms are really nice and if you don't get AC they'll give you a fan for your room. I've stayed here twice and the staff have always been really nice and accomodating. Stay here if you're looking for a decent place to stay, but are on a budget.
3.Bambu Hotel: ($75-$100)I haven't ever stayed here, but I've heard of volunteers staying here with their families since it's nicer with a pool and is definitely a step up from the other two hotels. Stay here if you're looking for something really nice and are fine paying an american price for a hotel room.

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