Battambang town, with around 140,000 inhabitants, is Cambodia’s second-largest city. Battambang covers an area of 4900 sq. mi. 664 sq. mi. is towns and villages, 1021 sq. mi. is agricultural land and 1840 sq mi. is forest. The rest is flooded land.
Battambang has quintupled its area and become the industrial and commercial hub of the region. Several large infrastructure projects and public facilities have been built under the state modernization program; including schools, university, sports center, a museum and exhibition hall and roads. Battambang town hosts many outstanding arts, cultural and heritages events. It is an elegant riverside town, home to some of the best preserved French period architecture in the country and the inhabitants are warm and friendly. Currently, Battambang is back on the overland travel map and it makes a great base from which tourists can explore nearby temples and scenic villages. There is a very popular boat service connecting Battambang and Siem Reap, probably the most scenic river trip in the country. And the Bamboo Train is one of the world’s unique rail journeys.
Sights and Activities
Although it is a major city, Battambang is fairly compact and easily negotiable on foot. Most of the city’s hotels are centrally located. This central area is bordered to the west by the railway line and to the east by Stung Sangker (Sangker river). Across the river are several large properties serving as administrative centers for the large number of NGOs represented. Battambang has an integrated public transport network comprising boat, bus and taxi and train.
The garden of H.E SOR KHENG is located on the east bank of the Sangke River near Sangke Bridge. It is spacious and has many kinds of tree. In the morning and evening, people do aerobics and exercise.
Battambang museum houses an interesting collection of fine-caved lintels and statuary. The cinema has seating for 500 people and was built in early 1970s. It is one of two still running today. The building also accommodates apartments on both sides. Today new Cambodian movies are the primary films shown. Phsar Nat Market is a business center and main heritage landmark of the city, housing vendors selling all types of goods including food, daily equipment, vegetable, meat, especially all kinds of fruits and developing photos for tourists. Much of Battambang’s charm lies in the network of old French shop houses nestled along much of riverbank. The Governor’s Residence is also a handsome legacy of the French presence in Cambodia.
Battambang City has inherited a rich urban heritage with a great variety of historic architecture, representing different phases of the city’s history. The city center between Road #1 and Road #3 is characterized by a coherent ensemble of about 800 heritage buildings from the French protectorate and from the Sangkum Reast Niyum (period after the country’s independence).
Outside of this area, outstanding heritage buildings, like the New Khmer Architecture of the Battambang University, French-Classical style villas along the river and traditional Khmer wooden houses can be found. Throughout the city beautiful Wats are expressive of the city’s religious heritage. All these historic buildings and ensembles contribute to the city’s unique character and beauty.
Battambang has a tropical monsoon climate wet season and dry seasons. Wet season is from June to November and Dry season starts from December to May. The hottest weather comes in the dry season, where the temperature can rise to 100 Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) and sometimes drop to 68 Fahrenheit (20 Celsius).
The area is known locally and internationally as the “Rice Bowl” of Cambodia. This is because Battambang is extremely efficient in the production of rice, and also because of the comparative advantage and local endowments of the region. An estimated 2,400 square kilometers of land is used in rice production, with the figure growing consistently each year. The abundance of land results in over 500,000 tonnes of rice being produced annually; around 300,000 tonnes of that rice is traded locally and internationally.