Battambang is the second largest city located in the Northwest of Cambodia attracting more tourists thanks for many nearby ancient temples, Buddhist shrines and the infamous bamboo railway.

The city is home to colonial architecture best preserved of the country. It is a good base for visiting large neighboring temples (Phnom Banon, Wat Ek Phnom, etc.) and typical villages. The charm of old French house network is the asset of the city. In addition, there are a number of Wats (pagodas) scattered around the city. The small museum has a collection of artifacts of the Angkorian era and there are lots of top temples. One of the most famous hills is Phnom Sampeuo (boat hill) with the notorious killing caves of Battambang. A railway also connects Battambang to Phnom Penh, but the passenger service is only once a week.

What to see:

Phnom Banan

This temple, located on top of approximately 400-meter high mountain at Kon Tey 2 commune in Banan district, adapts the architecture of mid 11th century. It consists of five laps. It was started under King Udayadityavarman II (1050-1066) and finally by King Jayavarman VII (1181 to 1219). At the foot of the mountain, there is a ditch and two wells: Bet Meas and Chhuong. One can admire the caves “Ang Prut Meas” and also the pagoda dated for 150 years, at the foot of the mountain.

Ek Phnom

Ek Phnom was built in the 11th century as a Hindu temple by King Suryavarman I. It is located in Tkov village in Peam Ek commune, about 14km from Battambang city. The temple consists of towers on a platform with some carvings in good condition, but Ek Phnom is a modern pagoda. It has one of the most complete collections of Buddhist wall and ceiling paintings throughout Cambodia. There are 18 banyan trees around the temple. Along the road leading to Ek Phnom from Battambang, you will cross some picturesque villages.

Phnom Sampeau

Phnom Sampeau means “Boat Mountain” because its particular shape recalls a boat. This 100m-high mountain, complemented by Wat Sampeou, contains three natural caves, lined with tombs and Buddhist statues: Pkasla, Lakhaon and Aksopheak. Pkasla cave is full of uprooted stones and considered important because it is here that the people of Sampeou visit after a wedding to celebrate. Some caves were used by the Khmer as killing caves. The skeletons of the victims are still in the caves. To reach the pagoda at the top of the mountain, you have to climb a staircase of 700 steps. Recently, a large Buddha was built.

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