Unplug from the “Matrix” in Battambang, Cambodia

Looking for an escape from the busy Siem Reap and a chance to learn the local culture of Cambodia? Then Battambang might be just for you! On this post, we’ve put out together a 4 days and 3 nights suggested itinerary that will allow you to get totally, 100% unplugged. Whether it is social media or work, a 4-day stay in Battambang will surely get you immersed in its unique culture and laid-back atmosphere. Depending on your traveling priorities, you can certainly fine tune this itinerary to suit your needs. Welcome to Battambang!

Things to consider before traveling to Battambang, Cambodia:

Language – The official language of Cambodia is Khmer (Cambodian), which is spoken by majority of the population. Most Khmer people speak a decent level of English, so you can absolutely get by without speaking Khmer language. However, not all people in Cambodia can speak English so learning a few basic Khmer words and phrases is recommended. Just like in other countries, speaking at least some Khmer phrases or attempting to learn is greatly appreciated by the locals.

Currency exchange – The official currency used in Cambodia is the Cambodian Riel (KHR). ATMs can be found in airport, most tourist centers and local banks across the country. Exchanging money in Sihanoukville is easy and follows the same standard to elsewhere in Southeast Asia. International credit cards are somewhat accepted, though small businesses, especially stores and restaurants may not accept them so having cash is the best thing a visitor can do.

Cambodian Riel currency bills

Cambodian riel (Michael Leslie / Shutterstock.com)

Safety and security – There is currently no nationwide security advisory in effect for Cambodia. Check your country’s travel advisory website to get the most up-to-date information for your personal safety abroad. Every traveler, especially solo female travelers, should take safety precautions because there has been an increase in reported armed robberies, sexual assault and other opportunistic crimes targeting tourists. Driving on your own is not recommended because some roads are poorly maintained and locals have little regard for traffic regulations.

Getting around – Getting around Battambang is very easy. Transportation options include boats, small minivans (tuk-tuks), share taxis, motorbike sidecar taxis (Săhm·lór), rental cars and motorbike. Although renting a motorbike is one of the most popular ways to get around, we do not recommend it to non-experienced drivers. Foreigners are also often the targets of police asking for small bribes.

Where to stay – Cambodia has a wide range of accommodation options, with something for every level of comfort and budget.  In Battambang, there are plenty of hotels, bungalows and villas, backpacker hostels and guesthouses. If you want an actual get-away-from-it-all, totally unplugged holiday, then you can stay at one of the basic bungalows in the riverside located within minutes from the market and most restaurants.

Accommodation options to consider in Battambang:

Battambang Resort

Bric-a-Brac

Maisons Wat Kor

Bambu Battambang Hotel

Au Cabaret Vert

Detailed itinerary: Unplug from the “Matrix” in Battambang, Cambodia

Day 1

Today you’re heading to Battambang, a province in north western Cambodia. Traveling by bus from Siem Reap is safe as the road conditions have finally improved the entire way. Travel time is approximately 5 to 6 hours and tickets costs 4 or 5 USD one way. For adventure seekers, you may go on a boat adventure on less than reliable waterways from Siem Reap to Battambang which could take 5 to 10 hours. It’s a great way to see the Tonle Sap Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, and the floating villages. Just don’t forget to bring cushion, food and water.

village life, Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia

A teenage girl washing her younger brother’s hair in Tonle Sap Lake. The life of the local residents (LALS STOCK / Bigstockphoto.com)

Check in and relax at your hotel and in the late afternoon, get a motodup (motorbike) or Tuk Tuk to start your snack tour in Battambang. Here, you will find some of the most authentic street food in Cambodia. Some of the food you should try are Nom krourk (coconut rice cakes), Son vac (fish paste grilled in banana leaves), Pong tia koun (baby duck eggs) and Banh Janeuk (Mung Bean Dumplings with sweet coconut and ginger).

Day 2

Khmer temple, Battambang, Cambodia

Anancient Khmer temple iin Battambang, Cambodia is riddled with bullet holes from many wars (James Dorsey / Bigstockphoto.com)

Today you’re up early to prepare for a whole day of adventure. Wake up to a delicious breakfast in your private room or grab a bite in one of the restaurants in town. Battambang is small and easy to navigate, so you can dedicate this day exploring the old streets and the central market. Hire a tuk-tuk to take you to the temples. Battambang ruins pale in comparison to Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom, but you will appreciate its run down state. As there is not much tourists in this area, you can enjoy the temples all to yourself. Another must try in Battambang is riding a bamboo train.

Bamboo Train, Battambang

Battambang Bamboo Train – it may take some time until you find a comfortable sitting position on it (Digitalpress / Bigstockphoto.com)

In the evening, watch Phare, the Cambodian Circus. Battambang is home to Phare Ponlue Selpak, a non profit Cambodian organisation behind the circus. They help kids from families of  former refugees, street children and victims of trafficking by providing free education, food, training and employment.

Day 3

No trip to Battambang would be complete without going on a gastronomic adventure. If you want to learn more about Cambodian Cuisine, then join a food tour which lasts for about 3 hours. Battambang Bicycle Tour is one of the top-rated tour companies in Battambang offering excellent food tours on a bicycle.

If you want a more in-depth food experience, then you may consider joining a traditional cooking class, wherein you will learn how to cook the most popular Cambodian cuisines and know its history and origin. You will also be introduced to traditional Cambodian flavors and learn the simplest way to cook them. Nary’s Kitchen – Cooking School is currently the number one cooking class in Battambang based on TripAdvisor reviews.

Day 4

For your final day in Battambang, get a one last whirl through the downtown area to take in any museums or other attractions that you might have missed. You may also spend your last day at one or two of Battambang’s best-loved art galleries and museums. They have Mrs. Bun Roeung’s Ancient HouseROMCHEIK 5 Art Space, Tep Kao Sol and Sangker Gallery.

Have you been to Battambang or anywhere else in Cambodia? Do you have any tips or suggestions to share? If so, you can leave your comments below.

Featured image: Wat Ek Phnom temple in Battambang, Cambodia (Sophie Lenoir / Shutterstock.com)

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