Petanque, bats, skulls and kindness in Battambang

We had been to Cambodia 3 years earlier but only visited Angkor Wat in Siem Reap. Because it was quite a touristy destination and we only stayed for 2 nights or so, we didn’t really get a real touch of Cambodia.

Battambang was the first city we landed in after the awful border town of Poipet and it was a pleasant suprise.

Although there were not a lot of sights (and we skipped the only “real” one: the bamboo train) it was a nice city to wander through and see life passing by. We did a short heritage walk through the center and rented a motorbike to visit the nearby killing cave, a place with a dark past thanks to the Khmer Rouge regime.

On the ride to the cave you see a different part of town with an old railroad bridge and people playing petanque. Right before the ride up to the cave there’s another cave worth staring at right before sundown: the bat cave with thousands of animals leaving their home every night.

When you check it out, buy a drink from the stall near the bat cave: it’s run by a super kind family who welcomed us under  their makeshift home/shop when it started raining heavily. We stayed a long time, drinking together, smiling at each other,… just waiting for the rain to pass. Cambodians are such sweet people. I love their smiles & their kindness, …

Battambang's marketRailroad crossing in BattambangPlaying petanqueHome in BattambangDoctor in BattambangBuddhist home in BattambangColonial housesThe killing caveSweet family near the bat caveThe bat cave

Battambang travel information

  • Transport: by minibus from Poipet and by bus to Siem Reap. Motorbike rental at Gecko Moto’s. It’s located on the corner of Road #3 and Street 119 right next to Gecko Cafe. You can rent Moto’s here for $7 a day.
  • Stay: We stayed at the very basic and super cheap Chhaya hotel. Double rooms were €4 ($ 4.37) and had a big ceiling fan and a private bathroom (with cold shower). There even was WIFI in the room. Good location to explore the city. Don’t buy any tours or tickets from them though. Rooms are cheap so they need to make money with something else…
  • Food: Excellent Cambodian fine dining at Jaan Bai and good local dishes at White Rose. We also had great hamburgers at Lotus Bar & yummy dumpling noodle soup at Lan chov khorko miteanh for lunch. For a good coffee break, try out Kinyei Espresso bar. Breakfasts at the Fresh Eats Cafe are decent & it’s the best place to buy bus tickets!
  • Things to do: Killing cave, bat cave, heritage walk.

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