Battambang is a cute little city with a riverfront – even though it’s little, it’s still the second largest city in Cambodia. It has a laid-back vibe, with a large market in the centre. Many guides mention that the city has beautiful colonial buildings, but I didn’t notice a significant difference from other cities.
One of the main attractions I was recommended to visit in the city was the bamboo train. However, after looking more into it, I realized it wasn’t really something for me.
Many people will tell you the bamboo train will stop running and be replaced with a real train within the next year – which is not true. Cambodia has been saying that for years! Another deterrent is that this part of the train is specifically used for tourists, charging $10 per cart ride. Travellers who did ride it said they were brought to a market at the end and pushed to make purchases. Many did say they enjoyed the ride though.
I did visit Sampeou Mountain near sunset though. There’s a pagoda at the top of the mountain, which you can hike to in about 30 minutes or ask your driver to bring you.
But the most impressive thing about this site happens around 5:30pm, when the bats leave the caves in droves to go hunting for the night. There are so many bats that the whole procession of them leaving the cave can take around 2 hours!
A couple of these caves are also dubbed the ‘killing caves’, as here you can find remains of when the Khlmer’ Rouges used these sites to kill during the war.