Battambang – an endlessly artistic and historic town

I have been to Battambang many times more than for professional missions than personal or family trips. Although less touristic than its neighbor Siem Reap, the provincial town itself counts probably more colonial and traditional buildings than any other provinces. In this post, you are going to explore some of these legacies through my personal discovery and research.

Buddhist Pagodas

Of all the provinces in Cambodia, Battambang counts the most long-standing pagodas such as: Wat Samrong Knong (1707), Wat Keo (1772), Wat Sangker, Wat Kandal, Wat Pothiveal, Wat Piphi Thearam, Wat Kampheng, Wat Kor, What Chheu Khmao, Wat Dramrei Sar, Wat Balas, Wat Sophy. And I have been lucky enough to visit these latter monasteries on my last trip there. Once inside, you’ll find their motifs different or even more refined than others you have been to. Needless to say, most famous Cambodian oldies relate to those pagodas, as souvenir spots!

Front of Wat Balas

Traditional Houses

Battambang is also known to host some of the oldest Cambodian houses to date, as pointed out by True Cambodia. The main attraction there in Wat Kor village refers to the traditional one used formerly by NOUN Chea, Brother Number 2 in Khmer Rouge regime. You can locate them mostly North of this small town. On the bright side, even then-famous female singers like Pen Ran and Ros Sereysothea, were born in that traditional province. By “traditional” here, I meant a Cambodian housing style for a then-and-now upper-class families, with the walls mostly made of wood and roofs decorated with regular geometric tiles.

Ancient House, Battambang, Angkor Tourism Cambodia
Traditional house formerly owned by NOUN Chea in Battambang

Colonial Buildings

Once considered an important administrative town by the French Protectorate, Battambang still boasts colonial architecture across its urban landscape. The most iconic one is the Provincial Municipality, maintaining virtually its authentic state from the foundation date. For such discovery, I encourage to explore administrative offices of this town on your half-day tour. Do not forget to drop by the provincial railway station or hop in a lorry!

Main hall of Battambang Municipality

Movies Shot in Battambang

Thanks to these historic sites, a great number of movies have been shot in Battambang. The most outstanding one was “First They Killed My Father“, directed by Angelina Jolie for Netflix, with most scenes taking place over there. The latest local one, in which I have been personally involved in, is “Karma“, a horror movie set in the 1960s. I believe such classic settings will bring about some nostalgia among our Cambodian audience. The sets not only look convincible to the eyes, but also draw us into the stories to uncover another dimension of our lives.

On set, as an extra role in “Karma” movie!

So you are feeling hooked already? If not yet, I encourage you to study this province further because even some expats decide to settle down there instead of Siem Reap. If you have already been there, come again and explore other sites than you already knew. Be then prepared to expand your perception of what Battambang has to offer you!

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