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Cambodia forum

If you had to choose: Phnom Penh or Battambang

Posted by Bear on 13/1/2010 at 09:06

Hello all,

I only have 5 nights to visit Cambodia (I can be flexible -- could be 4 or 6 nights). I'll arrive to Cambodia from Lao via plane, and will be exiting Cambodia from Siem Reap . Sadly, I don't have the luxury of time during this trip and have decided to focus my time (10 nights) in two areas: Luang Prabrang and Siem Reap. My interests are hiking, cafes, food, historical sites and getting to know locals and other travelers. Not so much into night life or adventure sports. While I don't like to always be on the move, I do like a change of scenery and atmosphere.

My primary reason for visiting Siem Reap is (of course) Angkor, but I'm not sure that I want to spend more than 3 nights in Siem Reap, given that it is the most touristed area of the country. I am thinking about 2 nights in either PP or Battambang. Which city would give me the best change of pace, or a different taste of Cambodia?

Thank you in advance.

#1 Bear has been a member since 13/1/2010. Posts: 5

Posted by Husko on 13/1/2010 at 16:12

BB is a small town with some temple and rural vistas out of town. If you do not like cities then go to BB. BB has a more relaxed feel than PP or SR but with less cafes and traveller hang outs.

I liked both but they are very different.

#2 Husko has been a member since 13/10/2007. Posts: 34

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Posted by busylizzy on 13/1/2010 at 22:35

I'm not a fan of PP as a city, but it is where Tuol Sleng (S-21) and the Killing Fields are based - which I believe are worth visiting from the perspective of learning a bit about the history of the Khmer Rouge period.

The other interesting thing to do in PP is to visit the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre. You can do this cheaply on your own ($5 entry plus your transport to get there), but I did it with Betelnut Tours for $30, and thought it was an excellent day. Groups are limited to 6 (although there were only 2 of us on the day that I went) and you ride in the back of a jeep for 40kms to the centre. Once there, you get a guided tour around the place, a lunch provided by the Lazy Gecko Cafe, and you get special access to the elephants and feeding time for the tigers.

More info on the wildlife centre is here:

Bus ride between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap is about 5.5 hours on fairly reasonable buses. Cost is between $7 and $12.

Haven't been to BB, so can't provide a comparison.

#3 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,152
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Posted by fondo on 14/1/2010 at 08:17

For cafes, food and historical sites PP wins hands down. There is good food everywhere. Palace and museum are good. A lot of colonial PP is still intact and worth a look - including the central market. Then there's Tuol Sleng etc.

IMHO, Battambang is a squalid little town, however we enjoyed lazy bike riding around the environs and a bum-numbing trip on the bamboo railway.

#4 fondo has been a member since 23/6/2006. Posts: 175
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