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From top, left to right: Townhouses, Wat Domrey Sar, Psar Nat market, Ta Dambong Kranhong statue, Buddha statue in Phnom Sampov, Battambang city hall, aerial view of Battambang, Sangkae River
Battambang is located in Cambodia
Location within Cambodia
Battambang is located in Asia
Location within Asia
Coordinates: 13°06′N 103°12′E / 13.100°N 103.200°E / 13.100; 103.200
Country Cambodia
Settled11th century
 • TypeCity-municipality
 • Total293 km2 (113 sq mi)
39 m (128 ft)
 • Total119,251
 • Rank3rd
 • Density410/km2 (1,100/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+7 (ICT)
Area code+855
Khmer name
UNGEGN: Bătdâmbâng
ALA-LC: Pâtṭaṃpang
IPA: [ɓatɗɑmɓɑːŋ]

Battambang (Khmer: បាត់ដំបង, UNGEGN: Bătdâmbâng [ɓatɗɑmɓɑːŋ]) is the capital of Battambang Province and the third largest city in Cambodia.

Founded in the 11th century by the Khmer Empire, Battambang is the leading rice-producing province of the country. For nearly 100 years, it was a major commercial hub and the capital of the Siamese province of Inner Cambodia (1795–1907), though it was always populated by Khmer people, with some ethnic Vietnamese, Lao, Thai, and Chinese. Battambang remains the hub of Cambodia's northwest, connecting the region with Phnom Penh and Thailand.

The city is situated on the Sangkae River, a small body of water that winds its way through Battambang Province. As with much of Cambodia, French Colonial architecture is a notable aspect of the city, with some of the best-preserved examples in the country. On 31 October 2023, Battambang was one of 55 cities declared to join the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in the field of gastronomy as well as crafts and folk art, design, film, literature, media arts, and music.[2] Other cities, such as Kratie, Siem Reap, and Kampot, may follow for the next cycle in 2025 onwards. [3]


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Battambang was established as an important trading city with around 2,500 residents in the 18th century. The population was centered along a single road parallel to the Sangkae River (Stung Sangkae). In 1795, Siam (modern-day Thailand) annexed much of northwestern Cambodia, including the current provinces of Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Oddar Meanchey, Pailin, and Siem Reap, into the province of Inner Cambodia. The Siamese ruled Battambang as a provincial capital through the Thai-speaking Khmer Abhaiwongse family,[4] a branch of the Khmer royal family, which governed for six generations until 1907, when the province was ceded to the French to be reunited with Cambodia as part of the French Indochina colony.

Following colonization by the French, an urban layout was developed, which resulted in an enlarged French colonial town. This first attempt at modernization led to well-defined streets laid in a grid pattern, building of urban structures and three main streets parallel to the Sangkae River, and the linking of both banks by the construction of two bridges in 1917. Military and prison facilities were also erected. Nineteen years later, a second urban development plan was implemented, with a newly constructed railway linking Battambang to Phnom Penh. The urban structures were extended to the west of the town, creating urban hubs oriented around the railway station. The large residential villas and public buildings built during this period of French development significantly changed the landscape of the previously remote city. A subsequent third urban development plan for Battambang involved the north, east, and south of the city. This vast undertaking, which required long-term planning to integrate all of the previous work, resulted in a modern provincial capital that was by far the most developed region of Cambodia outside of Phnom Penh.

Much later, more infrastructure and public facilities were built under the modernization program of the Cambodian government led by prince Norodom Sihanouk. Several provincial departments, a courthouse, and other public buildings were added on both sides of the river. Textile and garment factories were built by French and Chinese investors, the Battambang Airport was constructed, and the railway line was extended to the Thai border at Poipet. To serve the cultural needs of the population, numerous schools and a university were built as well as a sports centre, museum, and an exhibition hall.


Wat Peapahd Temple in Battambang


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Kamping Puoy Lake

Located between two mountains, named Phnom Kul or Phnom Ta Nget and Phnom Kamping Puoy, at Ta Nget village, Ta Kriem commune is 35 kilometers (22 mi) from the provincial town. Kamping Puoy lake is 1,900 meters (6,230 ft) wide, 19 kilometers (12 mi) long, and can hold 110,000,000 cubic metres (3.8846×109 cu ft) of water. It is known for its giant lotus flowers, whose fiber is spun and weaved to make fabric. These activities employ more than twenty underprivileged women around the lake.[citation needed]

Ramayana depicted on carvings from the 11th century
Way Domrei Sor ( White elephant pagoda)
Buddhist temple in Battambang
A view of the market in May 2000
Bahá'í House of Worship in Battambang

Baset Temple

Built during the reign of King Suryavarman I (1002–1050), it is located on a hill at Baset village, Ta Pun commune, 15 kilometers (9 mi) from the provincial town. Baset temple adapts the architecture of the 11th century and was built between 1036 and 1042. Next to the temple, there is a pond 20 meters (66 ft) long, 12 meters (39 ft) wide, and 10 meters (33 ft) deep.

Wat Ek Phnom

Main article: Wat Ek Phnom

This temple adapts architecture of the 11th century and was built in 1027, during the reign of King Suryavarman I (1002–1050). It is located at Peam Aek commune, 14 kilometers (9 mi) from the provincial town.

Prasat Banan (Phnom Banan)

This temple adapts architecture of the mid-11th century and the end of the 12th century; the temple was first built by King Dharanindravarman II (1050–1066) and was completed in its final form by King Jayavarman VII (1181–1220). It is located on the top of a mountain approximately 400-meter-high (1,310 ft), located at Koh Tey 2 commune, Banan District. It can be reached by traveling 15 kilometers (9 mi) from the provincial town by provincial road No 155, which runs parallel to the Sangker River. In the valley, there is Ku Teuk and two main natural wells, namely: Bit Meas and Chhung or Chhung Achey.

Norry (bamboo train)

The Norry, or bamboo train, runs 4 kilometers (2 mi) from Prasat Banan to Chhoeuteal commune. Previously located on actual railway tracks outside the city, the bamboo train was relocated in 2017 to make way for the resumption of railway traffic.[6]

Prasat Snung

Characterized by three separate stupas made of brick, located on a hill 30 meters (98 ft) long and 20 meters (66 ft) wide, the temple is in Snung commune, Banan District, 22 kilometers (14 mi) from the provincial town.

Phnom Sampov

Main article: Killing caves of Phnom Sampeau

Phnom Sampov is a natural resort located along National Road No 57 (former National Road No 10) at Sam Puoy commune 12 kilometers (7 mi) from Battambang. On the top of Sam Puoy mountain, there is a temple and three natural wells, namely Pkar Slar, Lo Khuon, and Ak Sopheak.

Sek Sak Resort

A natural resort popular since before the civil war, Sek Sak stretches along the riverbank with plants, trees, and bamboo stretching 500 meters (1,640 ft). It is located in Treng commune, Rotanak Mondul district, 50 kilometers (31 mi) from Battambang along National Road No 57.

Battambang Circus (Phare Ponleu Selpak)

Shows at Battambang Circus are put on by students of the arts school Phare Ponleu Selpak and include a range of disciplines, such as acrobatics, juggling, aerial work, clowning, tightrope walking, and aqua-balance. The school helps disadvantaged children and young people escape from situations related to poverty, such as begging or trafficking, and to get an education, both in normal public schools and in the arts.[7]

Bahá'í House of Worship

Around 7 kilometers (4 mi) south of Battambang, in Odambang commune, stands the city's Bahá'í House of Worship. Inaugurated in 2017. The round, nine-sided edifice features a central dome and spire and winged parapets that are reminiscent of Phnom Penh's Chaktomuk Conference Hall.[8][9]


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Battambang is accessible via road and rail. There are buses that run between the city and Bangkok, Phnom Penh, and Siem Reap. The railway line between Phnom Penh and Poipet has been rehabilitated, allowing access via Battambang Royal railway station.

Battambang Airport was previously reserved for military use but opened with limited services for small airplanes and helicopters in 2018.

There is also (except during the lowest water levels of the dry season) a daily boat connection between Battambang and Siem Reap via the Sangkae River. Since buses are faster and cheaper, the scenic trip is nowadays used mainly by tourists and some locals who live along the river.

Twin towns – sister cities

Notable people


  1. ^ "General Population Census of the Kingdom of Cambodia 2019 – Final Results" (PDF). National Institute of Statistics. Ministry of Planning. 26 January 2021. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
  2. ^ Dunston, Lara (19 November 2023). "How a sleepy town in Cambodia won a place on Unsesco's culinary map". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 19 November 2023.
  3. ^ "UNESCO supported Battambang promote Creative Cities Network UCCN". Retrieved 19 June 2023.
  4. ^ Goscha, Christopher E. (1999). Thailand and the Southeast Asian Networks of the Vietnamese Revolution, 1885–1954. Surrey, UK: Curzon Press, Nordic Institute of Asian Studies. p. 123. ISBN 0700706224. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
  5. ^ "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for Batdambang, Cambodia". Weatherbase. 2011. Retrieved on 24 November 2011.
  6. ^ "'Bamboo train' back on tracks in Battambang". The Phnom Penh Post. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  7. ^ "Phare Ponleu Selpak". Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  8. ^ Muong, Vandy. "Baha'i House of Worship emerges in Battambang". The Phnom Penh Post. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  9. ^ "Spirit and aspirations of a people: Reflections of Temple's architect". Bahá'í World News Service. 31 August 2017. Retrieved 19 October 2018.

Further reading

  • Analyzing Development Issues Trainees, ADI Team, and Cooperation Committee for Cambodia. Labour Migration to Thailand and the Thai-Cambodian Border Recent Trends in Four Villages of Battambang Province. Small-scale research report. [Phnom Penh?]: Cooperation Committee for Cambodia, 2003.
  • Catalla, Rebecca F. Crossing Borders, Crossing Norms Vulnerability and Coping in Battambang Province. SCVCS report, #5. Phnom Penh, Cambodia: UNICEF/AFSC, 2000. ISBN 0-910082-41-3
  • Kassie, Alebachew, and Nguon Sokunthea. Credit and Landlessness Impact of Credit Access on Landlessness in Cheung Prey and Battambang Districts. Phnom Penh: Oxfam GB Cambodia Land Study Project, 2000.
  • Mourer, Cécile, and Roland Mourer. The Prehistoric Industry of Laang Spean, Province of Battambang, Cambodia. Sydney: Australasian Medical Pub, 1970.
  • Robinson, Court, Suphāng Čhanthawānit, and Lekha Nou. Rupture and Return Repatriation, Displacement, and Reintegration in Battambang Province, Cambodia. Bangkok: the Center, 1994. ISBN 974-631-130-1
  • Grant Ross, Helen. Battambang = Pâtṭaṃpaṅ = Bad Dambaung = Le bâton perdu : histoire d'une ville. Phnom Penh, Cambodge: 3DGraphics Pub, 2003. ISBN 979-96974-4-1 in French and Khmer
  • Tūc, Jhuaṅ. Battambang During the Time of the Lord Governor. Phnom Penh: Cedoreck, 1994.
  • Vinary, Vonn. "All Our Livelihoods Are Dead" Landlessness and Aquatic Resources in Battambang Province. [Phnom Penh]: Oxfam GB Cambodia Land Study Project, 2000.
  • Wallgren, Pia, and Ray Sano. Report on the Reconciliation Areas Based on in-Depth Interviews Conducted in Six Villages in Battambang, Banteay Meanchey and Siem Reap Provinces. Phnom Penh: UNDP/CARERE, 2000.

13°06′N 103°12′E / 13.100°N 103.200°E / 13.100; 103.200