Battambang.We had a national holiday called Pchum Ben, from the 13th to the 17th of October which allowed me to travel to the 2nd biggest city in Cambodia, Battambang. Despite being the second biggest city in the country, after the capital (Phnom Penh), Battambang is often left off the tourist map. Indeed, when I travelled to Cambodia earlier in 2012, I didn't visit the rather enchanting city, despite spending three weeks in the country.
So how do you get there?I took the boat from Siem Reap. I payed $21 for my one way ticket, others payed $20, $23, and some up to $25. So if you're on a budget shop around and find the best deal, bearing in mind that we probably payed one or two dollars extra because of the public holiday. The boat itself was pretty dodgy, over-crowded, hot, and noisy, but if you don't mind the sun get a seat on the roof and take in the view of the Tonle Sap (huge lake), floating villages, and the jungle atop the water.
Things to keep in mind when going by boat: 1. It can take a really long time, up to 10 hours. 2. You can't go all year round. In the dry season the river is too low. 3. It's hot, noisy, and often over-crowed (you've been warned) but in my opinion a must do!
You can take a bus from Siem Reap to Battambang for around $4, and it takes 3-4 hours. Bus tickets available from guesthouses and tour agents.
So what's Battambang like?
So what is there to do?
To get to and from these places you can expect to pay between $12 and $18 per day for a Tuk Tuk. I went with two other people to the two mountains on one day and the bamboo train the next for $6 each. If you set out early enough in the day you'd easily be able to do it in one day and maybe get the price down a little bit. Your Tuk Tuk drive can act as a tour guide giving you advice and information about the attractions, choosing a friendly driver with good English really enhances the experience. Our driver even walked up Phnom Sampeou with us!