Battambang, meaning “disappearing stick”, is named after a powerful staff used by a legendary Khmer king to achieve and maintain power and is Cambodia’s second city. Located on the Sangker River, 40 kms west of Tonle Sap Lake, it retains the character of a sleepy local market town and is still host to a good number of colonial buildings. Unlike more touristy towns, the economy is strictly locally based and includes wood, sapphires and due to the fertile surrounds, food crops.
When departing by road you will encounter many small villages and rice paddies, unspoiled rural Cambodia at its best. Nearby you can explore Angkorian era ruins, the sacred mountain and the macabre Khmer Rouge “killing caves” of Phnom Sampeau. The town is best accessed via a picturesque boat trip from Siem Reap.