A TASTE OF GREATER BATTAMBANG
Away from the art scene, Cambodia's second-largest city and its surrounds are home to some unique sightseeing opportunities
THE WORLD’S WEIRDEST TRAIN?
Battambang's most famous attraction, the bamboo train, has been rumoured to be on the verge of extinction for years, but is still holding on. A health and safety inspector's worst nightmare, the ‘train' consists of a large board of bamboo placed atop some wheels that zooms along decrepit train tracks at a rather startling pace. Tourists are welcomed aboard for a scenic and unique glimpse of the countryside in just 20 minutes.
TO THE BAT CAVE
A short hop out of town lies Phnom Sampeau, a striking mountain that rises out of the plain and truly comes to life as the sun begins to descend. An estimated two million bats take flight from a cave at the mountain's base in an awe-inspiring show of nature. As dusk settles in, the bats swirl en masse through the evening sky in a tight spiral formation and over the neighbouring rice fields in search of their daily feed.
HE’S A BIG LAD
The city's penchant for statues and monuments is obvious within minutes of arrival, but there is one effigy that stands above all others. Often flanked by selfie-snapping locals and tourists, the giant Statue of Preah Bat Dambang Kranhoung depicts the Kranhoung stick king and references a local legend that gave the province its name – Battambang can be loosely translated as ‘loss of stick'.