A centre for culture and the arts, Battambang felt the full wrath of the Khmer Rouge in 1975. Its residents, like those of Phnom Penh, were driven out to the countryside; many died, and anyone considered by the regime to be intellectual or artistic was targeted for execution. However, when it was liberated from the Khmer Rouge in 1979, the city of Battambang was mostly spared from damage, leaving some of Cambodia’s best-preserved architecture practically intact.
With few tourists including it on their itinerary, Battambang feels like a laid-back country town, despite being Cambodia’s second most populous city. Offering an untouched ambience, Culture Trip discovers this charming riverside city.