Transportation in Battambang; getting in and around the city of Battambang
Battambang is conveniently situated in the northwestern part of Cambodia, bordering with Thailand and connecting it by land with the capital Phnom Penh. Roads are in a pretty good shape, and the city is connected to every bigger city in the country.
Getting to Battambang
Basically, there are three ways of getting to Battambang from any other part of the country: by bus, by boat, and by train. It is important to note that the Cambodian railway system is almost entirely unserviceable, so it is recommended to avoid using trains, although there is a line between the Thai border and Phnom Penh, passing through Battambang.
National Highway 5 is one of the most modern roads in Cambodia, and passes through Battambang. Buses use this highway to get from Phnom Penh to the city of Battambang, which takes around 5 hours and costs around $4. There is also a bus route arriving from Siem Reap, costing around $5. The new bus station is about 3 km west of the city center, and from here it is best to take a tuk tuk to the city, because buses are banned from driving through Battambang. The tuk tuk ride shouldn’t be paid more than $1.
Ferries and boats are commonly used for transportation in this part of the country. Of course, during the dry season, getting this way to Battambang is hindered due to the low water level. A boat ride from Siem Reap to Battambang takes around 6 hours.
Getting around Battambang
Much like getting to Battambang, the options of getting around the city include road, boat, and train transport.
Since buses are banned from driving around the city (per 2016), locals and tourists prefer getting around by bicycles, motorbikes and tuk tuks. Most hotels and inns offer the service of bicycle renting, and this is the cheapest way of transportation, costing around $1 for the entire day. Renting a motorbike is another option, although not so necessary for those moving around the city itself, since all of the important attractions are close to each other. However, renting a motorbike is recommended for those who are in a hurry or traveling out of the city; it is also very cheap, costing around $6 per day. Tuk tuks are ever-present here, like in many other parts of Southeast Asia. Tuk tuk drivers surround the city center and popular touristic sites, so they are very easy to come across. Getting a tuk tuk drive around the city costs from $2 to $5.
Ferries and small boats are anchored close to the main market, and are readily available. A typical journey is very cheap, at around 10 American cents.
Now, this is not a typical train ride. As we already mentioned, the railway system in Cambodia is outdated and is currently being repaired, so there is very little rail traffic in the country. However, the rail around Battambang features a unique “bamboo train”, or, officially – norry. Norry is a small rail vehicle made of bamboo, driven by a driver standing in the back of the improvised vehicle. It used to be very popular in Cambodia, and can now be seen and used around Battambang.