Where to stay in Battambang depends on what kind of holiday you want. If you want to get away from it all, there are beautiful boutique hotels in colonial style mansions and atmospheric wooden houses. If you want something cheap and cheerful, you’ll find that too.
Battambang has become one of our favourite places in Cambodia and during our five years living here we’ve probably visited a few dozen times. With each stay we become more familiar with the charming riverside city and its laidback villages and as a result have become more fond of this big country town.
One of the things we love about Battambang is its delightful and very affordable boutique hotels, each quite different to the other in terms of style and character, and their welcoming, hospitable owners. The city also has a couple of good, central, clean budget hotels that we recommend if funds are tight or you’re on an extended trip of Southeast Asia.
Here’s our guide to where to stay in Battambang, from boutique to budget…
Where to Stay in Battambang
Boutique Hotels in Battambang
Bambu is our top pick of where to stay in Battambang and is easily the finest hotel in the centre, just two blocks from the waterfront, on the opposite side of the river to the historic core and main commercial part of town. Don’t let that deter you, as it’s a fascinating 15-minute walk or a 3-minute tuk tuk ride ($2) into the heart of town.
It’s worth staying just to experience the hospitality of owners, Irishman Pat and his Cambodian wife Chan, who also owns the excellent little Smiling Sky Bookshop in the centre of town when you need something to read. The warmth and generosity of these people will draw you back again and again, from Pat’s copious notes (regularly updated) that you’ll find in your room, crammed with insider tips and local advice on how best to experience Battambang to Chan’s warm smile that lights up the room — or bar, where she occasionally joins her husband.
Pat can often be found hosting the nightly happy hours (5-7pm), which are something of a local institution. While tourists come for the cheap drinks, expats are here for the friendly staff, nostalgic music, and entertaining company. If you want to make new friends in Battambang, prop yourself up here for a couple of hours and Pat will introduce you to the whole town.
The hotel itself is splendid, seamlessly incorporating the three main architectural styles you’ll see in Cambodia. The main two storey building is colonial-inspired with lofty ceilings, potted palms, wicker furniture on the balconies, and antique tiles on the floors. I like the rooms upstairs in this building, especially the ones overlooking the pool and the rear buildings, which are inspired by the traditional Khmer timber houses. With polished floorboards and timber walls these are more atmospheric, although the ones at the rear of the building can be a little dark, so, again, try and book one overlooking the pool.
And that alluring pool is much appreciated after a sweaty day out and about. (Don’t even think about booking a hotel without a pool in Battambang.) Pat can organize all sorts of excursions in Battambang, but if you stay tell him we recommended you book Mr Ol for a tuk tuk tour around the countryside. Nobody knows the province like Mr Ol and while he can take you to the main sights, he’ll bring you home by the most scenic backroads.
The food at the Russey Restaurant, particularly the Cambodian cuisine, is a treat and is some of the best in Battambang, so even if you don’t stay here, get along to happy hour and stay on for dinner at least one night. Book ahead, it’s easily the best hotel in town.
Book Bambu Hotel online with our booking partner Booking.com.
Maisons Wat Kor
Just a fifteen-minute tuk tuk ride out of the centre of Battambang in lovely Wat Kor Village, you’ll find beautiful Maisons Wat Kor, our next pick of where to stay in Battambang. This diminutive boutique hotel is ran by another welcoming owner, Cambodian Kim Nou, who is passionate about Battambang and the leafy riverside community where he has located his property.
Kim Nou splits his time between a business in Phnom Penh and Battambang, so hope he’s there when you stay. If he isn’t you’ll still be looked after by his well meaning yet shy staff, some of which are from villages smaller and more isolated than Wat Kor village, so be patient. By the way, Wat Kor is the name of the local pagoda.
Set in tropical gardens there are three traditional Khmer timber buildings, two of which host guest rooms, with wooden decks look onto a lotus pond, illuminated at night by striking lanterns made from traditional fishing baskets, and another tantalizing pool. Each building has four comfortable rooms with polished wooden floorboards, timber furnishings, and silk cushions and throws. The rectangular, deep blue pool was lined with sun-beds when we recently visited, but Kim Nou’s boys were busy building bamboo salas (like double-size daybeds) by hand, which will be more in keeping with the traditional style of the place.
There’s a small restaurant and bar off the reception area with an outdoor terrace and shaded deck, from where you could lean out and pick a banana off a tree (in season). Indeed, the grounds are dotted with tropical fruit trees and there’s an organic garden where fresh herbs and vegetables are grown for the kitchen. The restaurant offers terrific value set menus ($12 for three courses when we stayed) of authentic Cambodian dishes that you won’t see on many menus.
Maisons Wat Kor is a great base for discovering the countryside as much as it is a wonderful place to relax and swim and read that book you haven’t found time to get to so far on the trip. Do make sure that you take time to kick about the riverside village and get an insight into local life that is hard to experience from Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. The best time to explore in early in the morning when you can drop by one of the local soup stalls.
Book Maisons Wat Kor online with our booking partner Booking.com.
Not far from Maisons Wat Kor, overlooking rice paddies, and set within tropical gardens, Battambang Resort couldn’t be more different an offers a completely different alternative to where to stay in Battambang. Modernist-inspired with clean contemporary lines, there’s an open al fresco restaurant and bar serving Cambodian and Western dishes, off an oval swimming pool, surrounded by sun-beds. It’s a nice spot for a quiet meal if you’re not in the mood to go out.
The comfortable light-filled rooms are minimalist in style, with clean lines, cold hard surfaces to help keep them cool, and an airy feel to them. The rooms overlooking the small lake are more spacious.
While the resort, like Bambu and Maisons Wat Kor, is the kind of place you could happily linger for a few days, one of the best things about Battambang Resort is the lovely Cambodian owner Phary’s superb tours, so make sure you allow enough time to do two or three.
As an alternative to the breakfast buffet, you can do a breakfast bike ride with owner Phary to a soup stall to do as the locals do and slurp the quintessential Cambodian pork noodle soup kuy teav, from a nearby soup shop. You can stick to the succulent pork slices, but locals love the pork offal with liver, intestines, heart, lung, and pork loaf. Add fresh herbs, lime juice and chilli, and dip in the deep fried breadsticks or Chinese doughnuts called ‘youtiao’.
Phary also offers a breezy bike ride along the riverside through sleepy little villages to meet a local fishing boat for a cruise along the river to absorb life on the water. You then alight and ride back to the resort through different yet equally fascinating hamlets. Phary also offers a snack food tour in the evenings to sample Cambodian street food, by bike or tuk tuk, which we highly recommend. Book in advance, as this is also a popular hotel, especially in high season.
Book Battambang Resort online with our booking partner Booking.com.
Budget Hotels in Battambang
If budget rules your choice as to where to stay in Battambang then look no further than these affordable hotels that we have tested out and recommend for those not planning to spend much time at the hotel.
Here’s where to stay in Battambang if you’re on a budget:
Seng Hout Hotel
If your decision as to where to stay in Battambang is determined my location and you’re one of those travellers who has to be slap bang in the centre of town, then the Seng Hout Hotel on Street #2, opposite Phsar Nat, the old market, and a block from the riverfront is perfect for you. Staff speak very little English, however, the English-speaking owner Mr Seng can be found at his pharmacy across the street if he’s not sitting at the counter, for when you need help organizing activities, transport etc.
There are a variety of clean rooms (from $8-25), with air-conditioning and fans, and good modern bathrooms, ranging from extremely basic standards to slightly fancier rooms with access to public balconies or terraces with sweeping views of the city and/or pool. Yes, there is a pool! And an elevator. Book a balcony room on a high floor, not only for the stunning vistas; if there’s a wedding or funeral on, you’ll wake to a soundtrack of monks chanting, a melancholic Khmer xylophone or Cambodian pop echoing across the city.
Book Seng Hout Hotel online with our booking partner Booking.com.
The Royal Hotel
Also in the heart of town, the Royal Hotel is only a block from the markets. There are small balconies although the views aren’t as attractive as those from the Seng Hout. There are three room types, but while spacious they are basic with few amenities and bathrooms where the shower sprays all over the toilet and sink. There’s no pool nor elevator here, so book a low floor if you have heavy luggage (although staff can carry it to your room) or are feeling weary from your travels.
The Royal does have a pleasant rooftop area and the added bonus of a multi-lingual owner and smiling staff with reasonable English skills who are eager to please and always on the front desk ready to help you organise your stay. This is important in Battambang, as most of the sights and activities are in villages out of town and best experienced on tuk tuk tours.
Book Royal Hotel online with our booking partner Booking.com.
How to Get to Battambang and Get Around
See this post on Things to do in Battambang for detailed information on how to get to Battambang and how to get around Battambang once you’re there.
Updated: November 2018