Battambang was well known as area of French colonialism. The city is situated in the heart of the Northwest and until the years of war it was the leading rice-producing province of the country. The 100,000 person town offers not only one of the best preserved symbols of the French Colonial era, but also the small-town feel you expect to encounter in Cambodia as a rule. The true benefit is the village life that is a mere rock’s throw away, be it by motorcycle, jeep or boat. The combined effect makes Battambang well worth the detour it needs to visit. For centuries, Battambang was part of Thailand and was used as its eastern commercial center. The French have left a strong mark on the town's buildings, that aftermath in a pleasing colonial effect. The town is the gateway between Thailand and Phnom Penh but still retains a silent atmosphere not conducive to people looking for nightlife and fine dining. Rather, people use the city as a base for visiting the nearby temples of Phnom Banon and Wat Ek Phnom. 293 kilometers away from Phnom Penh, Battambang is in the heart of Cambodia's 'rice field’ and even though it is Cambodia's fifth-largest city it has a marked rural feel to it.
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