Battambang is somewhat of an ode to French Colonialism. The city lies in the heart of the Northwest and until the war years was the leading rice-producing province of the country. The 100,000-person town offers not only one of the best preserved examples of the French Colonial era, but also the small-town feel you expect to encounter in Cambodia as a rule.
The true bonus however is the village life that is a mere stone’s throw away, be it by motorcycle, jeep or boat. The combined effect makes Battambang well worth the slight detour it requires to visit.