There's something about Battambang (បាត់ដំបង) that visitors just love. Forget the fact that there's really not all that much to do in the city proper: the colonial architecture teetering into genteel disrepair, the riverside setting, the laid-back cafes – they all make up for it. It's the perfect blend of relatively urban modernity and small-town friendliness.
Outside the city's confines, meanwhile, timeless hilltop temples and bucolic villages await. Not to mention the most scenic river trip in the country, which links Battambang with Siem Reap.
That Cambodia's best-known circus (the magnificent Phare Ponleu Selpak) is here is no coincidence: the city has an enduring tradition of producing many of Cambodia’s best-loved singers, actors and artists.