I sat in my Siem Reap Hotel waiting for my tuktuk which the hotel had arranged to pick me up for the 15 minute trip to the station to catch my bus to Battambang which left at 9.00am. After I had checked the tuktuks whereabouts again, at 8.45 I was told "oh sorry, mix up, tuktuk not coming...you must go outside and get one" Great. A frantic dash followed through the traffic to arrive sweaty at the station at 8.59. My bus though didnt end up going until 9.45 for reasons that werent clear, and I had a screaming baby in my ear and Cambodians shouting at eachother most the trip - oh, and lots of Mosquitoes on board. Lovely!
Arrived at the Golden Palace Hotel mid afternoon and it was fine, well for what I was paying, despite it being laden with ants, it was near a river that runs through the town and the staff were friendly.
The next day I booked a tour which although expensive was very good - taking me to a mountain top temple at Phnom Bannon Hill and a walk through a cave and a papaya planation. After a stop at a wine factory (no cheese!) we went round the local market and saw various buildings and statues before the highlight - a half hour ride on a bamboo train which is a wooden plantform on four wheels with a small motor attached which pegs it down a local railway track, you just hope nothing comes the other way...great fun and you certainly go to places on it that feel off the beaten track.
Next day was quieter, just had a walk up the river to the Market then booked in to the Victory Club and used there gym and lovely big pool overlooking the mountains in hot sunshine all for just two quid. I was asked by a passer by to go to his school, about 15 minute drive away, to talk to kids about England - I was tempted but didnt fancy going off with someone on my own who I didnt know. Probably overly cautious.
Spent two evenings at the excellent Riverside Bar, small chilled out place playing light music in a quiet but classy atmosphere serving top food. Did take a locals suggestion on my last night and ventured to the White Rose Cafe - manic place where I chatted to the only other non Cambodians in there, an English couple who left me in no doubt that they dislike banks very much. Had to be a passenger on a Moto going out in the evenings, with no helmet I didnt feel too confident on the way there but after a few beers it felt much safer on the way back!
Battambang is a quiet place, not a lot there but nice enough for a couple of days, lots of redish dust on the roads and again the people are very friendly. I certainly wouldnt suggest staying much more than 2-3 nights though as there isnt a lot around to see or do.