Surprisingly enough there is no shortage of ways to get or stay in shape in Battambang. Whether it is more traditional means you seek or some fun ways to enjoy the local area while working up a sweat, you really just need to know where to start!
Take a stroll down to the banks of the Sangker River at dawn or dusk and you will be intoxicated by the culture and community spirit that culminates. Whether running, walking, or making the most of the permanent work-out machines, there is no shortage of activities to help you keep fit. The best part about choosing this option, other than that it won’t cost you a single riel, is that you also get a great opportunity to interact with the locals. Additionally, dance workout groups run 6 to 7 a.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. on the Wat Sangker side of the river, offering low-cost (1000 riel) exercise groups with a really fun and social vibe.
If getting out and about isn’t your style, there are a number of gyms around town as well; they are low-cost but with have a wide range of quality and facilities. The most highly recommended Khmer-style gyms are on Road 1 near the junction for the Wat Sangker bridge and on Road 3 near the Chaya apartments.
A higher standard and more up-market alternative is available at Classy Hotel for $5 and long-term memberships may be negotiable. The gym is surprisingly well-equipped, featuring several cardio machines, free weights, bench press, Smith machine, and several other bits and bobs, including exercise balls.
It won’t take you long to work up a sweat in the Battambang temperatures, so a preferable choice might be to take a dip at one of the local hotel pools, many of which offer low cost day passes. Delux Villa ($3) has a decent sized (around 15 meter) pool for swimming lengths. Slightly more expensive, Classy Hotel on the banks of the river, has a larger pool at $5 a splash. Priority is given to hotel guests and the waters may get busier during peak afternoon hours, but for a morning or evening dip they could be a good choice.
Around the Victory Club on Road 1 just past the pedestrian bridge, groups of locals get together after work to play volleyball and basketball matches among other sports, offering another great way to get in shape whilst mixing with the local community.
Battambang and its surrounds also offer a unique cyclist’s paradise — with flat roads and quiet yet beautiful country routes, it is a great way to explore while keeping healthy. Heading out towards Wat Kor is one recommended route, north to Ek Phnom another, and for the more adventurous, all the way out to Wat Banan (40km round-trip). Please remember to carry sunscreen and lots of water!
Finally, an opportunity to stretch out and relax after all of the other activities is offered by Here Be Dragons hostel’s bi-weekly yoga classes which are held Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. on the roof. Head up to the terrace a few minutes before to grab a spot and a mat (available to borrow), classes cost just $2.
Phum 20 Uksaphea, Sangkat Svay Por, Battambang
T: 092 210 211
Classy Hotel and Spa
Pool hours: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
159 D, Street 207, Battambang
T: 053 952 555
Here Be Dragons Hostel
Road 159D, Street 209, Battambang
T: 089 264 895