Crazy Bamboo Train

Trip Start Aug 27, 2011
Trip End Jun 01, 2012

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Flag of Cambodia  ,
Monday, January 30, 2012

Battambang, Cambodia - We arrived in Battambang late morning and were greeted by a tuk tuk driver with a guesthouse brochure. Seeing as we had no where booked, we opted for the free ride to take a look. The guesthouse was perfect, we chose a cheaper room without A/C and no hot shower, but we were only going to stay one night. We organized an afternoon with the same tuk tuk driver 'Tony' but first of all we wanted to chomp as it was lunch time. 

The city has classic French architecture, from long boulevards to balcony terraces. Down a small side street, we found a small local cafe offering delicious cheap noodles with vegetables.

Our afternoon with Tony was very interesting. We wanted to ride the bamboo train. On the way we crossed the river and Tony stopped outside the Pitt-Jolie foundation. Tony told us about the work Brad and Angelina have done in the area since she filmed Tomb Raider and the love the Cambodians have for them. He also talked about the respect and love the area has and still has for the work Princess Diana did in relation to land mines. It was great to hear these positive stories. 


Before the bamboo train, Tony stopped by a local street stand selling desserts. A banana leaf with sweet rice covering coconut, it was delicious! The other interesting aspect about running a Tuk Tuk is the way you fill up on gasoline. One stops at a diet coke stall, to find all the colourful liquids in the botltes are actually gas! So don't get confused!!

The bamboo train was a little unusual. A 4km line where one sits on a sheet of bamboo that is resting on two Axels and a motor on the back. The station guard took a picture and we were off! Ducking low lying branches and spitting flies out of our mouths, I also forgot my shades so had to squint a little with the debris flying into my eyes!! We passed endless fields of horticulture and farming. Locals were working the fields, the sun was out and the day was free. At the end of the track we were persuaded to have a can of Fanta and there was very little to observe in the village. Our driver simply turned the contraption round with the help of another and we set off to the start. Seeing as there is only one track, we encountered a bamboo engine moving towards us at speed. It soon slowed down, was picked up in pieces and removed from the track so we could pass. Just bizarre. 

Tony tried to squeeze more cash out of us but we didn't budge. We agreed to go to the caves and he took a scenic route to get there. Before we arrived at the caves, he stopped at a water cockroach street stand. Demonstrating the art of eating these insects turned my stomach a little, even now, I'm still happy I declined the offer to chomp on a water cockroach!!

The caves involved a steep climb up some steps. Only a fifteen minute climb but enough to aggravate Dave's back. On top of the mountain was various wats, temples and a great view of the flat countryside surrounding Battambang, minus the odd hill! 

We called it a day and headed back! Surprise, surprise, in the evening, we ate at the cafe opposite the guesthouse and we both had curry! I think now Dave is slowly turning into a curry, but nothing wrong with trying a curry in every city of every country!!

Next morning we enjoyed a light breakfast and soon boarded a bus to our next destination.

Next stop, Phnom Penh
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charlotte on

hey Ginger man!
I read this one as the name 'Battambang' made me chuckle and I was intrigued. I love that you made your tour yourself with Tony the tuk tuke guy, makes for interesting travels and stories. I am planning to go to Cambodia (I hope) so will be following your travels to see where's good to go.
Charlotte in hot and sweaty Cartagena, Colombia

aborder on

Hey Charlotte! Gotta love hot and sweaty Cartagena!! Did you take the long route by road from Caracas? Cambodia is great, I'm lucky to have a Cambodian friend in siem reap (she's from Denver) and another friend in the capital, so when you get there, let me know and they will happily show you around or point you in the right direction for tasty treats!! Great to hear from you, enjoy the coast and the wonderful Colombian people :-) a sweaty ginger man back in Bangkok (waiting for Bangladesh visa )

charlotte on

I LOVE hot and sweaty Cartagena, I think I found my favourite country!

That would be awesome on the travel meetup it's good to get recommendations and local tips, and I have been meeting lots of people myself on the way too.

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