Battambang, Cambodia 1st Feb - 3rd Feb
Trip Start Dec 13, 2012
100Trip End Apr 02, 2014
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Battambang is Cambodia's second largest city however has the atmosphere of a sleepy town. It was good to take the six hour bus through the countryside to get there seeing the houses & farms along the way. Coming to Battambang really felt like entering the "third world" for the first time – rural Cambodia. It was good to be away from a touristy area though and just see a local economy & society functioning.
You can clearly see the French influence here from when Cambodia was part the French Colonial Empire. The layout of the streets and the buildings were that of a French colonial town. Bakeries were down every street offering French bread which was a great treat as good bread has been hard to come by so far during our travels
We were only here for one full day as this was just a short stop off on the way to Siem Reap but managed to squeeze as much as we could out of it!
Things we did
The railway line here leads all the way from the Thai Border to Phnom Penh however there is only one train a week so the locals have made their own form of transport using a bamboo platform on two sets of wheels with a tiny electric generator engine to power it.
We met a man with one leg, the other had been blown off by a land mine, he didn’t speak any English – he was to be our driver & take us for a one hour journey to the next station and back.
So…we sat on the platform, inches from the ground, nothing to hold onto, he started the engine with some shoelace and we were off
We drove in the tuk-tuk to a mountain at a village a little way out from Battambang. From the base of the mountain, moped drivers took us up to the top and back.
About half way were the Killing Caves. This is where the Khmer Rouge dropped people from a great height into the caves, sometimes still alive. Since then steps have been built down into the caves and there is a memorial with the bones in it, similar to the one at the Killing Fields. At the bottom of the cave we met a monk who was a survivor of the war & he used to be a cook for the Khmer Rouge. He blessed us for our travels and gave us a bracelet.
At the top of hill was a temple and a beautiful view of the countryside – we sat looking at the view as our moped driver told us old Cambodian folk stories.
Food & Drink
Favourite Local Dish: Amok Chicken
New Tastes: Fried Cricket
International McDonalds Meal: No McDonalds
Local Beer: Angkor
Strangest Thing to See
People everywhere were eating fried cockroaches & grasshoppers out of clear bags like they were packets of crisps! Fae tried one, Neil still is yet to try! They taste like little fried flavoured crunchy things, they aren’t horrible though. Other creepy options for eating are fried spiders & fried baby birds…yes that’s right…the whole bird.
Asia Hotel – Pretty nice hotel in the middle of town for $17 per night – they again like the previous hotel looked after us very well arranging tuk-tuks and other transport for us. They even gave us a scarf as a souvenir when checking out.
Alcohol: $0.50 for a Pint (What? YES $0.50 for a pint….it don’t get much better!)
Transport: $12 for a tuk-tuk for the day
Massage: $5 for one hour
Bamboo Railway: $3 return – with an obligatory driver tip at the end!
Average Daily Spend per person: $24
Transport there for both of us: $24
Total Spend for both of us inc. Transport: $120