Bamboo Train in Battambang

Trip Start Aug 09, 2010
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51
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Trip End Feb 01, 2012


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Friday, January 21, 2011

Hello everyone!

Our last entry was from Khao Lak, Thailand. We'd been thinking about where to go next and had been pretty set on getting to Laos, but a closer look at the map made us decide that Cambodia was easier to get to. And so Cambodia it was! A bus ride and a couple of train journeys later we entered Poipet, the famous gambling town on the border of Cambodia. Apparently loads of Thais make the journey here to gamble in the many casinos dotted around town as it's illegal to gamble in Thailand. We gave the gambling town a miss and travelled further into Cambodia.



Our first destination was a place called Battambang which generally features on Cambodian itineraries for two reasons. The infamous 'Bamboo train' and the scenic boat journey to Siem Riep. 

On our way there we met up with a lovely French couple who were taking the long way round whilst returning to their native France. They'd spent the last 3 years working in New Caledonia in the South Pacific - a gorgeous island surrounded by amazing beaches. Clearly there are huge benefits to holding a French passport.

Half way into our journey to Battambang we stopped for some noodles on the side of the road and ordered some boiled eggs to go with them. As we peeled our eggs, little did we know that we were about to be introduced to one of the local delicacies - fully formed chicken foetus that's dark and gooey. I could handle the indistinguishable offal that came with my noodles but this sight made my stomach turn. This was a delicacy I would be leaving to the locals. Julien, our new French friend, happily tucked into the little bird as I struggled to keep my noodle soup down! Bleugh! 

Hotel rooms in Cambodia come with loads of options for the discerning traveller. You've got your standard air con or fan room, where they take the remote away if you choose the latter, you've got hot or cold water and you've also got window or non-window rooms available. So many choices..... 

That night the four of us went to a great restaurant called Riverside balcony bar where we tried yet another Cambodian dish called Lok Lak. This time we weren't nauseated. Lok Lak is made by marinating chunks of meat in a lovely sauce and serving it with fries, a fried egg and a small saucer of salt, pepper and lime juice mixed together. Taste bud heaven! This place served one of the best versions of the dish we would be trying out quite frequently all over Cambodia. 

  The next morning we hired a Tuk Tuk and went in search of the 'Bamboo Train'. Both Paul and I had visions of proper train carriages made of bamboo which looked very pretty in our heads. What we actually found were pellets of wood, maybe a meter squared that are balanced on 4 wheels. the whole contraption has a motor attached to its end which turns the wheels and makes the 'raft' travel at about 30 miles an hour. Still it was great fun hurtling down the track with the wind blowing in our hair, bumping along the many gaps in the track. Every now and then a raft would be coming down the same track in the opposite direction and so we got to play a version of the 'chicken' game whilst trying to figure out who was going to stop first. The loser would then have to dismantle the raft and move it to the side of the track whilst the winner passed through looking all smug. At the end of the track different travellers got offered different things. Overpriced drinks, a look at a snake or some grilled rat, depending on what the locals thought you'd go for. Julien of course got offered the rat, whilst Paul and I only got the overpriced drinks. Clearly we don't look adventurous enough!

 

 
With our excitement quota reached for the day we spent most of the afternoon lounging about in the various cafes around town and watching the locals go by their daily activities. That night we met Julien and Lilie for dinner and had a great night at a local restaurant. This is one of the best things about travelling. The random meetings, the new friendships that we form and the great people we end up spending our time with. 

And so our short visit to Battambang came to an end as the next day we'd be catching a boat to Siem Riep. But more on that next time!

Lots of love
Karen and Paul

xxx    
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Comments

mom on

Great read keep them coming stay safe love you xxx

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