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Riding the Bamboo Train in Battambang

I was torn between heading to Siem Reap again or to Phnom Penh while I was in the bus station in Poipet, Cambodia. Plenty of things were running through my head as I was contemplating my next destination during my more than two months across Southeast Asia. After staying for a month in Thailand, I was looking for something else to do aside from go to the beach or the mountains. Then I overheard other travelers talking about Battambang, then right then and there I decided to go as well.

Experiencing the Bamboo Train Ride

The bus ride took around 3 to 4 hours. The bus ticket costs $10 one way. As soon as we arrived, our small group of foreign tourists were suddenly surrounded by eager tuktuk drivers willing to take us to our destination. Thankfully, one of the tourists on the bus has been to Battambang before and got us a cheap ride to a hotel. I ended up traveling with two French women, Leila and Ana during my stay in Battambang. As it was already evening, we decided to do the train ride the next day.

It was a scenic drive through Battambang's countryside, like most places in Indochina, the landscapes were reminiscent of the landscapes back home. 

The bamboo train is an outdated mode of transport primarily used by the locals to shuttle people and goods to various villages. I was a bit surprised at how basic the train was, but I was in 'let's-do-this-mode' as soon as I heard about it. The set-u was quite strange to me. The driver lifted everything off the ground and just put them on top of each other to create a makeshift 'train' of sorts.

Our train picked up speed after it's initial slow start. We felt the wind blow by us while the scenic Cambodian countryside zipped by. It was a unique way to see Battambang. But after a few minutes, there was another train heading right at us. It was another unique experience to suddenly stop and lift the train off the tracks while another train went back to the station.

I tried lifting the wheels off the ground, but to my surprise they were quite heavy. I assumed they were light since our driver, easily lifted it off the track and back on it. 

There was a small community at the end of the train ride that sold souvenirs and food. Two kids toured me around the rice mill near there community. I gave them a small tip for their troubles, I wanted to help them in my own way instead of simply giving them money for nothing.

I shot a short video during our Bamboo train ride:

Though outdated, the bamboo train ride became a tourist attraction and a source of income for the locals in Battambang. We paid $5 each for the train ride.

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