I’ve just returned from a 3-week trip to Southeast Asia, including 2 weeks in Cambodia, 5 days in Laos, and 2 days in Hong Kong. Overall, the trip was really fantastic – I met a lot of great people, got to meet up with friends from Hong Kong, saw amazing historical sites, had fun travel buddies, and ate yummy food. So as not to overwhelm, I’m breaking up my posts by city. Today’s adventure: Battambang, Cambodia.
I adored Battambang with its more laid back feel than the bigger cities like Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. There’s a fresher, cleaner air to this city – it did win the clean city award for 2015-2016! My suggestion is to spend one full day here. On this full day, explore and walk around the city in the morning, and then head out for sightseeing around 2pm with a tuk tuk driver.
Maybe I shouldn’t have loved this as much as I did because it’s just a train, but the hour I was there, was one of the best hours of my entire trip.
There’s one track and trains (more like carts) going both directions travel on the same track. When opposing carts approach each other, one cart has to DISASSEMBLE! Yes, you get off the train, they take it apart, the other cart passes, then they reassemble and off you go.
There’s a village at the end of the tracks with sweet little girls hustling for you buy bracelets, t-shirts, and water.
While this might not sound like the most thrilling, I was lucky enough to have a driver who lived through the period of the Khmer Rouge and he shared his story with me. Look forward to a future blog about this! There were good views of the city from up here, more pagodas, and a cave where thousands of people were killed during the country’s dark period.
You have two options to get to the Killing Caves – walk up a steep hill in the hot sun or rent a moto bike. My very awesome tuk tuk driver took me up there since I rented a moto bike and wasn’t about to drive it myself!
Two million bats leave this cave every evening at sunset taking hours for them to all get out. Then they fly the entire night in search for food en route to Siem Reap and return to the Bat Cave by morning. It’s one of the most amazing things I’ve seen.
Battambang costs (please note that most things are sold in U.S. dollars, not Cambodian Riel, so the prices here are in USD):
- Bus from Siem Reap to Battambang $6
- Tuk tuk for full day $15
- Bamboo train $10, tip $1
- Bracelets from adorable children in village near Bamboo Train $3
- Entrance to Killing Caves $3
- Moto rental at Killing Caves $2
- Bat cave – free
- Circus $14 – I didn’t make it here because I was there on a Sunday, but I’ve heard it’s great
- Bus from Battambang to Phnom Penh $7
Battambang My Homestay: while I really liked the service and the family was extremely nice, it was much too far away from the city center
- Tuk tuk to homestay and to town/back $2
- 1 night at homestay $20
Lonely Tree Cafe was truly great! It’s a shop + restaurant with awesome customer service.