Justins World

Battambang Bamboo train

Today I caught a bus to Battambang, which is not far from Siem Reap, although Cambodian bus times leave a lot to be desired. They seem to quote the absolute best time a car could do without stopping as to how long the bus will take, rather than just say 4 hours for a 180km trip, they say 2 hours, because 4 makes it look like they take too long!
On arrival, I planned to have a relaxing afternoon wandering the town. Instead I went out to ride the bamboo train. I’m sure my father will be jealous and then tell me he has done that before. When the Khmer rouge seized control the trains stopped running. In the early 80’s some smart Cambodians worked out they could make their own trains to make use of the track. Using diesel engines from whatever they could find and an ingenious setup where the wheels and the flat bed could be easily dismantled, the bamboo train was born or locally known as a norry.

Bamboo train

Bamboo train

These days though it seems its a tourist attraction only. $10 a norry gets you a 14km return journey. Unfortunately for me, while I had sole occupancy of my bamboo train, that meant I was the one who had to get off each time a train came the other way. The rule is the train with the smallest load gets unloaded and moved of the tracks, the other train passes and the train is reassembled on track.

Bamboo train engine

Bamboo train engine

Tomorrow, I’m going to do a cooking class. Who knows what I’ll learn to make, but the most notable thing about Cambodian food is its similar to Thai, without the spiciness, but still full of flavour.

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