Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Battambang and Farewell Cambodia...

So arriving into Battambang reminded me of Kampot we had previously visited. The French colonial architecture was dominant in every street building and the ambiance of the whole town was content. The place was not too busy yet it still oozed life, Cambodian style. 

We ventured out on a tuk-tuk with our guide for the day 'Mr.Philay', we visited the old Bamboo Train first. This is a bamboo raft that is held together with rope and a local man with an engine sits on the bag, we both hopped on board our 'train', then we zoom off at great speed along the dis-used railway lines across the countryside. Arriving into a small rural village, the friendly locals welcome us dearly, providing me with a cold drink and making small jewellery items made of leaves. After wandering around the rice mill and spending time chatting to locals, we jumped aboard our train and headed back to our tuk tuk. Here, we headed to his friends place, where he grows and produces his own rice wine, then after he has produced enough he will turn the rest of the fermented wine into pig food. This was interesting place with plenty of interesting smells. Throughout the afternoon we ventured to a village bridge and a village where fruit bats live within the trees. Mr Philay smoked them out for us and woke them all up, so within 2 minutes we had over 100 huge fruit bats squeaking and flying around above our head in the sky, this was amazing! The day concluded with a hike upto the 'Killing Cave', this was a place where the Khmer Rouge murdered 10,000 local people but hitting them at the top of the cave with a weapon then tossing their bodies down the hole to the bottom of the cave. It was such a saddened place, yet at peace now too. A small monk provides bracelets which symbolise peace here and you can take time to say a small prayer and reflect upon your surroundings. 

After my action packed day, the next few days we opted to rest and relax. We each became to develop the 'Cambodian Cold' and did not feel too good. So, even when traveling constantly, my body was telling me to slow down and make sure I take it easy. Evidently, we rested up for 6days here in this lovely quaint town and then arranged to head to Bangkok. I was excited and eager to embrace a city that I had longed to see, not exactly sure of what would greet me...the famous Thai Ladyboys, Pad Thai Noodles, Crazy Neon Lights...I was pretty sure I would love it all! 

Exploring the abandoned train station in Battambang

The old train carts and sheds are now some locals homes

John and Mr Philay

Hopping on board our 'safe' carriage

Just about to leave and zoom towards the village

The friendly local people greeted me with smiles and Coca Cola

Some local children guiding me through the rice mill

Cambodia's version of the 'Golden Gate' bridge

Waking up the squeaky fruit bats

Climbing up the hill to the 'Killing Cave'

Overlooking the Battambang Province

The remains of the murdered Cambodians, many skulls and bones of men, women and children

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