Battambang bamboo train

22 Jan

20th January 2013

We had a lazy morning with no alarm and a slow breakfast. We then spent a couple of hours catching up with e mails and uploading some pictures for the website. If you slip behind it becomes a chore to catch up!

We had heard about the ‘ bamboo train’ which was built by the french to move locals, produce, animals,  motorbikes or just about anything else you can imagine. They could just hop on the flat bamboo platform and the small engine and drive belt would propel the cart along the tracks at a surprising speed. It is now solely for tourists as only runs for about 20 mins out and 20 mins back. At the stopping point at the end you can get drinks or snacks and support the locals by buying a scarf etc.  If you pick the small stand on the right as you arrive, they are not too pushy and are really sweet! It is a fifteen minute tuk tuk ride out of town to the starting point.

Arriving at platform

As you shoot along the rails (much faster than you thought you would) it is pretty bumpy and a little noisy, but great fun! There is nothing to hold on to and you keep thinking about stories you have heard about wheels falling off …. but it is fine!

Ride on the bamboo train

Bamboo train driver

When a train comes the other way, you have to stop and jump off and dismantle the train and reassemble after the other train is pushed past. It must have been a real hassle when loaded up fully with produce.

The wheels / axles are only held in place by gravity …. that’s why they come off sometimes!

Oncoming train

Bamboo station stop

The family running the stall were very nice and so it was good to buy a drink and a scarf from them.

Grandma1

One of the girls had a particularly sweet face. You can see the traditional Khmer scarves behind her.

Sweet face

After about 15 minutes we boarded the ‘train’ and headed back to the start.

Ready to head back

It is a really touristy thing to do, but was great fun and the people nice. It is said that the Japanese are funding a ‘proper’ train on the same route. If this happens, the bamboo train is likely to go. So do it now or never!

Tomorrow we are booked on a bus ride to Phnom Penh. It is around 5 or 6 hours in air conditioned luxury and all for $5 each!

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