Sunday, 23 December 2012

...Cambodia Calling 12 - Battambang.

So last weekend a bunch of us decided to put on our adventurer hats and take a trip to Battambang - pronounced BattamBONG. Confusing yet utterly brilliant right? It's such a beautiful city, it reminded me a bit of Phnom Penh but it was a thousand times nicer. It still had a lot of the architecture that Phnom Penh has but it's not so busy and everything closes at 11pm. So if your looking for a raucous night out then Battambang isn't the city to do it in.

The adventure started the same way all adventures do - on a bus. This was my first ride on a big bus and to be honest it wasn't as scary as taking those bloody mini vans. I guess it's because 1.  the bus is a hell of a lot bigger then a mini van and 2. no one can really argue with a big bus, they just get out of the way instead. So we leave early in the morning, get picked up by the skanky mini van and dropped off in town to board our big one. The journey there wasn't too bad, the driver did decide to leave us for half an hour in a random town to do whatever important things he thought he needed to do in the middle of a shift. But hey,  I'm not complaining. When we do finally make it to our destination we get hounded by the tuk tuk drivers (so typical) and they all want you to do their tour (which we didn't, we took the one the hostel was offering which was cheaper) there was a creepy tuk tuk guy who didn't want to take us to our hostel because apparently the hostel didn't like him. Tough shit mate, you shouldn't have agreed to drive us there in the first place! He kept badgering us to let him take us around the town and once we got to the hostel he gave me his business card and told me to call him if we wanted a tour. Clearly I didn't.

We then settled in, had a yummy lunch and then jumped in our tuk tuk to our first adventurer stop - the bamboo train. The ride in the tuk tuk was a little bit long but we got to see a load of the countryside which was nice. Once we got to the bamboo train we were greeted by a really friendly police man who gave us his little spiel and showed us the direction we had to head in but whoa! Who did we happen to bump into? That's right, creepy tuk tuk man. He did not look happy to see us and muttered something under his breath and gave us all death stares. Oh well, never mind the bamboo train was calling us.

It was so cool, it is a platform made out of bamboo with a cut out bit for the engine and it all sits on metal wheels and the engine chugs it along the tracks, it looks like this:


After such a fun filled morning we then headed straight to the mountain to go do some hiking - in flip flops, again. We get there and lo and behold who is behind us? Creepy tuk tuk man! This is when it stopped being funny and a little bit scary...

There were so many pretty temples up the mountain, I took a picture of the inside of this one because I love the colours. The whole temple was decorated in the same bright colours and it was so beautiful to look at. Next came the killing caves and I didn't want to go in. It was such a strange experience, right before the opening of the cave, where the stairs were the air felt instantly cold. As is someone had sucked all the life out of it but when I took one step back it was hot again. That really unnerved me and yeah it may be me being a little superstitious but I've learnt to follow my gut and my gut said no, so I didn't go down to the base of the cave. I just stood on the stairs for what felt like forever and then left.

We then bumped into a few monks who we got chatting to. One asked me why my skin was so dark if I am from London, I just smiled and told him there are many different types of people in London with many different skin colours. I don't think my answer was a sufficient one cos looked at me like I was crazy... They showed us to the top of the mountain which was another long walk but it was absolutely beautiful - well worth the hike.

To round of the day we made it down to the bottom of the mountain to watch the fruit bats flying out of the cave at exactly 5.50pm, which is the time they all go hunting for insects etc, it was so cool and such a lovely end for the day and that's exactly what I'm going to end this blog with folks. It's a video (obviously...!) so please enjoy.

Big Ocean crossing love ya'll.

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