Battambang is pronounced bat-a-bong, and it was our last stop in Cambodia before moving into Thailand. We just had one day here before our lengthy bus ride to Bangkok the next morning. It’s a pretty small town that not to many people visit. Just a stop on the way to the border.
We hired a tuk tuk driver for the day and he processed to go all out as your guide. He explained the city architecture, the various French bridges and statues and all of the attractions we headed to see. First stop was the bamboo train. The locals here have basically taken over a 20-30km stretch of abandoned railway and have created their own little cars fastened out of old tank parts, bamboo and a motor. They used it for transportation back in the day, but as scooters, roads, cars and trucks became more prevalent it slowly lost it’s luster and exists solely for tourists. It’s a shame though as the government has accounted plans to rebuild the countries railway network, so that means this awesome little train “carts” will be gone be gone. Construction has started near the capital and will be moving up to Battambang in the next year or so. Basically you just sit down in the cart and it putts down the rails. Whenever there is another one headed for you, you determine who has the lightest load as you have to lift it off the track to let the other one pass. Heading back we ran into the missionaries in their P-Day, and a some guys who had recently graduated BYU. It also started to rain frogs and pigs so this is when we really got wet as the motor died and we ended up pushing it back to the station!
The surprising yet amazing stop of the day was a crocodile farm. We ere told it was a baby breeding farm where you can go hold and feed them. “No big deal” we said. We couldn’t have been more wrong. It is a relatively big operation. They have over 600 crocodiles that there are breeding for a variety of uses. The younger ones are sent to China to be used as medicine, the middle aged one to Vietnam for the meat, and the oldest ones to Thailand for the leather. They were enclosed in 3 separate pits depending in their age, but there was close to 200 in each pool! It was insane. Something we were not even remotely expecting. Most of them looked fake as they were just chilling with their mouths open, but occasionally one would jump outbid the pool and they would shuffle around each other.
During all of this a massive rainstorm rolled in and processed to dump a massive amount if rain. Cambodia is currently in a drought so we were told it was much needed, however it kinda sucked being wet for the rest of the day.
Our guide suggested the bat cave as our final stop. There is a cave near the end of town where hundreds of thousands if not millions of bats live. Every night around 6pm they come out if the cave to find food, before returning the next morning. We stood there for probably 30 minutes watching them stream out of the cave. Really impressive. We left and went out to the rice fields after and you could still see black clouds moving and flying around. Really really cool.