On our way to Siem Reap we decided to stop off for a few nights in Battambang because we had heard good things from people we have met along the way. The city reminded us of a quieter Phnom Penh , with a similar layout, but with a fraction of the people and chaos!
We hadn’t had much of a chance to do research into what we wanted to do and see in Battambang so we thought a safe bet would be to get a guided Tuk Tuk tour to take us around. Whilst walking around we stumbled across a Tuk Tuk driver that said he would take us on a tour for a lot cheaper than the hotel was offering, so we decided to give it a shot. The driver was great and took us around all the main tourist sites, whilst singing a bit of James Blunt and Sam smith, which reminded us of home.
We first went to visit and ride the Bamboo train. This used to be used by the Cambodians as transport out of Battambang to other areas surrounding it, however when the new road was built the train became useless as the road was much quicker. Nevertheless some locals still use it to carry grain and grass from one station the the other. We booked to ride on it for 30 mins which was great fun and an amazing way to see the landscape of the rice fields surrounding Battambang.
Over some local grub we chatted to our tilting driver about his life in Cambodian, he even shared with us his family recipe for the famous lok lac chicken. So we can’t wait to try that when we get home. I’m glad we eat a good meal because we were going to need all the energy we could get!
Right next to our food stall was the first temple, and although we couldn’t see the top , because of tree cover, we decided to give it a go.The climb up was well worth it though as you’re treated to an ancient Angkor temple with crumbling roofs and faceless statues.
On our way down we saw a man who had fainted on the way up and was being revived by a group of women and children- to be fair to him it was a pretty tiring task, even for us youngens. We have a new found respect for those who built it, as walking up the steps on my own was hard enough , so I can’t think what it was like dragging a huge rock up too!
We had heard about a killing cave museum and temple on top of a giant hill, which we thought would be quite interesting. Off we went with our driver saying he would wait for us at the bottom as the TulTuk couldn’t get up it. After climbing about 300 steps already we thought we might as well keep up the illusion of good health and go for it. What a climb it was! After Half an hour of steep steps and gasping for water we finally managed to crawl to the top. Alex, being the fittest of us two wasn’t too bad, however I felt ready to have a heart attack. A local monk could obvious tell, as he came over and showed us some chairs wecould collapse into. It took us a moment but we soon realised why he had put us in those chairs… The view! Take a look at the pictures below and I think you’ll agree it was worth it. We never actually found the killing caves, obviously well hidden, but we weren’t to bothered as we didn’t have the energy to be going off tracking over mountains to find it.
After all the Temple/Watt exploring we were both extremely eager to get to our next destination of Siem Reap so that we could visit Ankor Watt! We hope it will live up to our expectations. The Taj Mahal will be hard to beat but we have heard wonderful things.