Battambang Bamboo Train
Bamboo Train, Battambang
The Bamboo Train is high on the tourist trail for Battambang which runs on a now short single-line track a few kilometres south of Battambang in O’Dambong Village. The track is what is left of over 600kms of track as it was in the 1980’s and not much of it is functional these days. The ‘train’, or “norry” as known locally, is basically a rickety bamboo flatbed on wheels which I understand can travel up to 40km an hour using small motorcycle engine, and provided a cheap an effective way for locals to travel. The noris are mounted on a steel frame with wheels and assembled on the track, which is often warped, and have no brakes.
As one of the highlights of Battambang, Team Legge ventured aboard keen not to test the top speed! When trains heading in the opposite directions meet, the one with the fewer people on board are removed to let the other pass. As we started off it was loud and somewhat terrifying as we hurtled down the rickety track, holding on tightly to each other. Even our train-obsessed Z looked edgy.
It was a noisy but exhilarating 20 mins through the open fields and countryside to the next station where we met by a number of stalls selling a fine array of flimsy pastel-faded Bamboo Train T-shirts, little else. Time to travel back and we had the pleasure of dismantling our trusty steed to let a couple of others pass.
War Ek Phnom Pagoda & Temple
11km North of Battambang is CAD4, one of the teaching centres where we have been working. The setting is unbelievable with a backdrop of Buddha, a stunning modern Pagoda and the ancient crumbling Angkorian temple itself, War Ek Phnom. War Ek Phnom was built in the 11th century under the reign of King Soryavarman I, although not much left of the ruins it feels a holy, spiritual place. We clambered up the ruins set amongst trees and lily ponds, to find one central tower remaining. It has left a hungry taste in our mouths for a forthcoming visit to Ankor Wat.