When we got off the boat from Koh Rong Samloem we headed towards the booking office to pay the last bit of our lazy beach stay, we hadn’t had enough money and ATMs were not available on the island. Next to the lazy beach booking office an office for bus trips was located so we booked two tickets for the bus of 12.30 to Phnom Penh. We would have gone directly to Battambang if that was possible but you have to go via Phnom Penh anyway so we decided to stay the night there instead of arriving at a ridiculous time in Battambang. That evening we had a delicious cheese fondue at a swiss restaurant, it was recommended by Michaels aunt Sanne and we had a great time. A bit above our usual budget for dinner but it was worth it. During our walk to the restaurant I almost tripped ofer a rat, disgusting but also a sign of how poor Cambadia actually is. You will see and smell garbage everywhere and bagging children is not unusual sadly enough.
We had bought our tickets for the next day already so we had a good night sleep and headed for some breakfast at 7:30. A vegetarian Indian restaurant offered us an unusual but delicious breakfast, after that we headed to the bus and let us drive to Battambang. After a 6 hour drive the tuktuk drivers were waiting for us. Ignoring them in the first place usually works best, the biggest bunch is scared off and only some are left. This time we got Ola, he brought us for $0,50 to our hotel with the question if we wanted to have a driver for the next day. For $25 he would give us a tour, which sounded a bit high to us so we bargained and said for $20 we go with you tomorrow. He seemed ok with it and agreed to meet the next day. (Spoiler we still gave him $25).
That evening we located a restaurant on trip advisor which was close by, had some food and took some rest. The 2 days of bus riding is quite tiring.
The next morning our TukTuk driver Ohla was waiting for us after we had breakfast, it was only 9.30 and we wanted a shower before we left but that was all no problem. When we were ready to go at 10 we stepped in and left of for what would be an amazing day. Our first stop was very close by and the oldest temple from Battambang, nice to see but similar to all the others we had seen (same same). After that we headed to the roundabout with the big statue kneeling and presenting a stick. No clue what it meant we were taking pictures driving in the direction of it. Ohla stopped in front of the statue and explained the origin, a story about a man with a magic stick who wanted to become the king. The name Bat (lost, dispeared) and tambang (stick) is coming from this legend. After this short stop we headed to the “golden gate bridge” of Battambang, a nice suspension bridge over the river. Probably way smaller and less reliable that the golden gate bridge in San Francisco. We walked around for 15 minutes got back in the tuk tuk so Ohla could drive us to the bamboo train! A really fun experience with a small train made of two axles with a small bamboo plateau on top all driven by a small engine and a lady. The rail was in bad condition so you could imagine why no trains are driving any more on this track. In 30 minutes the lady drove us, with several stops for trains coming from the other direction, to the village. A very touristy place, you hoad zigzag between the children trying to sell bracelets, we didn’t want to buy anything but we had to pinky promise with one of the girls that IF we would buy a bracelet we would buy it from her. Around the corner there was an old brick factory located and a young woman was showing us around how they used to make bricks there. It was a nice short tour and she asked us if we wanted to buy something in her store. Usually we avoid those places but since the tour was free and a Cambodia magnet was still on our list we bought one. She happy we happy. We headed back on the bamboo train and enjoyed the few and the disassembling and assembling of the train when another train was coming from the other direction.
Ohla waited for us and the comfortable cushioned benches brought us to the Banan temple made by a family member of the Ankor Wat architect. A lot of stairs brought us to the top were we had a look around, when we got back we had some delicious $2 noodles and some mini bananas.
The next destination was the killing cave, as the name suggests also part of the slaughtering of the Khmer Rouge. People were killed with primitive weapons and after that pushed into the cave, if the first thing didn’t kill them the second would do. Again heart breaking. Ohla had drawn us a map to show how we get to the different points on the mountain so we were able to walk to the top to see the big Buddha statue and the amazing view. At the panorama point a small temple was located which was possessed by monkeys and Ohla warned us for them so we didn’t get too close. We headed back to the tuktuk parking to see ohla again and he showed us how to walk to the bat cave. We waited for 30 minutes for the night to fall and then the bats would come out. A big stream of bats were heading out of the cave looking for food, it seemed the stream would never stop. When it was almost completely dark Ohla came with his tuktuk to pick us up and bring us back to the hotel. We had an amazing day!