Cambodia, widely known by tourists for its ancient temples Angkor Wat in Siem Reap and the incredible serenity that goes with them. However, for those adventurers that like to tread the path less followed by the masses, Battambang’s bamboo train is well worth a visit.
Sat in the Northwest part of the country Battambang’s track, located between two villages, is the only part of the railway line that is still usable. The line stretches all the way down to the capital but, as it stands, is in a state of disrepair. While there are plans to repair the track all the way down to Sihanoukville, progress is slow and has remained in the planning stage for years now and, as time drags on, its completion is looking less and less likely.
The bamboo train, which is a seven-kilometre track between to villages, displays carriages that are a flatbed of bamboo on wheels and are run by either motorcycle engine or tractor engines. The trains rocket through the Cambodian wilderness, hitting speeds of up to 25mph, passing through lush fields and the wildlife that goes with it. Over rickety bridges and other untouched pieces of scenery. With the train line just being the singular track, it’s better to hope that the train you’re riding doesn’t meet another coming from the other direction. While it is safe, it’s an unwritten rule that the group with the fewest passengers must derail and let the bigger group past.
At the other side, take the time to look around authentic villages and meet real locals of the area. The bamboo trains is a tourist attraction managed and maintained the locals so it always important to be respectful and understanding when interacting with people of the area. On the way back, enjoy all that the Cambodian countryside has to other. For travellers looking for something a little different, this is definitely worth the detour from the usual tourist locations of Cambodia.