The big Indochina trip: trains and bats in Battambang. 

My main reason for coming to Battambang was the bamboo train wh8ch sounded really cool. So, this morning I rented a motorbike and headed out to the train station. The train is actually more like a small rail carts consisting of a wooden frame covered with bamboo slats that rests on two axles and is driven by a little petrol engine at the back. Me and my companions, a guy from Singapore I talked to on the boat yesterday and some guys from his hostel,  took our seats on the little cusions provided, and off we went along the crooked, badly aligned rails. The train doesn’t really go anywhere, just out to some souvenir shops and back again but it’s a fun experience. 

Our rail cart

The track

We met some other people along the way 

Me and my companions 

Our driver

Most of my companions needed to go back to the hostel after that but the Singaporean guy (his name is Jevin by the way) and I set off to mount  Pnom Sampow outside the city. At the top of the mountain there is a temple and along the way up there are a number of caves. T The most famous cave is the killing cave, the Khmer rouge would bludgeon their vitims to death at the top then let the corpses fall into the gave. Nowadays theres a small memorial stup a bunch of skulls and bones inside. Except for the killing cave, there wasn’t that much to see for a templed out traveler like me but if you’re in Battambang you might as well go to kill some time. 

The temple at the top

The view from the top

There were plenty of monkeys up there.

One of the caves

Outside the killing cave was a gruesome display of Buddhist hell

The memorial stupa in the killing cave 

God’s light shining down into the killing cave 

The bamboo train runs on old tracks left over from the French colonial era. In the city centre the abandoned station and a couple of repair sheds still stand so I naturally had to do a bit of urban exploration. 

The abandoned station

Ticket counters

One of the repair sheds 

Remains of an old rail car

Homeless people have set up their tents inside what’s left of this building

Cow grazing by the old tracks 

Another old work shed 

They don’t want trespassers but the only deterrent is this sign

In the late afternoon, just before sunset, I headed back out to Pnom Sampow, to something called the bat cave. Just as it was getting dark, bats started streaming out for their night time hunt. There were thousands of them, maybe even millions, it almost looked like smoke billowing in the wind. They kept coming out of the cave in a constant stream for almost half an hour, it’s really fascinating.

The bat cave 

The stream of bats 

That’s it for now, tomorrow I head to Bangkok. 

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