Today I’m sharing the second part of our South East Asia adventures, but you can find Phnom Penh here! On the morning we travelled to Battambang I came down with some horrible food poisoning. I so wish I’d felt better in Battambang as it was such a lovely and laid-back little city. I stayed in the hotel while Alex had a little wander but I’m really glad I felt well enough for the bamboo train the next day.
All trains were destroyed by the Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s, so after the regime locals worked hard to clear the tracks which had become overgrown and dotted with landmines. They introduced bamboo trains – rickety and about the size of a double mattress which trundle along the warped tracks somewhat precariously. Now, it is mainly a tourist attraction which will apparently not be around much longer as they are bringing ‘proper’ trains back in.
It was a unique and magical experience to be hurtling through Cambodian countryside with really not a clue about where you are or where you’re going! Which turned out to be a group of huts with friendly people selling food and clothes. When we met with another train, the driver simply lifted our train off the track and we waited on the side while it passed by. And then we were off to Siem Reap…
Siem Reap is a must-do if you’re in Cambodia. It’s completely impossible to capture the vastness of the temple of Angkor Wat through photography. Angkor Wat was amazing, but what I didn’t realise was that there is a whole complex of temples which take days to get around! We went to Angkor Wat, Bakong, Banteay Srey, Bayon, Ta Prohm… and possibly some others too ha. Angkor Wat is obviously a must-see but also Ta Prohm (famous for being used in Tomb Raider) as it is so atmospheric with the giant crazy trees growing through the ruins. However I would recommend exploring some more off the beaten track, because the temples are most magical when they’re not full of other tourists waving selfie sticks.
In Siem Reap I would really recommend finding a tuktuk driver that you like to take you around the temples each day. Compare some prices, chat to some drivers, and go with someone you trust. We used the same driver 3 days in a row and he was so wonderful and even put refreshments in the back for us! Go to the Landmine Museum at some point – again I feel like it’s really important to learn about Cambodian history and there are a lot of people around Cambodia who have been injured by landmines, including kids. The Landmine Museum was really interesting and is helping support children who have been affected by the landmines.