BATTAMBANG BIKING, BEDBUGS AND BAMBOO TRAIN

Siem Reap was a cute town, with some interesting history with Angkor Wat.
I only have 3 1/2 weeks in Cambodia and I don’t want to spend it on the bus. But, the roads are so bad it takes forever to get anywhere. The closest town to Siem Reap is BATTAMBANG. So I take the 5 hour, 161 km (100 miles) bus ride.
The Tuk Tuk drivers are waiting at the bus station, to take you to their favorite hotel. I’m starting to opt for Air Conditioning and a pool, but not over $20. I stay at the hotel they suggest, SENG HOUT HOTEL, it has everything I want and MORE!
I decide to walk around a little and explore the town. First thing I see is a guy with no clothes, walking around aimlessly. There seems to be no real government sponsored social services, obviously.

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I SPOT THIS BICYCLE AND TAKE THIS PHOTO, THEN REALIZE IT’S A BICYCLE TOUR COMPANY, (I’ll be back in the morning)
I said the hotel had everything I wanted and More!

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I WAS EATEN ALIVE BY BED BUGS
They don’t hurt or itch, so I decide to do a bike tour. I negotiate an all day tour with bike and guide, $25.

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“GOOD HYGIENE PRACTICE” this is a welcome sign after being sick multiple times in Myanmar.
Were riding our bikes and I notice this bike

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A BANANA TREE STRAPPED TO THE BIKE AND READY TO PLANT (the gentleman had his hand out for a “donation”, NO)
We visit the local Muslim neighborhood market, everyone was very friendly. I bought some fruit and took some interesting photos.

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REFRIGERATION IS IN SHORT SUPPLY, SO DELIVERED BLOCKS OF ICE NEED TO BE CUT TO SIZE
I got the feeling that some areas of Cambodia were still newly explored.

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TAKING PHOTOS REALLY BRINGS OUT PEOPLE’S FRIENDLINESS MORE PHOTOS
We stop by a business that cooks sticky rice with black beans inside bamboo. I bought a couple, but should have bought more, very good!

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THE BAMBOO IS FILLED AND COOKED NEXT TO THE OPEN FIRE

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THEY MUST SCRAP OFF THE BURNT BAMBOO BEFORE THEY SELL THEM
The bike gives you a very street and people perspective of daily life.

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NEED SOME KITCHEN UTENSILS?
American images can be found on many many items

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AMERICAN FLAG FLIP FLOPS, THE SHOE OF CHOICE IN SE ASIA
The KHMER ROUGE left a huge imprint on Cambodian history. Mainly in power from 1975-79. It’s some interesting history, that again involves the U.S. (surprised?). I found THIS ARTICLE that gives a short but detailed history of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia (highly recommended).

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THIS IS A TEMPLE THAT WAS USED AS A PRISON DURING THE KHMER ROUGE OCCUPATION My guide said it’s closed because of the smell, of death. Behind the temple is a memorial to some of the deceased and reliefs portraying life under the Khmer Rouge.

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THIS IS A DISPLAY OF SKULL AND BONES OF PEOPLE KILLED BY THE KHMER ROUGE. THE MEMORIAL WAS PARTIALLY PAID FOR BY THE U.S.
All the reliefs were equally disturbing. There was one relief that really caught my attention,

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THE KHMER ROUGE CONFISCATES ALL THE PEOPLES BICYCLES!
They were intent on taking away any and all freedoms. Check out the PHOTOS for more reliefs.
The bike tour rocks, of course. We visit the fish market, their unloading the days catch and

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KIDS DE-BONING SMALL FISH TO MAKE FISH PASTE
We enter a neighborhood where many households make the rice paper used for making salad rolls and spring rolls.

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RICE HULLS ARE USED TO COOK THE RICE PAPER
We visit one of the many temples.

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ONE OF THE BEST SMILES IN CAMBODIA
My bike guide suggest we visit the alligator farm, I tell him we can skip it,he insist

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THEY SELL THE ALLIGATORS TO CHINA
I suggest we make a loop out of the ride, instead of up and back.

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WERE LOST ON THE BACKROADS AND FINALLY OPT FOR TAKING THE SAME WAY BACK
I mention I would like to ride the Bamboo Train. I wait till someone else shows up so we can car-pool.

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I CAR POOL WITH THIS DUTCH GUY
At the end of the ride are the super sellkids

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I THOUGHT WE WERE GOING TO EXPLORE THE VILLAGE, NO, “PLEASE BUY SOMETHING”

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THERE WAS THE OCCASIONAL COW ON THE TRACKS
It’s just one track for trains going in both directions, so they take the train apart so you can continue. I made a VIDEO of the train ride.
We stop at a temple on the way back.

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THERE’S A STORY BEHIND IT, BUT I FORGOT,(just enjoy the photo)

I caught this image of “how to get stuff to the 3rd floor”

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HE WALKS A LONG WAYS TO GET THOSE BRICKS TO THE THIRD FLOOR
Lots of people wear respirator masks, I’m not sure which is more hazardous to your health:

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WHICH IS WORSE, THE DIRTY AIR OR RIDING WITHOUT A HELMET?JUST WONDERING.
Many of the roads in SE Asia are just barely big enough for 2 way traffic. The bicycles and pedestrians aren’t really considered.

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THEY’VE ADDED A NICE PAVED SHOULDER FOR BIKES, I WAS LITTLE SHOCKED.
THANKS FOR READING AND COMMENTING
JEFF
NEXT? SIHANOUKVILLE, KOH RONG ISLAND AND “NO WATER!”
MORE CAMBODIAN PHOTOS HERE

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2 thoughts on “BATTAMBANG BIKING, BEDBUGS AND BAMBOO TRAIN

  1. Kathryn Reder

    That was a funny story about Vinnie and his dad. Steve just went out the door to watch March Madness game with some neighbors (we’re still in Hawaii). You are sure learning a lot about the world. Kathryn

    Reply
  2. harley86

    Hi Jeff,

    Getting tired yet? Man you have done some traveling brother. Look forward to hearing all about your adventures when you return to Oregon. Happy Trails to you. Mark

    Reply

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