The Bamboo Train at Battambang in Cambodia.

The Battambang Bamboo Train.

One of the must do things to at Battambang is go for a ride in the countryside on the Battambang Bamboo Train (Nory).

Before considering doing this though be aware that if you at all suffer from back problems then really this is not a wise trip to do. The track along the several kilometres route is in a pretty poor condition - often their are several inches of gaps between the rails (slightly more than would be necessary for expansion and contraction even in Cambodia's heat) and frequently the rails do not line up at their joints at all causing violent sideways movement.
Deformed track makes for a bumpy ride on the Bamboo Train at Battambang. Wheels and axles - Battambang Bamboo Train. Battambang Bamboo train trucks, Cambodia. Shifting the truck back onto the track - Battambang Bamboo Train.
The trucks are driven along at fairly high speed (maybe up to 25mph) and these trucks do not have a semblance of suspension on them - they are solidly placed onto axles - neither do they have the luxury of any brakes!. Powered by small motor-bike engines, each time the truck hits one of the above-mentioned rail gaps the whole thing jolts considerably. They do give you some small cushions to sit on which sort of helps though. There are no side handrails as such and just a piece of wood mounted across the front of the truck so you have to cling onto the edges as the truck hurtles along - it really is pretty exciting. Probably only somewhere like Cambodia would the authorities allow people to go on such a ride - imagine health and safety in England - they would wet themselves.!
Bamboo train bits and peices - Battambang in Cambodia. Low bridge on the Bamboo Train - Battambang, Cambodia. Removing the Bamboo Train from the track - Battambang - Cambodia. The village cafe - the end of Battambang's Bamboo Train trip.
The railway line is single track so as you go along whenever anybody is coming from the other direction then everything comes to a halt and one of other of the trucks are lifted off the track to allow the other to pass. Along the route you get nice views of the Cambodian countryside - passing several wet areas as well.
Brick Kilns at a Battambang village in Cambodia. Making bricks at Battambang in Cambodia. Kiln for baking bricks, near Battambang, Cambodia. Through the Cambodian Jungle on the Battambang Bamboo Train in Cambodia.
At the far end of the ride you can get off for 20 minutes or so at the adjacent village - there are a couple of places to buy (somewhat pricey) cold drinks if you wish and even get a snack. Also only a few yards away from the railway line the village has a brick works - one of the local children will almost certainly want to show you round it - and this is worth doing. Don't forget to give said "guide" a dollar or so tip once you have finished the mini-tour.
On the way back you can get the driver to stop perhaps by the lake so that some photos can be taken if you wish - once back at the start it is customary to give the driver a few dollars as a tip.
Starting from O Dambong the trip goes out to O Sra Lav and the journey out takes around 30 minutes depending on how many times you have to be removed from the track. The round trip on the Bamboo Train costs around U.S. Dollars 5 per adult - any tuk-tuk driver will know how to get to where the train starts from and will wait for you while you take the trip. Alternatively you can of course cycle the five or so kilometres out there - a mostly flat cycle-ride through beautiful countryside most of the time..
Battambang railway station in Cambodia.

Other Cambodian Railway bits and pieces in the Battambang area.

Battambang does have a railway station which is on the western side of the city at the end of Pir Thnu Street. [ note this is not where you can get the Bamboo Train ride ]. The station is not in use however the front of the ticket office building with it's clock (which stopped at a few minutes past 8) does not look too bad and almost appears like it's sort of nearly open for business.
Although the entrance doors are locked you can get onto the platform easily enough either side of the building. In reality there is not a lot of railway left - there are several buildings and sheds around but they are pretty much falling down. Some of the original what must have been extensive freight and carriage sidings still exist but are now covered in weeds. There are also several very rusty freight trucks on the remnants of these old freight sidings to look at and several equally rusty looking signal gantries.
A large decrepit freight shed - Battambang railway siding in Cambodia. Remains of a Cambodian railways freight wagon - Battambang. A rusty girder railway bridge at Battambang, Cambodia. This girder bridge at Battambang is not even safe enough to walk over - Cambodia.
If cycling around the city you also from time to time come across several railway girder bridges - these must have been a beautiful site when the railway was active and maintained but are now also in a terrible corroded condition - and certainly not remotely safe to even walk across.
Our topics about Battambang in Cambodia.
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