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December 7th 2018
Published: December 7th 2018
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Off we head to the boat from Siem Reap to Battambang, we knew nothing about it other than where it was going.

After a short bus ride where we got very cosy with the other passengers ( the bus was too small) we got to the boat. Basically a fast narrow barge with bus seating and the top deck was the flat roof.

The journey was very relaxing (even managed to write this on the way) as we meandered along very tight riverways into Tonle Sap lake then out the other side again. Along the way we saw many floating villages and stopped at one for a drink and toilet break plus a pineapple sliced by hand in front of us - very refreshing.

After hearing a few bangs as we went through some of the smallest channels the boat stopped and the guys got out to inspect the propeller- minor problem it had loads of weed and plastic around it plus something had broken one of the blades of the propeller! Half an hour and a lot of banging later, we had a new propeller and we’re heading back out again.

Hotel Royal in Battambang cheap and cheerful and manager very welcoming.
We even managed to find a couple of good restaurants within a few minutes walking distance from there - Coconut Lyly and Nara, both authentic Cambodian cooking schools

Booked a Tuk Tuk for the next day but weather not great so turned back early morning and had a collapse in the hotel before heading out again in the afternoon.

The afternoon saw us visiting more temples, stopping to see lotus plants and then the killing caves up where the temples were. Apparently the Khmer Rouge used to try individuals and after getting them to admit to crimes ( real or otherwise) they walked them blindfolded and with hands tied behind their backs to the top of the hill before throwing them down a hole into the caves below. They also had soldiers at the bottom who made sure they were dead and then flung the bodies into a deeper cave below that.

The area has now been excavated and human remains extracted and put into a shrine which is visible for all to see. A somber reminder of the history 1975-79 of the area and the problems of mankind.

After this we moved onto a small village and sat outside the ‘Batcave’. Just around sunset we started to hear them and all of a sudden millions of bats were streaming out of the cave and flying out above our heads in a long line. An amazing sight.

Back to town for dinner then wandered out for a drink and came across a bar called Bric a Brac. A place run by an Australian and Frenchman - a nice bar a tad expensive for the area but the service was great and they had this young couple of brothers serving and the owners asked them to sing. Absolutely brilliant, particularly the older brother, Chenny Chen, singing local songs with a great deal of passion and a really good voice - so good we went back again on our last night.

The second part of our Tuk Tuk tour was now the next morning at ‘stupid O’Clock where we wandered the streets of Battambang waiting to the monks to arrive to collect alms, food or cash, from worshippers wanting to enhance or protect their karma. Once we had the requisite number of photographs our driver took us off to the ‘bamboo train’ where we sat on tiny flatbed placed on train wheels on a single track and shot off for 8 kilometres plus return at 30kph. Great fun

Once back we jumped into a car for a very scary drive to Siem Reap. Google maps said 3.19 & our driver did it in 2.40 with a stop!
An overnight stay before another early flight to our next destination - Kampot.

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