I’m about to spend my third night in Battambang. It’s been great to take things easy for a couple of days and investigate the local attractions. Having said that, I still managed to clock up 28kms yesterday and 53kms today.
Yesterday I headed out in search of the old Pepsi factory. It’s mentioned in the Lonely Planet I have as well as appearing as a place of interest on Google maps and seems a quirky place to explore. On the way I had no trouble emptying pages of stickers for local children keen to interact.
Unfortunately, the abandoned Pepsi bottling plant is no more (serves me right for getting my info from an out of date Lonely Planet!) It’s now a hole in the ground, about to be transformed into a water treatment plant with help from the Japanese.
So I press on.
I’ve had no problems with food and water on this trip so far. Zero. I thought I’d push the boundaries somewhat by ordering lunch from a roadside stall. Beef noodles and a coke for under $2.
And it’s fine. I was fine. Food was delicious with no consequences afterwards!
On to Wat Ek Phnomu. I don’t have a photo of the ruins on my phone but I do on my camera and will insert later (even the link above has a photo of the newer temple, rather than the rubble of the ancient site you pay to see, but with Ankor Wat to come in the next few days I’m sure I’ll get another opportunity to show something similar, better even).
In the evening I saw the Phare Ponleu Selpak, the famous Battambang circus. It really is a must see, a NGO that is doing a great job of providing free education to underprivileged local children. Highly enjoyable, photos to come.
Dinner (sandwich) was at the Riverside Balcony Bar, taken over in July by Mike, a twenty-something Detroit native, and his buddy. A nice place to chill and have a couple of beers. A very ex-pat feel with every person there when I was being a foreigner.
Today I cycled past the local town sites; the old railway station, and the Royal residence. I wanted to go to the museum but it was closed, with no signage indicating when it might be open.
I cycled out to find and ride the Battambang bamboo train. It was ok but really felt like a tourist attraction there to milk what was possible with a standard introductory speech by the tourist policeman, multiple requests to tip, hordes of children selling bracelets and stallholders selling cheap t-shirts. Still, for $5 it was a bit of fun. 20 minutes on a rickety platform, 20 minutes to walk around a disused brick kiln site, then 20 minutes back. It actually took us 30 mins to get back as we were required to stop and disassemble the ‘train’ to allow a few coming in the other direction to pass. Quite fun.
I then had a swim in a river watching locals fish, checked out the Killing Caves, saw a bunch of bats leave the caves from the other side for their nightly feed, and returned to BB for a meal. Tomorrow, the plan is to take a boat to Siem Reap.