Cambodia

Riding the bamboo train in Battambang

Train service in Cambodia has been known to be one of the worst networks in world. In 2006, the people from the north west of the country, near Cambodia’s second largest city, Battambang, have created their own rail service using pieces of bamboo. The locals call the vehicles “noris”, or “lorries”, but overseas visitors know them as “bamboo trains”. A tiny electric generator engine provides the power, and the passenger is ferried on a platform made of bamboo that rests on top of two sets of wheels. It is a challenging ride as there are no seats, safety belts or anything to hold on to, and the bamboo trains can reach about 40km/h (25mph), with the track just a couple of inches below the passengers. The warped and broken rails make a pretty scary journey. Today, the bamboo train is also used as a form of tourist attraction to pull.
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Khmer Borbor Sach Mouan (Chicken Rice Porridge)

If you are into flavorful broth like me, this could your favorite dish in Cambodia. So I was walking around the streets in Battambang in search for breakfast when I came across this stall right across the road from a primary school selling rice porridge. Not sure what the dish was called at that time, so I pointed to the bowls that 2 school girls were having at a table beside the stall and requested for a bowl of porridge. I was promptly served with a bowl of rice porridge with lots of ingredients in them. When I researched about Cambodian rice porridge, it seems that there’s no specific rule about what goes into the porridge. Each stall owner would have their own recipe. In the dish that I was served, the rice porridge was cooked till soft but you can still see each grain of rice, similiar to Teochew.
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Here Be Dragons – the best guesthouse in Battambang

I am writing this post on a bus, leaving Battambang for Siem Reap with a sense of emptiness. Though I only stayed in Battambang for one day, it was as if I’ve been there much longer because I made so many new friends within that one day and had so much fun. Much of it is contributed by the best guesthouse in Battambang, Here Be Dragons. Imagine a guesthouse that charges only 2 USD per night for a bed, sends their tuk tuk driver to pick you up upon arrival, and gives you a free welcome beer. Sounds too good to be true? Well this is what Here Be Dragons is offering. I found this guesthouse when I was searching for a place to stay in Battambang. It’s very rare to find a guesthouse that is ranked top for lowest price and highest review score. So I gave it a.
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Praying at the Wat Phnom, the Mountain Pagoda

After visiting the Royal Palace, I checked my Garmin eTrex 20 and it says that the nearest attraction near me is Wat Phnom, a Buddhist temple a few streets away from where I was standing. The 2 Swedish girls who visited the Royal Palace wanted to visit Wat Phnom as well so we followed the directions given by my GPS and started walking. As it was just after Cambodians’ lunch hour, we see some of the locals having their favourite post-meal nap. Wherever they can. We eventually reached Wat Phnom. Built in 1373 and standing at 27 meters above the ground, we were looking at the tallest religious structure in the city. Entry into Wat Phnom costs 1 USD per person (free for locals). From the exterior, one may not find it worthwhile to visit this temple. Personally, I see the admission fee as a small donation to maintain the temple..
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Visiting the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh

I located the Royal Palace of Cambodia with my Garmin eTrex 20 and strolled through the busy streets of Phnom Penh to visit the popular tourist attraction. I had to walk around tall walls (kampaeng), a typical feature of Khmer architecture, surrounding the Royal Palace in order to get to the entrance. Along the way, I was approached by a tuk tuk driver who spoke to me in fluent English. He told me that the palace was closed as his King is praying and that it would only be open in the afternoon. He went ahead to try to persuade me to go for a tour around the city as well as a visit to the Killing Fields. Tourist scam alert! I read about scams like these in travel guides where tuk tuk drivers would try to sway tourists away from visiting the Royal Palace by telling them that the palace.
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