of Bamboo Train
Cambodia did have working rail infrastructure which, like many things, the Khmer Rouge destroyed. They did this by breaking up the tracks and bridges. In Battambang the locals have repaired a 40km stretch of single track railway and built makeshift carriages, A-Team style. In Khmer, the train is called Norry. A carriage consists of a bamboo platform resting on two sets of train wheels. They were originally powered by the driver pushing the carriage along with a stick, think Venetian canal boat. This got a power-up to a small engine being attached to the wheels by a motorbike chain. They can be dismantled off the track in a couple of minutes to solve any issues of passing carriages going in the other direction (this is very likely to happen at least once). A ride on the 'train' is great fun and best described as an exhilarating, rickety (or bone-shaking), open-air ride through rural Cambodia. The trip goes to the next station which consists of a few stalls where you can purchase a variety of Bamboo Train clothing and a drink before heading back to the station you departed from. It's around a 20-minute ride each way, depending on how many times you have crossing trains, with a 15 min break at the station. The whole journey takes less than 1 hour. Ask any tuk-tuk driver in town for the Bamboo Train and they will take you to the Odomboing station where you can hire a carriage and driver for $5 per person (min $10). This fee goes to the railway, so be sure to have some smaller change to tip your driver. There has been talk of the railway closing for years due to a new line being built. This probably will happen but not anytime soon. *TIP* - Take a sun hat and remember to hold on to it when the speed gets up. *TIP* - The shop owners can be overly keen for you to buy something at the station break. If you have no interest best not to show any. Once they think you may buy something their focus will increase. *NOTE* - For those with a bad back there are many jolts as you go along.