Tuk Tuk Day Trip
Travel to Cambodia can, at times be a bit exhausting. After days of dodging traffic, being surrounded by tourists, and seeing temple after temple, a visit to Battambang, Cambodia offers the traveler a nice break and a chance to relax a bit. Located between Siem Reap and Phnom Pehn, it’s a city where you can relax, gather yourself, and enjoy Cambodia and the Cambodian people. The city is more manageable, with a more leisurely pace. Wander the city, take a bike ride along the river, eat at a number of very good restaurants and do a bit of shopping. You can even take in a circus performance at the circus training program in the city. Battambang is a great place.
Enjoy An Evening At the Battambang Circus
Ready for a Day Trip? Time To Hit The Road
The area around Battambang offers a variety of interesting destinations and diversions. Rested and ready for a bit of exploring? Grab a Tuk Tuk for the day ( @$20 depending on your negotiating skills) and take a nice day trip.
A Tuk Tuk in Battambang is basically an open-air covered trailer-like wagon attached to a modified motor cycle. They go everywhere and give passengers a great view.
Your tuk driver may need to fuel up at a local station before making the drive. Battambang gas stations have attendants – some of whom are photogenic but also may have an attitude?
Stop # 1 – The Battambang Bamboo Railroad
The Bamboo Railroad, located just southwest of town, is one of the last remaining vestiges of a make shift local rail system used in Cambodia. Your tuk driver will be happy to wait for you as your ride the flat platform “norrie” down the narrow gage track to a nearby “station” and return. It’s quite an experience. A real wind in your hair – bugs in your teeth type of ride. For more on the Bamboo Railroad read see these related articles:
Stop # 2 – Prasat Banan Temple
Twenty three kilometers southwest of Battambang lies Mt. Phnom Banan. Atop the Phnom Banan is a classic Cambodian Temple – Prasat Banan. ( But please, tell me, why are these temples always at the top of mountains? ) Again, your tuk driver will be happy to sit in the shade while you climb the 358 stone steps to the top. So grab some water and maybe a snack to enjoy once you reach the top.
Start of the climb – View from bottom of the stairs
Sometime later – Approaching the top of the stairs
The climb is worth it – Prasat Banan offers a delightful small collection of temples in a shady grove – great views from the top as well
Stop # 3 – Phnom Sampeou
Mount Sampeou, sometimes referred to as Ship Mountain, is a limestone outcropping near Battambang. Wat Sampeou sits atop Phnom Sampeou. Yes, another temple on top of the mountain.
You can climb to the top – but be aware that this time there are over 700 steps.! If you aren’t worn out from your previous climb then head on up. But if, like many, you are a bit tuckered out, you will be relieved to know that there is a road leading to the Wat on top. Of course the road is very narrow and really steep with many twists and turns. Unfortunately, your tuk will not be able to make the trip. Again, your driver will sit happily in the shade as you find your way to the top.
Now if you are sensible and you would rather avoid climbing those 700 stairs – yes, that was me for sure – you will be very relieved to know that there is always a gaggle of English speaking motorcyclists waiting near the stairs. They will be happy to have you jump on the back of their cycle and whisk you up that narrow, winding road to the top for only $5. Be forewarned – they take great pleasure in driving fast – very fast!
The mountain is riddled with caves. Half way up your cycle driver will stop at The Killing Caves. You can hop off and walk around the area, visiting the cave where the Khmer Rouge killed many of their victims by standing them on a cliff overlooking a cave, hitting them over the head and pushing them over the cliff into the cave far below. There are several memorials in the area as well as many skulls and skeletons.
Your motor cycle thrill ride up the mountain ends at Wat Sampeou. The temple complex atop the mountain is well worth the trip. You can also enjoy views overlooking the Cambodian countryside far below. Be careful. This temple is home to lots of monkeys. Mostly they will leave you alone – but don’t get too close – they’ve been know to steal things from the unwary visitor and on occasion get rather aggressive.
Stop # 4 – Kamping Puoy Reservoir
The Kamping Pouy Reservoir is a short tuk tuk ride from Phnom Sampeou. It’s a nice place to end your day trip. There are many locals who hope to give you a boat ride. Numerous food stalls dot the area as well.
For real relaxation I might suggest stopping at one of the snack shops that have floating platforms overlooking the water. Make yourself comfortable in a hammock, have a beer, enjoy the breeze off the water and plan your next day’s adventure!
BATTAMBANG DAY TRIP ………………..ENJOY THE ADVENTURE!
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© 2017, Bruce W Bean, Ph.D. All rights reserved.