Battambang is the second largest city in Cambodia. It’s a very hot and dusty town.
While we were there, we actually saw the Google Maps Mobile surveying the streets. The juxtaposition of modern technology against the old, traditional temple kind of sums up the rapid growth and poverty which you see in SE Asia.
There are a few interesting sights to see in the surrounding country side. We hired a tuk-tuk driver for the day and visited the sites. The first was a bamboo train. In the past, the train tracks were actually used to transport goods, now it is solely a tourist attraction.
The train consists of a bamboo raft which is placed on top of two sets of train wheels and a cutout for a motor. Not 100% sure it was safe, but it was a fun ride.
Next stop was a temple perched on top of a mountain and what seemed like 1,000 stairs to get there. We were there on the weekend and were joined by local families and groups of teens hanging out.
The last stop was a little more serious. We visited a cave that was famous for its use during the rule of the Khmer Rouge to kill dissidents of their regime which could be anyone without any reason.
It is a very serious and sad subject and it seems like Cambodians would prefer to put it in the past. However, there were plenty of people along the way asking for donations or small children offering to guide us through the cave for $1. We found it a bit distasteful, but it’s not really fair to judge the difference of culture.
The people of Battambang were very friendly to us for the most part. Throughout our days, children would smile, wave, or say hello. Local vendors were very excited to do business with tourists who do not usually come by.