Fun on the tracks and a million bats

Yes, I spend most of the day thinking up daily titles for the blog.

Invested most of the morning farting around Battambang: saw the market, the riverfront, the French "colonial gems"...

First thing this afternoon we got on our arranged tuk-tuk tour. First visit was the bamboo train. Possibly the most fun you can have on rails without becoming a trainspotter. The old narrow-gauge tracks have been maintained for a few kilometres and you ride to one station and back on a contraption made of bamboo and wood on wheels with a small motors. Apparently in the 70s the track was used extensively with these "trains" (powered by hand) as the roads were a mess, and in the 80s they introduced the motors.

We got on our pillows and were shuttled at what felt like break-neck speed down the track. Soon we saw another bamboo train off the tracks. Great, we thought, they actually fly off the rails. However the passengers seemed pretty cool about it, and nobody seemed to be bleeding. It took us a couple more to realise they were actually trains coming back in the other direction which had been removed from the track to let us pass.

Second and final stop was Phnom Sampeau, a hill outside Battambang which was a strategic stronghold for the Khmer Rouge. A temple on the hill had been converted into a jail and next door were some caves where thousands of bodies had been dumped. Further up the hill were a few more temples but we didn't reach them as we had to get back down. At 18:00 sharp (actually 5 minutes before) a million bats started coming out of a different cave at the base of the hill. Quite an amazing sight. They are small bats which feast on insects for the night in the wooded areas and then return.

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