Siem Reap > Battambang (by boat)

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Today we are going from Siem Reap to Battambang by boat. It’s more expensive than the bus but the view is a lot more interesting. First we caught a tuck-tuck from the guesthouse until Phnom Krom where the boats are and then enjoyed a 6-7 hours cruise through Tonlé Sap lake and on the Sangker river. Once in Battambang, we spent the rest of the afternoon visiting some temples and the surroundings like the very touristy “bamboo train”.

Map.

Short video.

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Back to this morning, 7:30am.

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We are waiting for other people to come and pretty soon we should be going.

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The journey starts.

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For now we are on the first portion of the river before the lake. This is the end of the rainy season so that’s why everything look flooded.

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Bushes are all other the place like patchwork.

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The boat could certainly go anywhere here unless it’s not that deep.

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Looking at this tree, the depth might be something like 2 metres or less.

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We reached the lake :-)


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And a moment later we arrived at the entrance of the Sangker river. I didn’t take any pictures of the lake because it was so big there was nothing to see really.

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We reached the first village along the river.

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There is big fluffy clouds on the background and fairly nice blue sky.

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Some people seems to live on the river but not attached to the same place all the time.

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This might be nice to live here. You can swim anytime you want and feel fresh. You can fish from the deck of your place (even when reading a book at the same time). Life seems to be very relax here.

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I would prefer being poor here than in the center of a busy city. Hey, and if you don’t like your neighbour you can just pull your house a bit further ;-) I’m not sure if those houses are completely floating or if they touch the ground somehow.

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Long tale boat, same style as the ones I’ve seen in South-west Thailand.

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We might be close to the center of the village now.

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That’s a huge temple.

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Judging the construction and the big trees behind, this one is not floating.

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This is not a tiny village.

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Looks like they live in the middle of the bush but still, looks like everyone has a TV receptor.

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The end of the village.

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I’m on the roof :-) The view is seriously nice from here. So much open space!

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Again, those bushes around.

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Another village already.

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Sometimes the boat slows down and call people who need a ride. This is a tourist boat but also a “school boat”.

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It’s certainly interesting to see this same place during the end of the dry season. People might be able to walk around maybe, or maybe not.

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There is some activity over there.

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Very colourful place.

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This could be an island behind those houses.

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Last house of this second village.

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Some fishing infrastructures.

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Wow, so open, so clear, so blue, so hot, very nice :-)

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Rain, please, be nice with us.

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That’s another temple other their.

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This woman has reached her place.

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That place :-)

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And we keep on going.

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“The ship of life in Cambodia”. Ok, why not.

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Quite tidy here.

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Some other fishing infrastructure.

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From what I understand, the net is attached to the four wooden branches (on the left hand side). The whole triangular structure can rotate horizontally to allow the fishing net to dive. Once fish are captured, someone or several people pull the ropes to raise the fishing net and collect the fish.

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Some people are fishing, some others are moving along the river. They is plenty of activity here.

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This one is a nomad, I’m pretty sure :-)

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Few isolated houses around.

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A floating mosque. Not really. Looking at the stairs, these constructions touch definitely the ground.

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Top view from the roof.

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Back view.

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The crew keeps our luggages under this blue tarp to protect them from the rain.

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We have a tale boat as well :-)

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I’m surprised there is not more people coming up here. Yes, it’s quite hot but well protected it’s fine.

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Some more nomads.

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This family even have a solar panel.

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Wow, suddenly the landscape changed.

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Apparently the driver took a shortcut. Looking at the map, we are not even on the river.

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This “tracks” is certainly open only during the high rainy season.

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A moment later, we reached the main river again and stopped for lunch.


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Something like 20 minutes later we are back on track.

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Another shortcut? certainly.

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The driver is so experienced, he doesn’t even have to look front to see where he is going. No problem :-)

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Some other nomads (That’s my guess).

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Looks like there is rice fields here.

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Is it? The water level must be very low then.

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Finally, a view from the inside :-)

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More we go forward and more the river becomes narrow.

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Finally we reached the main river again. Looks like we took several shortcuts along the way. We are not far from the city.


As soon as we arrived, an army of taxi drivers waited for us. The boat stopped next to a tiny port (if I can call it like this). The taxi drivers came down stairs and even inside the boat to ask where people were going. Having small luggages, we could avoid them until we reached the top of the stairs where more tuck-tuck and taxi drivers were waiting. Someone came to us and pulled a paper with our name on it. That was surprising. I didn’t expect that. He said he was here to pick us up and bring us to our hotel.

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This is how we met Vany, the guide who is driving us to our hotel and with who we will visit battambang for the rest of the afternoon. Vany speaks Khmer, English and French.


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Once the hotel stuff was done, we met Vany again. First stop was a temple. Khmer temples have a lot in common with Thai temples.

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Flowers.

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Different sculptures are exposed in this garden.

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I don’t remember the story about those unfortunately…


Short Bamboo train video.

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Then Vany drove us to the “Bamboo train”. That’s a one hour trip (return) for 5$ per person using those wooden frames covered with bamboo. French people built this track a while ago. Today it’s used only for tourism purpose.

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Hello.

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Here we go.

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The system is very basic: Two sets of wheels, a platform and an engine. The driver pull the engine back using a piece of wood to stretch the belt which activates the wheels.

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That’s the whole system here.

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We are following someone. This is a two ways tracks so many times when someone came front of us we had to decide who take off their “train” to let the other group continue. The trip is quite bumpy and noisy because the rails are old and deformed but that’s what makes it kind of unique. At the end of the track, we ended in another “train station” right in the middle of shops. Sellers waited for tourists impatiently. I felt it was a kind of trap but whatever the experience was okay.


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Finally, Vany is driving us back to the hotel. We will meet again tomorrow for another tour around Battambang.

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There is some paragliders just front of us.

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There is a little bit of traffic now ;-) See you tomorrow then!

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