Battambang bats, caves and volunteering
Many people don’t know it, but Battambang is Cambodia’s second most populous city. Youwouldn’t say however when wandering around town. Not that it was deserted, but one wouldexpect the place to be packed with Khmer people. My busride from Siem Reap to Battambang took 4,5h. Alex instead took the slowboat. A ridethat ‘should’ take 7-8 hours, but because the water in the river was too low, the boat got stuck on the sandbanks several times. All men had to help to push it back into the water which made it only arriving after 12 hours! Well, it was hot, so they could sunbathe and enjoy the scenery along the river We started the day with walking to the deserted trainstation. We saw traintracks coveredwith grass and moss and many people living along the railtracks in poor conditions. It’sbeen a while that there are no trains running in Cambodia, but rumors go that thegouvernment will reinstate the traintracks and get trains riding again. I truly wonder what will happen to those living along it now?
Later that day, we hired a tuk-tuk to drive us to a few places. In one of the temples (Wat Phnom Sapou) should be a killing cave, simular to the killing fields in Phnom Phen but then in a cave. Unfortunately we didn’t managed to find it :-pWe DID find the batcave! About 100 metres up a giant rock Buddha face, there is a cavewhere it’s said live tens of thousands of bats. And every day around 5h30 they leave thecave in search for food. It was an amazing sight!
For our last day in Battambang we did (by motorbike of course) 2 more temples. The Wat Banan, the so-called mini-Angkor Wat (if you’ve seen the real thing, you won’t be thatimpressed) and Wat Ek Phnom (was much more impressive for me). The road runs along lovelysmall rivers flanked by trees and small villages making it a nice bike ride. In Wat EkPhnom we were followed by a few small children. Not selling us anything, they just wantedto play with us 😀
On the way to Wat Ek Phnom, we passed one of the few wineries that Cambodia has. For only 2 USD you have 4 tasters: a brandy, a glass of wine and 2 juices. Not bad, not bad
Volunteering in Bospo Village
Traveling here, in South-east Asia made me realise how lucky I am to have grown up in aWestern country. Thank you mom and dad to have immigrated to Belgium!I loved the Khmer people so much that I wanted to do something for them. After some online research I found a ngo in a small village not far from Battambang that was looking for volunteer teachers. I have zero teachingskills and I’m not a native English speaker, but I thought that my English was good enough to help improving the childrens’ English a little bit. At the end I even helped out in maths! That week in Bospo was for sure one of the highlights during this trip! I had a lot of fun and I hope the children felt the same ànd that I was able to teach them something.
Bospo Village is also the place to go if you want to do the bamboo train. I really didn’tthink about doing it, but while we were wandering in the village we passed the railtracks. We saw it as a sign that we must try it It’s cool to see how they made those abandoned railtracks usefull again.
And so with this great experience I’m ending my Cambodian adventure. Khmer people, I will never forget you!