Saturday, April 3, 2010

the Boat ride to Battambang

Friday morning I woke up very early and left Siem Reap to catch the boat to Battambang as recommended by lonely planet as "one of the most scenic boat trips around cambodia". I have learnt on my travels to pretty much ignore the majority of recommendations in LP books - they are mostly just useful for the maps (which are frequently wrong anyway) and to find out what activities are around the different towns.

The boys I'd met in 4000 islands had done the same trip (in reverse) from battambang to Siem Reap and had pre-warned me that the likelihood of me getting stuck was high as their boat had gotten stuck and everyone had to jump out to push. Thankfully that didn't happen to us. The state of the water is absolutely filthy, nasty nasty smell - didn't really want to have to get into it! It was very shallow though - a few times you could tell that the bottom of the boat was dragging along the bottom of the river!

As we were riding along the river, there are kids swimming on the side of the banks having an absolute blast of a time with the wake of the boat causing waves. They were jumping around doing somersaults and everything, yelling and screaming and laughing and saying hello. Very cute.

I have to laugh at some things here in Cambodia. For example, the men will often walk around wearing just a towel - any hour of the day. On our boat trip we stopped at a little shop on the side of the river and all transactions were made with the owner in his little towel smoking a cigarette... impressive ;)

During wet season, the river increases in height by up to 6m I believe - the houses that are permanent structures (there are floating villages as well) are on these stilts, some of which are miles and miles above land!

Battambang itself is a quiet little town - not too much happening there. There are some interesting sights outside though which I explored yesterday with some friends. Its funny how you end up meeting up again with people you didn't expect to see again.

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