The Bamboo Train

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Battambang, Cambodia

The Bamboo Train Battambang Reviews

DaveSwede DaveSwede
53 reviews
Rickety, Loud and Yet Refreshing Dec 29, 2016
The first stop in Battambang was to the old Norry train station, if you can call it a station, for the Bamboo Train. This 6km/3.75mi section of narrow track is barely resisting the pull to be swallowed back into the wild, having no shortage of uneven rails, wobbles and overgrown bush. It is a single track, yet handles two-way traffic. These 3m/9ft long bamboo decks simply sit on two free-floating axles, are powered by a sputtering lawn mower engine and are throttled by a stick that adjusts the tension on the rubber belt drive. When there’s oncoming traffic, everyone dismounts, the bamboo deck is thrown into the grass, the axles are tossed off the tracks and everyone stands clear as to not be swallowed by the thickets nor hit in the shins by the oncoming locomotive. At the end of the line there is a gauntlet of souvenir shops trying to get you to buy what you don’t need for 15 minutes before the return journey. [2.5km SSE straight line of the ‘Ta Dambong’ traffic circle, +13.068766 / +103.217312]
Bamboo Train - Traffic Jam
Bamboo Train - Passing Lane
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christl3 christl3
171 reviews
Roller Coaster Ride Nov 21, 2012
The Bamboo Train is an authentic Cambodian experience where a flimsy, lightweight bamboo-made board with a motor on the back speeds along at suprising momentum on the old (and presently under construction work) train track from Phnom Penh to the Thai border. Catch this attraction while you still can! Unfortunately, this will soon be gone due to the government's plans to resurrect the obsolete train network. It's bitter sweet really because it's a tragedy that the country's people cannot opt to travel by train when the tracks are already laid. However, when the train begins running again this tourist attraction will take business away from Battambang, it being one of the main tourist attractions. Also, it will take a main mode of convenient transport away from local farmers.

It costs $5 each. You sit on this flat bamboo board which is placed upon two sets of steel wheels and secured with a motor at the back. The 'train' gathers surprising momentum. When another train approaches in the opposite direction (there is only one set of tracks) the least loaded-down train is dismantled and reconstructed all in the space of three minutes. The landscape around the tracks is farmland and rice paddies. Although the view of the countryside is obstructed by the tall grasses growing on either side of the tracks.

You stop off at the next station for fifteen minutes and then begin your journey back to where you started.

I would suggest slathering on the sun cream for those of you whose skin has an aversion to the sun like mine. Maybe bring a hat too!

Also, the ladies and children who work at the station you stop at for fifteen minutes will make you 'jewellery' out of grass reeds. If you don't want to have to feel obligated to give them money, don't accept their jewellery, but a dollar goes further here than at home :) The lady will also encourage you to give the driver of your train a tip AND the station agent, who you pay the train entrance fee to. I suppose you can't tip everyone though!
3 / 3 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Apurva_N says:
Sounds great. :)
Posted on: Sep 27, 2013
trippin_jen says:
Interesting! Would like to do that if I go there... :)
Posted on: Dec 05, 2012

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