Pack Light, Travel Often travel blog

A strangely quiet town that has more phone shops than supermarkets, yet offers some of the most unique and wonderful experiences.

We arrive at midday and are claimed by a tuktuk driver called Yaya. With him we arrange our stops for the day and he throws in a complimentary tour of the town. Which would have been fine had it not been for the sweltering heat and the unscheduled stops he would make, in the middle of a roundabout for example. But we do learn about the history of Battambang.

He takes us first to ride the bamboo train. I had expected a slow paced, short ride along the old railway line. In fact, we end up hurtling through the countryside for 14km, getting caught in small whirlwinds as we stop for trains coming in the other direction. Feeling exhilarated and a little unsafe, I keep laughing to myself.

After another history lesson from Yaya, we are taken to Mount ... Winding up the side of a mountain on the back of a motorbike, the views are stunning. I visit the Killing Caves where I learn more of the barbaric actions of the Khmer Rouge. Walking beyond the collections of skeletons, I am guided further down into the cave. Here I catch my first glimpse of the Asian Wrinkled-Nose Bats...sleeping for now. Higher up the mountain sits a temple, where families of baboons have made their home and hundreds of dragonflies dance in the sky above. I could have stayed up there for hours but a much greater spectacle awaited me back down the mountain.

As the sun begins to set, you can hear the bats stirring inside their cave. They screech and flap their wings until suddenly they begin to pour out of the entrance. Millions of bats take flight. They swarm together across the fields as they head out to hunt. This remarkable spectacle lasts for about 20 minutes. I remain giddy throughout. "Oh my Buddha!" as Yaya would say. This has been such an exciting day.

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