Battambang might not be the most popular destination in Cambodia for tourists, but those that arrive at the northwestern part of the country all feel interested in the interesting “Norris” (or Bamboo Train). To the thrill-seekers, the Bamboo Train is one of the main reasons which urge them to include Battambang in their Cambodia Package Tours.
Bamboo Train in Battambang
This type of transport includes a 3m-long wooden frame connected to the wheels and powered by the tractor engine or the motorcycle. The single bamboo train in Battambang has the capacity of 10 passengers or 3 tons of rice. So, riding in groups is highly recommended.
Known as Norris in the Khmer language, this kind of Bamboo Train is one of most all-time unique rail journeys in the world. But the improvement of roads drives this vehicle to become defunct. At present, this means of transport is mainly used to serve the tourists. From O Dambong, around 3.7km to the east of the local antique French Bridge named Wat Kor, the train moves 7km southeast to the designated O Sra Lav along the twisting rails. The adventure lasts 20 minutes each way. Experiencing the bamboo train turns to be a must to do in Battambang nowadays.
The Interesting Experiences in Battambang Bamboo Train
The great point of this system is that it provides the excellent solution to the unavoidable problem occurred on the single-track line. What to do when the two trains going in the opposite ways meet on that line? With Bamboo Train, this case can be solved easily: one train can be quickly disassembled and moved on the ground alongside the tracks while the other train can pass. There is also a rule applied: the vehicle with the fewer passengers has to cede first.
The majority of tourists and thrill-seekers find the Bamboo Train Tours in Battambang so funny and enthralling that they first try out this activity when reaching the destination. Though there are some governmental plans to rebuild and improve the rail lines which might kill the wooden train, this unique and touristy type of transport is still in the operation, so perhaps there is no rush on the projects.
The foreign guests just need to pay around USD$8 or USD$10/passenger/round to experience the ride. There you find the straw mats laid over the bamboo platform. During the journey, feel free to yell out if you feel excited, enjoy the green and windy landscape, and welcome the enjoyment with a smile. There might appear some local people along the tracks who are walking and then hopping off when your car moves almost upon them. The funny experience becomes the favorite of several thrill-seekers who would love to do it all over again. Often, the stop of the tracks is the local village in which you can continue the journey of cultural discovery. Just have a wander through the Khmer village, and perhaps, you might find some exceptional souvenirs, T-shirts, scarves, etc., to buy.
Regardless of the possible downsides such as the insisted tips for the drivers, the long stop at the village with the pressure to buy something, etc., which causes frustration, the Norris in Battambang is the interesting trait of culture to see in the mysterious Cambodia. Though most of the backpackers and adventurers are not sure about the safety of the ride, they are all sure that this is a big thrill. In general, tipping the drivers is optional but if you treat them well, they will obviously be more friendly than usual. As you know, people are different and we don’t judge a country by an unfriendly driver if any. Be open-minded, give it a try, and you will forever remember the one and only Battambang Bamboo Train!
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