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Bats In Battambang

Our last stop in Cambodia was Battambang. After that we would head back to Bangkok and end our Asia tour after nearly 9 months on the road beginning from Japan. But before leaving, Asia gave us one last hurrah with a few crazy stories and events.


We decided to take a tour of the area by hiring a tuk tuk driver for the day. He started by taking us to the famous bamboo train, which essentially is an old railroad that was used to transport goods but is now a tourist attraction. You get to ride on a bamboo cart and go about 50km/hr down a track – not bad! That is, until it started pouring, and we had no umbrella…Oh well, it was fun.


Afterwards, we decided to get to know our driver a bit better. It was almost as if he had been selected especially for us. For starters, he spoke Russian – a product of growing up in Cambodia in the 1970s. He had one of the most tragic histories we’ve ever heard. He lost both of his parents during the genocide. His father was a soldier for the previous government, and as a result executed when the Khmer Rouge came to power. His mother caught a sickness and passed away in the hospital. He recalled lying in bed with his dead mother overnight as he was now an orphan and has no where else to go. Somehow, he managed to survive with his younger sister.Β He took us to a spot in Battambang where executions were held, pointing to various places on the rock that were still stained with blood and talking about his experiences of having to evacuate Phnom Penh and leave to the countryside. After all we’d seen in Phnom Penh, it was really special to be able to take this tour with someone who actually lived through it all.


Surprisingly, the tour took a turn from somber to amazement as we approached a bat cave and waited for their nightly exit. Apparently, every evening around 5PM all the bats exit the cave in search of food. Quite suddenly, they just took off. At first, there were hundreds of them, and I was beginning to wonder how long this would go on for. I asked our tour guide how many bats he thought it was and he said around a million. I figured he just didn’t really know our number system, but then I asked how long it went on for and he said an hour. I thought for a minute, and the rate of bats I was seeing exit times a whole hour would probably be about a million bats! We hung around for 20 minutes and decided it was best to head out before it got too dark. As we drove away you could see the swarm of bats envelope the air – insane.




Finally, to end the night, we went to an acrobatic show in the area, which is run by a local NGO. Entertainment AND a good cause! This is the kind of stuff that makes me think “only in Asia…”

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10 Responses to Bats In Battambang

  1. Thank you for wonderful story.
    And you are looking great with the Cambodian man on the background πŸ™‚

    We are waiting for more stories.

    Gadi & Tun July 20, 2013 at 6:58 AM Reply
  2. Great post guys!

    Chris July 20, 2013 at 12:23 PM Reply
  3. Looks like you guys are having a great time in Cambodia. Pictures are amazing.

    Shalu Sharma July 21, 2013 at 8:18 AM Reply
  4. Hey you two,
    Thanks again for sharing more of your travels – this is a interesting post, and isn’t it amazing how you can just “happen” to bump into the person you need to meet – to walk you through some history.
    What a sad story, but how fantastic he shared it with you!

    Jon July 22, 2013 at 11:23 AM Reply
  5. Hi Dave and Vicky,

    Looks like you guys had fun in Cambodia. I haven’t visited Battambang yet but boyfriend and I are planning to go backpack in Siem Reap soonish.

    Thanks for sharing guys!

    Jane Lagdameo July 24, 2013 at 9:18 AM Reply
  6. Sounds like you had fun with all the heavy rain πŸ™‚ Only in Asia you can experience that hehehe πŸ˜‰ Thank you for this nice story.

    Ria Dancel July 27, 2013 at 10:56 AM Reply

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