One of the biggest draws to Cambodia’s second largest city is the Battambang Bamboo train. Now a glorified tourist attraction, the train gives an insight of how people used to transport goods from Battambang to Phnom Penh.
A massive sigh of relief rippled across Cambodia when in January, the government had finally announced that the bamboo train was back on the track and being re-established in a different area after operations were stopped in its original location. As of 2020 the Battambang Bamboo train is open for daring riders!!!!
Getting to the Bamboo Train
You can simply hire a tuk-tuk to get to the Bamboo train. The GRAB app doesn’t work in Battambang yet, but the PASS app does. You can also book through your hostel or hotel. I managed to share with 3 other travellers, keeping the tuk-tuk cost down.
See my Cambodia Travel tips for more advice.
Battambang Bamboo Train tours
If you’d like to book it online as part of a tour, I recommend one of these tours with Viator Travel which pick up from your Battambang Hotel…
- Afternoon tour by tuk-tuk to bamboo train, countryside, killing cave and bat cave
- Morning half day tour to Bamboo Train, countryside, handicrafts, test local snacks
What is a Bamboo Train?!?
Known as a ‘norry’ in Khmer (the language of Cambodia), the train entails of a small bamboo platform which is covered with a mat and a few slim cushions to sit on. This sits on two sets of ‘bogies’ with a motor at the back. A pole made out of wood is used as both the accelerator and brakes, with the train hitting speeds of around 50km/h. A truly hair-raising ride.
Riding the Battambang Bamboo Train
There’s no doubt about it – riding on the Bamboo train was sooooooooo much fun!
It was lovely to feel the breeze on your face in the 37 heat and it was surprisingly more comfortable than I expected. One girl on our train lost her hat, and so you can imagine that it does feel like it’s going at quite a speed!
The most hilarious thing was that it’s only got one track that is used for both directions. When you approach another Bamboo train you fear a head on collision, but instead the drivers use their stick to slow down the train and bring it to a halt. Then, both drivers get off and remove the lightest loaded train from the track, followed by it’s wheels!!!!
You go quite a way and then you will stop off for a drink (extra cost of around $1) and the opportunity to buy souvenirs such as bracelets and T-Shirts.
The cost of riding the Bamboo train is $5 each and then you will be asked for tips for the driver at the end.
If you’re travelling in Cambodia, you might want to read…
- 11 Crazy Travel Cambodia Stories
- Things to do in Battambang
- What is the best time to travel Cambodia?
- Backpacking Cambodia Guide
- Planning the Perfect Cambodia Itinerary
- Siem Reap to Battambang
- Visiting Phnom Sampeau
- Solo female travel Cambodia
What to Pack for Cambodia
Take light cotton tops, long comfortable trousers and maxi dresses that cover your shoulders. Thailand is a conservative Buddhist county and you are likely to be refused entry to top sites like the Phnom Penh Royal Palace and Angkor Wat with shoulders showing and shorts or short skirts. You can pack shorts and vest tops for hanging around your hotel or the pool.
Pack a water bottle because many guest houses are eco friendly and have a refill and reuse policy to cut down on plastic waste. The drinking water is fine and many hotels supply cold purified drinking water.
Bugs bite particularly in the evenings in Cambodia and so a bug repellant is essential. Also the sun can get hot – this Christmas and New Year temperatures were exceeding 32 degrees and so sun screen is another essential.