Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hop on Cambodia’s (very) light rail

As we hurtle down Cambodia’s decrepit train tracks on a bamboo platform the size of a billiards table, another car rushes in our direction, crammed with 17 passengers returning from marshy rice fields after a day of labour. Their trouser legs are still wet.

Green rice fields stretch out on either side. This is public transportation in parts of Cambodia, and it has become one of the the biggest tourism draw in Battambang, a town a few hours south-west of the temples of Angkor Wat.

Decades of slow and unreliable train service prompted Cambodians to make their own use of the tracks and hundreds of illegal “bamboo trains” now run along the single-lane, 596km-line, that begins near the Thai border in north-west Cambodia, extends east through Battambang to Phnom Penh, then runs south to the coastal port of Sihanoukville.

“There’s only one in the whole world,” a Battambang tour guide, known as Tap Tin Tin says, while escorting a Dutch family of five along the bamboo railway. “You see it transporting tourists, but it’s very useful for the Cambodians to carry rice or bring a cow or pig to slaughter in town.”

more info-->>Hop on Cambodia’s (very) light rail - The National Newspaper
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