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“You have to do it”
Review of Bamboo Train - CLOSED

Bamboo Train
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Owner description: Welcome to Bamboo train Battambang !
Reviewed 9 July 2014

When the roads were impossible not that long ago, 600 miles of single track rail was laid to transport people and goods. A policeman will greet you and a ticket person sell you a ticket. You take a 20 minute rude each way with a dreadful tourist trap at the other end. Visit the brick making factory instead of the shops.

1  Thank Lynne S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,202 - 1,206 of 2,313 reviews

Reviewed 8 July 2014

This is a must try if you are in/near Battambag! Pretty much a rollercoaster ride with a better view. At the end there is a few shops and some kids that want to sell you bracelets, not nearly as pushy as others have suggested.

Only downside is that the drivers hardly get any money, so remember to tip.

You should go late noon when the light is prettiest.

Thank Jannek E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 July 2014

At $5 per head its a bit of a rip off and the lady owner is surely one of the Cambodians driving around in a Range Rover but it's one of those things that you'll only ever get to do once, esp in Cambodia. This thing goes at around 40kms per hour so hold on to your hat and keep your mouth closed for when you hit that cloud of bugs hovering over the tracks! My wife had just put on suntan lotion and had bugs stuck all over her face! It was obviously not our drivers turn to fang up the tracks and he was a bit cranky. At the other end there were the typical shacks full of tourist junk and the inevitable kids trying to flog you stuff, one of which got very cranky when we wouldn't buy anything, quite amusing but we're always very polite when we say 'No thanks'. We turned the trip around as fast as possible and the lady whose hut we stopped closest to was quite disappointed with our lack of purchases. However, the almost new Toyota Camry parked out the back indicated that she must be doing pretty well :-) They were all pretty up front about advising us to tip the train driver as he was apparently very poor but I'd guess he was probably related in some way. So do it before they close it, enjoy the ride, bumpy as hell but fun and endure the tourist trap at the end.

Thank TheEddiesduo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 July 2014

I was very disappointed about this. I am glad I combined this with visit to other places in a day trip.
I paid USD 10 for the ride, which is a lot for anything in Cambodia. The ride itself is a fairly fun experience, but so disappointing that you cannot see anything of the landscape, as you are riding with high bushes on both sides.
You come to the end, which I was told was a village, but it is really just 8 shops put up for the tourist, and you will have 10 adults and 20 children trying to sell you things (and begging).
So not authentic and not worth it.

4  Thank Jesper R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 July 2014

The review is longer than usual, but our trip was slightly different so hopefully it will be a worthwhile read.

I visited the Bamboo train (also known as Norry) near O’Dambong village on 26/06/14. As mentioned in previous reviews there is a non-negotiable $5 entry fee, per passenger. The person that welcomed us and escorted us to our train volunteered to take a photo (using our own cameras) before we set out. The “train” is actually a platform made up of bamboo sitting on a wooden frame, powered by a small engine and a fan belt. Make sure you have some cushions to sit on – the ride is bumpy!

Bear in mind you are in the Cambodian countryside, it is worth bringing the following:

Insect repellent
Hat (there is a chance this may fly off at high speeds, so consider bringing something to secure it)

The unique part of a ride is watching the trains stop while both drivers disassemble one of them to allow the other to pass. Based on most of the reviews the convention appears to be the train with the least passengers is the one that needs to be disassembled, however our driver convinced every train we encountered on the way up to disassemble to allow us (2 passengers) to pass! It was possible to catch glimpses of the countryside where there were breaks in the high vegetation.

The journey of around 6km lasts roughly 20 minutes one way and you stop in a small village where you are able to buy drinks/snacks, and will encounter a number of children who were extremely keen to sell handmade bracelets. Contrary to some of the reviews here, purchasing something is not mandatory, but be prepared for the “hard sell”. If you would prefer to see more than souvenir shops, your options are as follows:

On the right hand side before the village shops is a brick factory, where one of the villagers kindly showed us a machine used to shape clay into bricks, which were then stacked in traditional kilns, up to 10,000 at a time, and baked for 3 weeks.

A 2 minute walk along the track past the shops will take you to a rice milling factory, which is on the right hand side after the village. Previous reviews assert that the villagers survive off the tourist trade however one of the locals informed me that the villagers’ main source of income comes from selling bricks and rice.

The track beyond the rice milling factory appears overgrown, however after a chat with the driver he agreed to take us further along the track to the next stop (for an additional $5 each). The 6km journey took another 20 minutes where instead of other trains on the tracks we encountered kids, cows and chickens. Eventually we reached the shell of a building that according to our driver, used to be a station. He explained that the surrounding village used to be a commuter town for people working in Phnom Penh, until the station was bombed by the Khmer Rouge. Needless to say it has not been rebuilt.

Regarding the $5 fee, our driver informed us that the drivers receive $1.50 per passenger. If this is true it seems to be a pretty bad deal for the train drivers, however I’m sure we could have negotiated harder regarding the additional $5, as we paid this directly to the driver.

Thankfully we visited the Bamboo train on a cloudy day so didn’t get slow roasted. Overall a unique experience, which although expensive by Cambodian standards offers a way to experience first-hand how some Cambodian’s used to travel.

If you are considering visiting the Bamboo train I would advise establishing with the “tourist police” before setting out if the drivers are supposed to take you past the “souvenir village” to the old railway station, and if so whether or not this is covered by the relatively expensive $5 entry fee. Negotiating may be easier for larger groups.

5  Thank dmistry22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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