Pick up: at the hostel between 6.30am – 7.15am
Drop off: Battambang boat ramp
There is a few ways to get around in Cambodia but by boat is pretty much only possible in wet season, when rivers and smaller streams are full with water.
You can take a boat from Siem Reap to Battambang or Phnom Penh and visa versa.
I thought it is a great idea to first pick the smaller route to Battambang because a 3h ride on the bus is now a 6-7h boat ride. I booked the trip just one night before in the Hostel. The boat ride is 25$ US (bus would be between 8-12$ US) so this is a commitment.
I had to get up at 6 the next day, this is one of the only two times (I think) hostels are not the best place to stay. Because you can’t really turn the light on or make to much noise, to not wake up your roommates and if you search for something, that sucks. (The second is when you are sick and have to share a bathroom)
Anyway I was downstairs by 6.30 to check out and wait for the bus.
I read about that the boats here in Cambodia often get overloaded with people and that there is no safety standards, so better not look for it.
But that morning I didn’t expect to see the little bus we got picked up with, to look the same. I was one of the last people to get in and the bus was already full but they managed to squeeze 4 more people with backpacks in. All the luggage was stacked on the co drivers seat and behind it. In a row with normally 3 seats we were seated with 5. But I guess that’s a part of my Cambodian adventure right there. It was definitely cozy and I was happy that the weather turned out to be overcast with a bearable temperature.
After a 30 min bus ride we arrived at the ferry pier and got literally surrounded by ladies with big tablets with food. And as always everything is 1$. I bought some bananas and sweet bread just to keep me going on that 6h journey. We were told there would be no stop on the long boat ride but that’s pretty much a lie to sell more. There is a lunch break in one of the many floating villages you drive through.
The boat was no different to the bus… they even placed plastic chairs in the middle to fit all the people.
Luckily it just dribbled and never really started raining but the covers on the side of the boat dripped on me but it didn’t bothered me at all.
We drove through swamp land and thick mangroves, it is really cool till you get smacked in the face by some stupid bushes.
(For the record… Sri Lanka Team, I got swaffeled by nature)
One of the things to do in Cambodia is to visit a floating village. On our way through the lake and to the river we drove through Kaoh Chiveang floating village, so I can now tick that of the box too. It’s interesting to see how people live in all parts of this world and to know how blessed we are each day to travel and see this ourselves.
In one part of the village we had to drop of a local lady and her baby. The place looked first like all the others when the guy behind me realized that the big massive wooden shack in the water next to it, was full of crocodiles. You could see their skin through the small openings between the wooden planks. Unfortunately we left so quickly that I was not able to take a proper photo of it but I got a better chance later in the trip. But yes, I better not fall into the water. Where these come from are very likely more.
On the whole trip we drove through a lot of these villages some bigger and some just a few houses. For one of them it said on my map “Floating village breeding crocodiles”, now we know where these villagers get their protein from because there is no place to have any cows etc.. I realized there are way more of these floating shacks then I saw in the first place. But one thing all of these villages had in common, all the little kids waved with so much enthusiasm at us, it brought a smile to my face.
Short before 11 the sun came out and everything looked so much more colorful. The trip seamed to have no end but our driver always knew to “entertain” his passengers. Without any warning he drove a short cut through the mangroves. It’s nature swaffelen time again.
11:35 break in another floating village and short after 12 we continued our trip. Again we ended up somewhere in the swamp land and I had to use my life west as a shield. It was really funny but the amount of spiders and other crawling things than I found on me afterwards was not. This ride is an adventure and is definitely on my list of recommendations when you wanna see floating villages and do a fun boat ride.
After I did this I would for pick a short bus ride over a 7h boat ride for the next trip any day, but for the fun of it, I would recommend it to anyone because I’m glad I made this experience.
We arrived at 3pm in Battambang.
If you need a reliable tuk tuk driver call Wattana, his number 089793339 (around 15$/day)