Day 58: Kampot > Phnom Penh
All aboard the Choo Choo!
Fashionably late, we think, (there was no solid timetable), our Royal Railways train arrives and we depart on the 6 hour journey to Phnom Penh. Only recently re-opened and running only on weekends and holidays — we thought this would be a more comfortable way to travel, seeing the beautiful countryside and experiencing the revived retro railway.
Oh, how we were wrong! Uncomfortable is a bit of an understatement... and the food trolley only served the most disgustingly smelly pot of noodles (that lingered in the air until the next person ordered a ‘fresh’ one)... after the 3rd hour we we were beginning to think we should’ve got the bus (which was actually faster!).
But mid way through the journey, our carriage stops. With no announcements, they swing open the doors and we’re all free to roam the fields. We welcomed the fresh air, stretch of our legs and beautiful surroundings. I think there was a breakdown on the track ahead of us, but after an hour halt a big cargo train pulls past and we're on our way.
On the outskirts of Phnom Penh, we pass hundreds of makeshift urban settlements on the dust roads literally right next to the rail tracks. It was really sad to see the homes people are living in, the poverty and unsanitary conditions they’re exposed to. Families had even settled in the old abandoned train carriages. We really shouldn’t moan about our train carriage. We are lucky.
Looking back on the day I vividly remember my sore bum and the rancid noodle smell. But I also remember the epic limestone mountains, wooden stilt houses, children playing happily, paddy fields, banana plantations, and sooo many sky-high palm trees. It was definitely an experience. But if we could’ve done it all in an hour or so I think that would’ve been better.
Gav's day 58 takeaway
- Remember the ordeal I had trying to get these train tickets on day 55? Tickets I did eventually get on day 56. Yeah well don't bother next time, just get the bus.