As mentioned previously, we arranged to go out with a tuk tuk driver for the day. There appeared to be some sort of turf war going on with the drivers as we met our driver on the way back to our hotel.
We said that we would go back to drop off a few things but he told us that we would have to go with another driver if we went back to the hotel and that he could only take us out in the afternoon.
Instead, we just said that we’d go with the original driver and stick with him for the full day. We liked him, he was a bit older and seemed a nice guy and it turned out that he was a really good driver and very informative.
During the day, he was talking to us about working for the Khmer rouge and what life was like while they were in charge of Cambodia.
The first part of the day was to a crocodile farm. The crocs are bred for the meat and for their skin. I know Jimmy Nail once sang about crocodile shoes, as well as the shoes, lots of other things are made from crocodile.
And they do taste quite good as well – I tried some in Nha Trang (Vietnam).
The farm itself had a large amount of what looked like sleeping crocodiles. Our tuk tuk driver came into the farm with us and he grabbed some leaves off a tree and threw them into the crocodile enclousure. At this point, we realised that they were not asleep.
They were very much awake as the leaves landing triggered a mass reaction from them. Maybe about 20 crocs all jumped up and started snapping at the leaves.
From there, we went to the fighting fish. It’s fish that are bred to fight with one another. Often the fish are from the same family. When they are at an age that they are ready to fight, they are separated and put into jars on their own. The jars sit side by side but they have a board placed between them so that the fish can’t see each other.
Over time, they forget that they are related and are quite happy to get into a fight with their relatives. They are put into a jar together and left to fight. The fight ends when one ‘runs away’ from the other.
The loser of the fight is then deemed surpluss to requirements and will be put into a river or someone may take it away as a pet.
The fights can last up to three hours and the local guys who watch these fights also bet on them and they seem to smoke a lot of cigarettes during the fights. Perhaps is stressful to watch ?
After the fish, we were back in the tuk tuk and went to visit the bamboo train or the ‘norri’ as it’s known locally.
The bamboo train is a wooden platform made from bamboo and it’s powered with a small motorbike engine and it runs along the old abandoned train lines. As the train lines are abandonded, nobody is responsible for maintenance so the tracks aren’t 100% straight and there’s sometimes small gaps in the track.
You feel these as the norri bounces over it. The part that we went to is purely for tourists but the bamboo trains are used by local people in other parts of the country.
The best part is when there is another train travelling in the opposite direction. The one with the least amount on it is dismantled and taken off the track to allow the other to pass.
After the bumpy train on the bumpy track it was back to the bumpy tuk tuk to the next site. This was an old Buddhist temple at the top of a lot of stairs. We planned this one quite well though, we had some lunch before we tackled the stairs.
The walk itself is nothing exciting, it’s more like a work out. You walk up a lot of stairs in 30 odd degree heat. At the top, the old temple ruins are there and as you walk around them, you can look down on the stairs that tried to kill you not so long ago.
The rest of the day, we went to see a tree that had some fruit bats living in it and we went to see another temple, the killing caves, some monkeys and some more bats.