Boat Ride from Siem Reap to Battambang

I took the path less traveled & opted for the 9-hour boat journey instead of the usual couple hour bus ride to Battambang.

I met a friend at my hostel in Siem Reap & we decided to travel to Battambang together.

We didn’t know what to expect from the unusual boat option, but we were excited for the journey to come. It seems every travel day in Asia is an adventure, so why not go by boat?At least that’s what I was telling myself whilst scrolling the negative reviews of the boat trip (great) on my phone as the mini van picked us up from the hostel at 6:45 am & drove us to Tonle Sap lake. We boarded a small, simple boat, but just as we go comfortable, we saw another boat pass by with people sitting on the roof & we thought, why not? And climbed to the top of our boat.

We had the best seat in the house- leaned against our backpacks, legs stretched out, sun soaking in & wind in our hair. It was an enlightening next seven hours.

Time flew by as we shared our dreams, what we are looking for in a life partner, work, travel stories & much more. It was refreshing to have real conversation with someone who had similar & contrasting views as me.

While learning about the Not So American American, I also learned about Cambodia. I am amazed by their way life. Their whole entire town (village) is floating. That took me a while to process. Their town is sitting on water. Their town is water. Water is their town. Instead of cars, they have boats…

The river provides everything they need. It is their laundry room, washroom, playground, work zone, school, bathroom & home. People in the floating villages were so friendly. They would smile & wave as we passed by. The kids would jump up & down screaming “helllloooo!”.

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& with any Asian travel day… there’s going to be some hiccups & surprises along the way. Like when our boat got stuck a couple of times & men from the village had to help push us.

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Or when we slowed down just enough for a small boat to pull up next to us & let a monk jump aboard.

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The hours on the top of the boat, soaking in the Cambodian sun, flew by.

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But little did we know, the real Asian-travel-day adventure didn’t begin until after we got off the boat. We climbed off the boat, basically in the middle of nowhere, & stood around for 30 minutes in the blistering hot sun. I didn’t realize how hot I was getting while sitting on top of the boat in the sun for seven hours until we stopped moving. It was like a heat wave slammed into me.

Next we loaded up into the back of the truck for a 1.5 hour drive to town. There weren’t enough seats in the back of the truck for all of us, so I volunteered to sit on top of the bags that were resting on the bed of the truck. I was holding onto the ropes that were holding the bags down, flying around, getting dirt splashed all over my soaked-in-sweat skin, having the time of my life. We would drive full speed through irrigation drains & everyone would slam forward & cuss under their breath as the Not So American American & I would die laughing. Picture Asian driving in the middle of fields… It was nuts.

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Somehow the Not So American American & I seemed to be the only ones getting extremely dirty. You can’t tell in this picture, but my shirt is turning brown & my skin has a glistening layer of sweat & dirt all over it. I guess you can chalk this one up to kids being kids.

This was hands down the most refreshing & delicious can of $1 beer I ever drank.

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After the eventful travel day, we got to Here Be Dragons Hostel in Battambang around 4 pm.

I am glad I didn’t take the reviews I read online into account when booking this journey. The reviews online were all over the place from, “a relaxing day” to “the worst day of my life,” (if that was really the worst day of someone’s life, they aren’t living). This one was one of my favorite travel days. Blame it on dehydration, good company, dirt & everything in between- it was an amazing day.

Goes to prove why you shouldn’t listen to every review. We are all different & we prefer different things. I vote if something sounds interesting to you just get out & do it! You should create your own opinions, stories & memories. Just like someone said, there are no such thing as bad memories, only good memories & good stories.

One thought on “Boat Ride from Siem Reap to Battambang

  1. Phil Carter says:

    Excellent post Norah. I swear, the host of Expedition Unknown also took the boat trip to Battambang. So I got to see film footage of your trip, except the host isn’t as beautiful as you, LOL. Be safe!

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