Ride day 41: Pursat to Battambang
9 August 2016
Waking up from a broken nights sleep to stale fag smoke is not ideal. Luckily there is breakfast and some pool time to look forward to.
As we head down to the buffet breakfast we are sadly once again disappointed by a very weak series of breakfast options. The fruit was as good as it got, and even that was on the spoiled side. I top up my lack of breakfast food with a few sneaky chocolate cookies in the room before heading down to the pool.
The pool certainly didn’t disappoint. A huge 25metre outdoor pool and separate kiddies pool, and other than two young kids we had it all to ourselves for the two hours we were down there. Chilling out in the sunshine reading our books between taking a few dips in the pool to cool off.
We know we only have a short ride for the day, so make the most of a very relaxed morning and push right up to the noon checkout once we’ve showered and dried off and packed up.
By the time we were loaded up on the bikes it was 12:30. We’ve times it perfectly once again to set off in the heart of the intensely hot day. The weather is absolutely beautiful with barely a cloud in the sky.
The road is fairly busy but in great condition allowing for a faster than usual average speed. There are still a fair few minibuses and coaches racing up the road, and they are the worst for leaving very little room when they pass. The scenery of paddy fields and small market towns continues for the first 50 km or so. As we ride out of one of these small market towns, we notice a few small palm tree leaf houses hanging in the trees. I wish I’d stopped for pictures, but had assumed we would see more. Always a mistake not to take the photo when you see it.
As we begin to move away from the river on the run in towards Battambang there is a string of small brick kilns along the roadside. The road itself has been flat all day yesterday and today as it runs along the floodplain floor, but in the distance just beyond Battambang we can see some hills starting to rise up. The cloud is building up near the hills, and it’s going to be touch and go whether we make it to town before the rain hits.
On the outskirts of Battambang town we stop to fill the tanks with the cheapest petrol we’ve seen in Cambodia (2,400 KHR/litre) then ride in in to town. It’s a pretty-looking town centre set alongside the river, and apparently the second largest city in Cambodia by population, although only looks to be a relatively small town.
We head to the hotel we’d checked out online, and are told at reception that they only have “VIP” rooms left available. Booking.com tells a different story, but the attitude of the receptionist has persuaded us to stay elsewhere.
We end up settling on Asia Guest House a kilometre or so away, and apparently both cheaper and closer to the centre with equally good reviews. As we arrive we are expecting a room rate of around $12 per night, but are offered $6, or $8 if we want hot water. We take the hot water room, and then ironically both take a cold shower in an attempt to cool down from the ultra hot ride.
After our showers we take a wander in to town to head to Choco L’art – a very highly rated local cake shop with French / Khmer owners. Unfortunately after walking the kilometre to get there, we find it closed! Argh! We decide as an alternative to walk down to the riverside and find a cafe. As luck would have it, this took us to “The Kitchen” cafe, which had an excellent happy hour with $1 ice cold beers, half price cocktails and $1.50 chicken tacos. No sooner have the first drinks arrived than the skies darken and the torrential rain hits. So the decision is made that we stay put and take full advantage of the 3-7pm ahoy hour (s). Shortly after 8.30pm, completely stuffed and well watered, we head back to the hotel for the night.
Full days route here :