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Text and pictures by Bernhard Heiser

    Part 11:  Train to Kampot  -  A bike trip on Bokor Mountain
It's 5:15 am when the alarm clock in my mobile starts ringing. Uuhh, do we really have to get up so early? Well, I haven't packed yet and we want to have breakfast before we leave. Where is Sokun, did he forget our appoitment? At 6:30 we take two other motos and drive to the railway station. While riding down Sisowath Quai, we enyjoy an amazing sunrise. Not too bad to be up early! At the station we don't waste time and buy our tickets to Kampot. There is only a single car and no engine at the platform, but this is supposed to be the right train.
We go inside and wait for something to happen. But, you guess right, nothing happens until 8am, when some cargo cars are linked to ours. Slowly we begin to move out of Phnom Penh through the southern slums.

This car must be one of the first raiway cars that have ever been buildt. Everything is broken or dirty, or both. Some Cambodians prefer to use their hammocks. They can easily be fixed after simply breaking off a piece from the paneling. Nobody really needs a paneling, right?

The big advantage of a trainride is: you have space and you can walk around. Using the backpack as a backrest it is quite comfortable to sit on the wooden benches. The small boy is a perfect imitator of a gecko and we have much fun.
In some stations we have to wait long time. Our train gets longer and longer, more cars with chicken and pigs are added. A good opportunity to get off, have a cold drink and take some photos.
The best view is of course from the rooftop. Later in the afternoon the sun is less strong and the landscape is set into a fascinating light. It's great fun to have a walk over the roofs of the driving train. When I jump from car to car I am reminded on a western movie and I feel like trainrobber escaping from the sheriff. Well, at least there is no shooting here...
Sometimes when we cross the road to the south I whish we had a faster vehicle. The ride seems to be endless. The poor guys who have to do all the way to Sihanoukville by train...

Finally, eight hours after we left Phnom Penh, we reach Kampot. We take two motorbikes taxis to the Mealy Chenda guesthouse.

Now is just the right time for a sunset walk on the riverside. Left-hand of the bridge there is a little park with beautiful views over the river.

Nothing seems to has changed here in Kampot since my last visit three years ago. The girls in the mainstreet in the evening still sell their sweets with planed icecubes and sweet milk, delicious!

Today we want to visit the abandoned city on Bokor mountain. 8 am, our motorbikes are delivered just in time at our guesthouse. 5$ entry fee for the Bokor nature park, thats quite expensive. For that we get a real bad road with many stones and potholes, so the ride up the mountain never gets boring. On the top it is a bit chilly, but even on the bike I don't need my warm jacket.
The first stop is at King Sihanouk's summer residence, that was never used. We continue to an old church and the huge hotel on the mountain top. Everything is covered by mildews, the orange colour looks good from the distance. The view along the coastline with all the low clouds is amazing. We have a break at a waterfall in a valley at the back of Bokor mountain, before we return down to Kampot.

The travelogue is continued in Battambang, where we arrive after stops in Sihanoukville and again in Phnom Penh.


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