Hello and welcome here today in Cambodia, precisely from the Sihanoukville train station.
I'm excited to have you join me on this train journey through Cambodia today.
You can find all important information like ticket prices and schedules, which can change regularly, in the blog post.
The link is posted above.
For a long time, it was not possible to travel through Cambodia by train, so I am all the more excited to be starting on the journey today.
Currently you can go by train from Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh to the north, in the direction of Battambang and further via Sisofon all the way to Poipet on the Thai border.
There is a shuttle train going directly from Phnom Penh main station to the airport.
The southern route runs from Phnom Penh right here to Sihanoukville.
At the moment I'm here because I just bought a train ticket over the counter, which is very easy to do.
However, you could also book your train tickets on the internet.
As I was already here, I could take a first look around.
There are many exciting things to see here: On this train from Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh you can take with you all sorts of things, including motorcycles, mobile market stalls and even broken cars.
Here you can see someone really struggling to haul this old car onto the waggon.
As soon as everything's successfully loaded onto the train, it can depart on time.
Personally, I'll be staying another night here and getting up really early in the morning to catch the train to Phnom Penh, which departs at 7 a.
The morning is saved – I have found some coffee, wrapped in lots of plastic and containing lots of sugar, as it is typical here.
But after a night like this, I couldn't care less.
It takes another 20 minutes before we depart.
By the way, our train looks a little different than it did yesterday.
There are now noticeably more waggons attached: 1, 2, 3, 4.
If you have booked your ticket online you will find that still, this doesn't match up with your booking.
We are leaving Sihanoukville at a leisurely pace.
I've already been scolded for opening up a window although the train comes with an aircon.
I guess the conductor will get a little angry with me a few more times.
This will become a good friendship in the next hours until we arrive at Phnom Penh.
The rice has already been harvested here, but it will surely look interesting, driving through green rice fields to the north.
By the way, the distance between Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh is 266 km and the trains take almost exactly seven hours to go from one city to the other.
The journey takes us through rice fields, and past cows and sometimes it is not that exciting.
We had a short stop in Takeo where you could get something to eat from food stalls, if you wanted to.
And then, we simply departed 15 minutes earlier than scheduled.
This resulted in us arriving 30 minutes early in Phnom Penh.
The last around 20 km on the way are absolutely fascinating.
You are really immersed by the big-city moloch, going through narrow alleys with little space left between the houses and the train.
Shortly before our arrival in Phnom Penh we can see the workshops and the ruined waggons in front of them.
Between 2009 and 2013 there was no railway traffic in Cambodia.
The rails and waggons were badly affected by the terror reign of the Khmer Rouge.
For a long time the service was maintained provisionally.
The trains got attacked regularly and were delayed for hours, if they did arrive at all.
Since 2013 freight trains are running again between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville.
At that time the Australian company “Toll Railway” took care of the reconstruction of the train operation.
These pictures of Phnom Penh train station were taken in 2013, when there was still a long way to go until the continuation of passenger traffic.
“Toll Railway” only ran the highly profitable freight traffic, whereas the state was to pay for passenger services.
Shortly after, “Toll Railway” withdrew from Cambodia and now the trains are labeled “Royal Railway”.
Since 2016 there are passenger trains frequenting the south route and even the north route right until the Thai border in Poipet.
My train journey through Cambodia is leading me away from Phnom Penh to Battambang in the north.
My day starts very early again.
It is 6:30 a.
I have been advised insistently to be at the train station half an hour before departure since it is going to be very busy.
And what's going on? Not much really, I have already stowed away my luggage.
There is one Cambodian person on the train who is very thrilled because it is his first train journey to Battambang.
I have also seen two other tourists, but that's it.
There is absolutely nobody else on this train.
This time I'm traveling in the rail car with a little more space for luggage.
However, the seats are very close together, so it feels cramped in here for tall people like me.
And as I know from my last trip, spending seven hours in these seats is relatively uncomfortable.
The northern route is significantly bumpier than the southern route.
Interestingly, we are driving considerably faster despite the, well let's say, worse condition of the rails.
At the moment, we are driving at around 60 or 70 kilometers per hour.
In Pursat, the train stops for a lunch break and then we continue our journey in the direction of Battambang.
Cows are repeatedly fleeing from the train and just now there was an unpleasant noise.
[rumbling on the wall and floor] I'm afraid we've hit a cow.
Despite that, the train is still going.
I've only seen people running around outside, there were several cows over there that fled.
I guess one of them didn't make it.
I have arrived safely in Battambang, it is definitely worth getting off the train here.
Much has changed in this city, trains made of bamboo are used here.
If the are still on their way on bumpy rails and if the trains need to be lifted off the rails in case of oncoming traffic you will find out in another episode.
Of course I will show you some pictures then.
I would love to travel further to Poipet near the Thai border by train, but sadly this is not possible, because the next train will depart in in one week.
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Tschüss, servus and baba and good bye!.