“There’s something about the sound of a train that’s very romantic and nostalgic and hopeful.”
1. The journey to Kampot
I have always loved the train journey. The rhythm, the sound, the languor… It’s an ode to laziness. The train is the perfect place to travel outside and inside yourself. As I was feeling stuck in Phnom Penh for a while, I decided to take a break out of the city.
I live in Phnom Penh and I like this energetic city, I like to ride my bicycle in the middle of the traffic jam, to be lost in the market, to drink a banana-coffee shake on riverside and watch people doing exercises, to share a drink with my friends after work. However, I also like the nature and it’s difficult in Phnom Penh to find a green place!
2. Kampot – balancing between city and wild
Kampot it’s, for me, the best place to have a break. This town is the perfect balance between the city and the wild. There are very nice places to stay along the river where you can chill the whole weekend with an amazing view on the mountain. You just need to have a good book, friends to play board game and share a good dinner with.
3. Getting train tickets
Last weekend was my first train trip to Kampot, but for surely not the last. That was a refreshing experience, something different, another way to travel.
The journey starts a few days ago, when I was purchasing my train ticket. I sometimes passed in front of the train station, but never entered inside the big hall. It’s a huge building in Art Deco style like the central market. It was built in 1932, and the train stopped circulating in 2002. They reopened last year the railroad for passengers, you can now enjoy a trip to Sihanoukville by train every weekend. The central hall is very big and… empty. I choose the train of Saturday morning, leaving at 7am. Rendez-vous with my friends at 6.45am. Outch!
4. Inside the train
The train was on time, and I discover than you can travel with your bicycle or your motorbike! Very convenient for a future trip. There are 4 cars very comfy, our car was the second (they give you a seat number with the ticket), the seats are 2 long benches, you turn your back to the windows. There are aircon (don’t forget a scarf, the temperature is very low!), bathroom and you can buy coffee or instant noodle in the first car.
What I love in travelling by train is that you aren’t stuck in the same place. So after the train controller passed, I change my place to stay between 2 cars, close to the door to have a better view. After leaving the city, you can open the door (the train is slow, if you don’t do anything crazy there is no risk) and enjoy your trip!
5. Life on the rail roads
The first 30 minutes, you cross Phnom Penh. There is a huge community who is living on the rail. I had the feeling to be inside the houses and shops. It’s like they open the railroad when the train is coming and continue their lives on the rails after. It’s another view of Phnom Penh with a lot of small lifetime’s pictures. After the city, you cross some nenuphar’s field with their beautiful pink flower. The only town you will cross is Takeo the first and only stop on the railroad to Kampot. There are 10-15 minutes of break, just time to buy some fruits, sweet rice and nenuphar’s seed.
During this journey, most of the landscape is made of rice’s field, buffalos, small farms and coconut trees. The road with this view is perfect to let you dream, imagine a different life, make crazy projects.
After four hours, we arrived in Kampot’s train station. The end of the journey. The small train station with its coconut trees is just the perfect end of this lovely trip.
I recommend to all train’s lovers and dreamer to try the train in Cambodia. That was for me a lovely time!