We were both suffering from temple overload after Ayutthaya and then a couple of days in Siem Reap. So I stamped my foot and demanded an animal experience. My James, wearing his obedient husband hat, leapt into action. He spotted a sign outside our hotel advertising an Ox Cart Ride through rural Cambodia. And figured this might shut up his whinging wife. He was right.
The only thing I love more than animals (I’m counting James in that category) is the countryside. And the countryside around Battambang is a picture of green perfection. It is, I am told, Cambodia’s top rice producing region, second top rice producing region in Asia. So the thought of a gentle couple of hours on an Ox cart meandering along tracks through emerald fields appealed.
Our hotel booked it, and arranged the tame hotel tuk tuk driver for us. The hotel manager asked what time we’d like to go, we said 10am, he frowned and said 9am with a smile. 9am it was when we set off on a dusty half hour ride out of town into the flat, green Cambodian countryside.
Our tour starts at a little road side cafe. Here we collect our guide and fellow traveller, then it’s outside to meet our pair of oxen. Of course I had to pet them, and they were only too happy to give me a sniff. Once we are loaded up in our cart off we set on an often muddy path between the rice paddies. I have to say it was a bumpy ride and in some stretches we got off and walked. We visited a local family who were making noodles, which they sold at the markets. And then we got to try some freshly made noodles, with either a very salty sauce, a squeeze of fresh lime or some fiery chilli. The ladies loved it when I pulled a face at the salty sauce and laughed when we all gulped our water after trying the chilli.
Our tour was only about two hours, but after busy Battambang it was lovely to be in the Cambodian countryside and experience a slower country way of life. And yes to have an animal experience!
Tips for An Ox Cart Ride and Battambang
Of course there are temples and more historic things to see around Battambang, but we had reached temple overload and wanted a quiet day. And yes an animal experience.
Battambang is south west of Siem Reap, about 3 hours drive away. We caught a local bus here US$5 each.
Battambang, for a regional town, has some fantastic restaurants, dare I say it, I ate better here than in Siem Reap. Top choices would be Jaan Bai and Pomme for dinner and Kinyei Cafe for coffee and breakfast.
Wouldn’t recommend where we stayed, apart from finding out about our wonderful Ox cart tour.
Our Ox Cart Tour Ride took about two hours and cost US$5pp, this included a welcome herbal tea and a bowl of freshly made noodles. The tuktuk ride there and having the driver wait cost us US$12