Day 3: Pailin to Battambang: that French Feeling

Pailin to Battambang

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Distance: 89km

Total: 193.2km

Everyday Randomness: Buddhists Monks and monks in training walking to collect alms in order of height!

Cambodian FOD: there has never been a McDonald’s in Cambodia.

Today began with a great breakfast in the Bamboo restaurant. There is something great about eating a meal containing food from all the food groups at the start of the day! The ice coffee served as a pleasant kick starter!

The outskirts of Pailin were quite picturesque. The roads were undulating by Cambodian standards so sloping for Irish people. The temperature was perfect for cycling even though there was rain clinging to the small hills surrounding us. We contemplated stopping for coffee to let it pass over us but decided to push on as we wanted to spend a good half day in Battambang.

We were going a fair clip and thus only experience a cooling mist from the rain. The last 40km or so in Battambang was typical Cambodian countryside, interrupted by small villages. The hunger was really starting to kick in with 20km left to go, well what we thought was 20km and was more like 30km in the end!
Some tiny sweet bananas costing 1cent each sustained us until we reached the “Here Be Dragons” hostel located on the river. We kept our free beer tokens you get on arrival for the evening and opted to go straight for lunch.

Battambang is Cambodia’s 3rd largest city but doesn’t feel like a city at all in terms of size. It retains a lot of the colonial buildings (French) and has a creative, artistic and relaxed vibe. I liked it straight away. We had a fantastically fresh tasting lunch in the White Rose which thankfully had a large indoor area as there was an enormous downpour of rain. This led to entertaining scenes as we sipped our passion fruit smoothie which was divine.

 

We nipped back to the hostel briefly before departing for our cooking class (a change of tuk tuk driver half way through was required as the engine cut out from all the rain!)

I could not recommend our cooking class  more. A thoroughly enjoyable and tasty event! The class is in the restaurant Coconut Lyly and is run by Lyly himself who is trained in cooking and it includes a market visit. He came back home to set up a restaurant when his father became blind. He is one of the most genuine people I’ve met, he pays attention to even the small details and has a warm sense of humour. It is exceptional value and the food is delicious! The whole experience is very well run and you also get a recipe book at the end. It should be twice the price ($10) that it is in my opinion! 

After dinner, which consisted of eating the meals from the previous 3 hours we headed back to the hostel to claim our free beers and settled in for the quiz. On short notice the only name we could come up with was “my goodness, my quizness”… despite coming second in the first round (science) we still managed to come last due to questions with a very British bias shall we say!

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