It’s a longer day today and we expect to start at 9 am and complete our journey by 6 pm. With a different YDM4 loco in charge, we head north-west to the city of Battambang (the 3rd largest, after Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville). Battambang is a classically quaint provincial capital – old-world architecture and even older pagodas set picturesquely along a river, and even though the city is one of the country’s largest, it is still lightly touristed. In town, charming colonial-era buildings line narrow lanes, including the ‘walking district’ near the market where contemporary art galleries, local and foreign cafes, shops and bars inhabit the old shophouses. Again, we will have plenty of photo opportunities. The railway line lies between the Cardamom Mountains and the vast Tonle Sap Lake. Spanning more than 4.4 million hectares of rainforest in southwestern Cambodia, the Cardamom Mountains remain Southeast Asia’s largest remaining rainforest. Inhabited by a swathe of endangered wildlife, the expansive woodland is also home to about 25,000 people, many of whom are ethnic minorities. The Tonle Sap Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia and one of the most productive inland fisheries in the world.
Overnight: Battambang (B, D)
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