I had a late morning as I was joining 3 other girls for a tour to the Banan temple, the killing cave and the bat cave.
I had an awesome tuk tuk driver called Karim who works at the Here Be Dragons hostel. We headed out around 1pm, it was a really long journey to Banan and the journey took us through the most amazing countryside. I loved seeing the houses and the way the people live here, it really reminded me of when I was in Upala in Costa Rica.
I always think that seeing the countryside is much much more rewarding than going to the city. You get to see the ‘real’ country with nothing created for tourists. We stopped off by the river in the Muslim area where we could see the mosque. It is a fishing village but at the moment the river is too low for fishing. I loved walking around having a peep in the houses, the people here I would say live in poverty but only because they are like shanti houses with blankets for walls. I assume that they all have running water so they have a decent living standard. The Muslim girls were quite shy and loved to stare at us.
Another stop we made was at a monks temple and there were hundreds of fruit bats hanging in all the surrounding trees. We were told that the bats were protected so that’s why there were so many of them. I’d never seen so many fruit bats in one place before and never realised how big they are! Like they are actually rats with wings. Our tuk tuk driver kept trying to wake them by throwing sticks at the trees, while I thought this was completely unnecessary as we were going to see millions of bats coming out a cave, these were huge and so big when they flew.
When we got to the Banan temple we had to walk up to the top, it was so hot but not too bad to hike up. The first stop is the killing cave where it is now a Buddhist temple but was used as a place for killing thousands during the Khmer Rouge regime. They use to throw people down the cave and torture them. There was such a juxtaposition as the actual cave and its surroundings are beautiful but to know that thousands died here is so sad.
We then hiked higher to the top of the mountain, the view just got better and better. We could see the sun was beginning to set and it really was beautiful looking out across Cambodia landscape. There are some monkeys here but I don’t like wild monkeys, they scratch you and steal your stuff. So I ran away ha. Getting down was really easy as there were steps! I’m glad we didn’t go up them…
We were driven a short way down the road past all the other tourists who were waiting for the bats at one cave. Instead we were taken to a place where we had to climb up and at the top we could see the beautiful sunset over the trees. It was truly incredible! The best sunset I’d seen in a while and I love sunsets. At 6.30pm millions of bats poured out the cave, I’d never seen anything like it before in my life. They all come out and swirl in groups, then go to search for food. It was funny because you could smell them before you could see them! We didn’t watch for too long as they continue to pour out the cave for an hour and it was getting dark.
Back at the hostel they were hosting a BBQ night so I had some ribs and sausage, so delicious and nice to have some home comfort. Afterwards the girls and I watched a film on the rooftop, it was really nice to chill with them for the evening 🙂