Subscribe Search

Search form

Zap! Pow! The Khmer Batmobile

Zap! Pow! The Khmer Batmobile


Photo by: Kyle Sherer

Srey Chhay, aka Mr Batman, in his modified tuk-tuk.

A SIEM Reap tuk-tuk driver who calls himself Mr Batman, has taken on the mantle of Gotham City's brooding caped crusader and transformed his machine into a Khmer-style Batmobile. Rather than fighting criminals, he's using his hero identity to fight rival drivers for the tourist buck, and the shtick works.

Mr Batman, aka Srey Chhay, started his tuk-tuk gig last week and said the idea of channelling the costumed hero came after watching the Batman movie on TV.  Acting on impulse, he searched for a Batman logo on the Internet and sent his girlfriend to a tuk-tuk upholstery shop with the printout.

The result is a stylish black tuk-tuk adorned with six Batman logos, including a large one on the roof. Srey Chhay said that up to 30 tourists photographed the tuk-tuk in his first week, and others sing the theme song from the '60s Batman TV show as he drives by.

He said the hubbub makes him feel good. "Like Batman, I help people. I take them from temple to temple."

While he harbours no plans of fitting his tuk-tuk with machine guns or smoke bombs, he does want to work on his driving clothes. "In one or two months, after I save some money, I want to get a cape. And maybe modify my helmet."

Srey Chhay is not the only driver who has adopted a gimmick to distinguish himself from the pack. Mr Rock touts a "luxury" tuk-tuk around town, though apart from the words "Rolls Royce" painted on the side, it seems no more lavish than a standard model. There is also the infamous karaoke tuk-tuk, which allows travellers to plug their iPods into mounted speakers and sing while they ride around town.

Philip Starling, founder of NGO Making a Difference for Good and mastermind behind the quad-bike driven medical tuk-tuk that brings health care to rural villages in Siem Reap province, said that he has plans for another unique tuk-tuk. "It's very private at the moment, but I want to build a luxury model. One of the things that's a big delay is I want air-con in it."


  • Kak Channthy, Cambodian Space Project frontwoman, killed in crash at 38 [Updated]

    Updated 5:05pm, Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Kak Channthy, frontwoman of popular The Cambodian Space Project, was killed Tuesday morning in a traffic accident in Phnom Penh. She was 38. Channthy, the internationally recognised singer-songwriter also known as “Srey Thy”, was reportedly travelling in a tuk-tuk on the city's

  • Australians protest Asean summit visit by PM Hun Sen

    Hundreds of protesters gathered in Sydney’s Hyde Park on Friday to protest against Cambodian strongman Hun Sen, who claimed to have been gifted millions of dollars by the Australian government ahead of a special Asean summit this weekend. An estimated 300 protesters, the majority of

  • One Australian, one Cambodian killed in explosion at military base

    Updated: 5:20pm, Friday 16 March 2018 An Australian tourist and a Cambodian soldier were killed in an explosion on Thursday afternoon at an army base in Cambodia’s Kampong Speu province. The Australian, whom the government initially identified as a technical demining expert in his 40s, and

  • Peeling back layers of prehistory in Battambang

    When the man passed away, he had not yet reached 50. He belonged to a tribe that had settled near the Sangker River in Battambang province, likely cultivating the fields and raising animals. On the side, they hunted for boars, and even turtles, one of which