A Travellerspoint blog

Cambodia

Day 55-60 Siem Reap

Our '10hr' bus journey from Sihanoukville was elongated by pure SE Asian illogical processes including the duel use of buses as couriers for everything from leaky bags of fish to cement mixers and 50kg sacks of salt. Before we started this trip we were well aware of what to expect from bus journeys in the east. It's not until your looking out of the window of the bus observing the array of men loading the luggage hold with mentioned items whilst dressed in baseball hats embroidered with the Facebook/Chanel/You Tube logo, 'FBI' or our personal favourite 'wi-fi' (did he just love wi-fi or did he have a modem installed under there? We'll never know!) Its these moments and the future 15 hrs on that bus where you get a chance to stop and think about where you are and what you might think of it all. At the 13hr mark when we stopped for a rest break where Dan had a mini melt down- If they do this journey every day why do they pretend it can be done in 5 hrs less? Why do they sell food off dirty floors, litter everywhere and piss on logs next to empty toilet cubicles?! How do they know when to stop in the middle of nowhere to unload a box of fish for a man at the side of the road?...and so on. - He had been listening to the Ricky Gervais XFm shows for the majority of the journey so the rant was at bit Karl Pilkington and entertaining for me. When we finally got to the hotel late at night we were to hungry to go into town for food despite having only a tube of pringles each all day. Our logic was to spend the saved food money on double the amount of food tomorrow.

We spent our first day in Siem Reap running errands (replacement camera $125-ouch!) And catching up on the walking dead mid season finale.

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On day 2 we got up at 4:30am to get to Angkor Wat for sunrise with our extremely jolly tuk tuk driver who said 'I see your face and ha ha ha ha' I think he meant 'I want to familiarise myself with your face so I know which white people you are later when you come back out'- same same? We went to the temples on the mini circuit observing crazy Korean ladies running to each photo opportunity using their cameras like machine guns.

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When it got a bit too hot and busy we retreated for lunch and a nap. In the evening I got a pedicure and some much needed new t-shirts from a market stall with a lady laughing telling me I need xxxxl as I tried on an xl. Which fitted me well thank you very much!

In the morning of day 3 we did a Khmer cooking course learning peppered tomato soup, spicy prawn salad and amok. On the course were a family from Holland with two boys who helped out with the mortar and pestle action.

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In the afternoon we paid $3 to use a swimming pool in a $100 a night hotel (our hotel is $6 per night) this along with checking all the cubicles before settling on a squatty is probably one of my top backpacking tips.

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We returned to more temples on the next two days and tried not to moan about it being 'too hot' and just accept that we were both a sweaty mess. I continued to wear my silly hat and blend in with the Koreans.

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Posted by vincerb 02:10 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

Day 52- 54 Sihanoukville


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We left Kep in a minibus which was eventful as all buses in S E Asia. Once close to capacity one man removed himself from the bus due to lack of space on the back seat where they like to squeeze 4 people in. The driver then received a call and we went back to a previous pick up point to shoe horn a family of four into the spare seat. An extra seat was recovered by the luggage of 17 travellers being tied to the back seats and the boot door being strapped down with a few old shoelaces. We set off! Somewhat squashed and 1 1/2 hours late after all the trouble. Then. Another call to say 2 more people needed to get on. The (all French) passengers kicked off in French rightly informing the driver that there really was more room. After driving at 5 miles an hour for a few minutes he had a wee at the side of the road and then left- this time for real!

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We headed to a hostel on Otres Beach to relaxing and eat amok. We spent a few days reading at the beach and Dan got his eyebrows threaded.

One day we shared the sea with hundreds of jellyfish who only drift into the shallows in the morning of two months per year. Jellyfish are my favorite sea creature so I was quite excited by this. I even saw a hitchhiking crab in the top of one.

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Posted by vincerb 01:41 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

Day 50-51 Rabbit Island

We booked onto a day trip to see the sights of Kampot with intention of not returning and staying over night at the afternoon island stop off.
In the day we watched men sweating out packing, weighing and sealing 50kg bags of salt at a salt farm.

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We also went to a Kampot pepper farm...

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and there was a visitor waiting for me as I lowered my butt onto this toilet seat.

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In the afternoon when we arrived on Rabbit island we checked into a $6 beach bungalow with no shower and a light bulb with power between 6-10pm.

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We didn't quite have the dream 'waking up to the sounds of the ocean' experience. An over anxious doxy enhanced dream meant I had Dan checking under the bed in the middle of the night for a crocodile. At 5am Dan chased a cockeral from under the bungalow and off the balcony. We gave up on sleep at 8am when a man with a petrol strimmer decided to mow the entire beach. Once that stopped we did enjoy watching him climb up trees for coconuts with nothing but a piece of string between his legs.

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Dan also dropped the camera, lens first, into the sand and broke it- but not before we got a snap with this cutie

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Posted by vincerb 01:40 Archived in Cambodia Comments (1)

day 48-49 Kampot


This post written by Dan (for once).
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We left Phnom Penh with a good early impression of Cambodia and headed for Kampot, the guidebook assured us this was a 'quaint riverside town''. Thankfully the Lonely Planet was right - a very welcoming guesthouse and decent dorm room helped us settle in. By the way the dorm room only has two and half walls - with an open balcony removing one and mosquito windows the other half - making for a lovely morning breeze whilst I had my ice cold morning shower (Mum I can't wait to come home to a real shower!)

We took a sunset cruise down the river for a couple of hours which was pretty sweet - after visiting Saigon and Phnom Penh we need some time to chill out! One thing that has baffled me on this trip is incessant video recording - one man filmed about 90% of the sunset cruise. I wonder when he will watch back that 90 minutes of river water passing by him. Don't get me wrong it was a nice cruise but come on! Enjoy yourself!

Back at the hostel they had a special offer on - for every $ you spent on food you got a free pint of beer. Needless to say we spent the evening eating, drinking and playing Scrabble - we are so rock and roll sometimes!

The next day was time to rent a scooter again, we drove two hours into the Bokor National Park. A really nice ride way, way up into the mountains stopping off at waterfalls and viewing areas. We looked around an abandoned hotel built in 1924 and an abandoned church at the top - pretty eerie! I spent most of the ride back down trying to spot one of the few tigers left living wild in the park but to no avail - oh and of course concentrating on the road, driving safely blah blah blah.'

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For dinner Becky had a hot dog followed by a chocolate brownie and due to the restaurant (Pie and Ice Cream Palace!) having no veggie food I just had a massive slice of apple pie and ice cream for dinner. Who says travellers have to 1) eat street food for every meal and 2) avoid western food! The evening was spent unfortunately paying for beers - then again they are only 75 cents a pop!

Posted by vincerb 04:47 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

Day 45-47 Phnom Penh

We checked into our usual budget hostel whose bathroom makes me think that even I could have a career in SE Asia as a plumber/tiler. This time they'd gone to the effort of plumbing the sink in (as opposed to the plug draining from a height onto the floor) but the pipe came back out of the wall just above your feet. So essentially when you spit out your toothpaste into the sink your spitting it onto your own toes.

The redeeming quality of this hostel was the rooftop bar with hammocks for me and football for Dan.

While in the city we engaged in some dark tourism visiting the Killing Fields and S-21 Prison/Tuol Sleng Grenoside Museum. Understandably we took no photos at these places except when we met a pack of puppy's near the loos.

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We also splurged and went on an organised tour to Phonm Tameo animal rescue zoo. We have been especially careful with which animal encounters we have in SE Asia. This park was a leading light for the future of animals in SE Asia. The enclosures were up to western standards and most animals had been rescued from individuals who had them as pets before they became too large or no longer cute enough. The organiser was an inspirational Cambodian lady who has adopted 3 orphaned children, juggled 3 jobs and evening university to start her own business even employing her father as the jeep driver. With ambition to open a community centre and home stay soon we were more than happy to spend our money here. After an exquisite lunch cooked by her the left overs and our empty bottles were given to poor children from a local village who she also supports with school uniforms, daily leftovers and annual food parties.

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Posted by vincerb 04:47 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

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