When landing into Siem reap, after only a half an hour flight I thought the place looked beautiful, a lot of country side with little houses dotted all a round, however, I was wrong, the town was certainly not beautiful and the countryside was all dead grass. It is clearly a very under developed country, driving from the airport to the hostel was definitely a bit of a shock after being in such a big city, as it was just little shacks that lined the streets. Our hostel itself was nice, decent air con, clean sheets and towels provided. Although at first we was put into a room and assigned beds that clearly had people in them, we was soon moved to free beds in a different room with only one other occupant, an older Spanish guy who spends his days travelling the world.
The town itself gets better the more you explore it, I thought it was just all going to be little shacks but thankfully we kept walking and found civilisation, pub street. A big street filled with bars and tourists, we had a drink there on the second night and finally got speaking to some others which was nice although when tired its too much effort to keep making small talk. The town surprised us even more when we found a hard rock cafe and Costa coffee! We treated ourselves to a decent meal, it was the first time we was able to eat without fear of food poisoning, and it felt so good to do so!! They had a band come play who asked for requests, I went for a classic – Bryan Adams, summer of 69. Surprisingly they knew it and I loved every moment.
The main reason for being in siem reap was of course Angkor Wat. We paid a tuk tuk $18 for the both of us and for 9 hours he drove us around and waited outside each temple, such a good service!! Angkor Wat was pretty magnificent, over such a vast space, although by the end I must admit it got a bit samesie, but we hung a round to climb up the small mountain to watch the sunset, which was spectacular, well worth the wait (side note the Sun sets early about 6pm). The most annoying thing about the day was all the people constantly selling you stuff. “One dollar, one dollar, one dollar” it does slightly do your head in by the end of the day. ( a side note; everything here is in US dollar. You can use their currency but everything is priced in dollar, which they prefer). We had a couple of little girls approach us & segregated us from each other and forcing bracelets on us “if you don’t take it mean you don’t like me” well to be honest I didn’t, I would rather do this trip without being hassled at the entrance and exit of every temple. Don’t worry I excepted the bracelet and bought a drink from her stall. Although once you buy one thing they try to sell you everything else they own.
The journey to Phnom Penh was just unbelievably awful. If you’ve ever been in a car with my dad then it will be easier for you to imagine, although take his crazy driving and instead of a decent car make that a 16 seat mini van packed with Cambodians, and oh yeah no suspension!! Driving along roads that was still under construction, worse than most fen roads. It took a nice 6 hours 😦 Surprisingly I wasn’t sick, quite an achievement in itself I think, although I do think my organs may have been misplaced!
Down in Phnom Penh we stayed at a mad monkey hostel, which we heard was quite a party place and on our second night we discovered it definitely was. It was so nice to just relax, drink and make some new friends, so many Australians out here it’s ridiculous!
On our first day we visited the killing fields and S-21 Genocide museum. Both were quite hard hitting but so interesting, after studying it at uni for a term it was great to actually come out here and see it. It was absolutely awful what happened here but these memoriams certainly are the perfect away to remember the loss of life.
The next day we went to the royal palace, which was beautiful but rather small when comparing it to Buckingham Palace. We went round there with a German girl from our dorm and a Dutch girl who we met when getting the tuk tuk. It was cool to have some more people to go around with, added something different to the conversations. We all decided we would treat ourselves to a massage, we all went for the native ‘Khmer massage’. Well massage is certainly a word that should be used loosely when describing my hour of being stretched and slapped, even slapped my head. I had a guy doing mine but thankfully I was still in a room with Lou. The masseuse were up on the beds straddling you, kneeing you in the back, lifting you up. Odd odd experience (you are fully dressed in this baggy outfit they give you).
The final night we went out, and we went hard. I may have drank slightly too much 😦 Definitely paying for it the next day. But we finally met some English people and a nice bunch on Canadians so had a really good night out on a mini bar crawl which was so much fun.
Off to Vietnam we go with me feeling sick and taking another plane bleugh.
Louise’s fact- Cambodia isn’t as cheap as you think!