Well, we can’t say that we weren’t warned – we did know that the overland trip from Bangkok to Siem Reap would be terrible. But we also knew we had no choice – we really, really wanted to see Angkor Wat, and our budget couldn’t stretch to 500 pounds for us to all fly there […]Read more "The longest bus trip in the world"
We were woken up at 7.30 by the builders on the floor above, knocking a hole in the wall. Just what you need after a long bus trip. At 9 we checked out, and realised that the whole of Siem Reap is a building site. The whole town looks completely unfinished, and on every corner […]Read more "Waking up in a building site"
What are we, mad? After an exhausting day two days ago, we got up this morning at 5am to meet Mr Heng and go to Angkor Wat for sunrise. We knew we had to do it, so we thought we should get it done soon. Although lots of people do get up this early to […]Read more "Angkor Wat and Beyond"
The heat in the middle of the day is sweltering, even though we have had lots of time to adjust to Asian temperatures. It reaches around 36 degrees, with no breeze to cool you. Its little wonder that it is typical for people to shut up shop and take a rest in Asia during the […]Read more "Angkor afternoon"
Today’s temple was Ta Prohm, which is the one which has been taken over by the jungle. Although much of the undergrowth has been removed, its still astonishing to see trees growing over, around and through the temple complex. The roots of the trees wind their way between the stones of the walls, and as […]Read more "Tomb Raiding"
Two days ago we visited the Government-owned War Museum, and this afternoon we visited the privately-owned Landmine Museum. Both of them told the same story, of the terrible impact on the country of the Vietnam War, the Khmer Rouge period, and the continued civil war which ran until 1998. Although the displays focused on land […]Read more "The Landmine and War Museums"
Somewhat incongruously we went from the Landmine Museum to the Angkor Wat balloon – a huge helium balloon which carries up to 12 passengers 200 metres into the air to get a view of the main Angkor Wat temple and the surrounding forests and fields. We’d chosen sunset to do it, so on one side […]Read more "Floating over Angkor"
Our last day at Angkor Wat – our $40/3 day pass expires today, so we set off early again to get the most of our time. We’d chosen two last temples, the first being Preah Kahn (yes, I had to write the names down – there’s no way I would remember all of these tomorrow!), […]Read more "Last call for Angkor Wat"
Cambodia is a country with huge contrasts, as I’ve already said, and our afternoon was a stark example of that. After spending the morning looking around poverty-stricken villages, the girls were invited over to the exclusive hotel for a swim with their new playmates. The hotel tuk-tuk picked them up, and they all took off […]Read more "A study of contrasts"
Now that our pass for Angkor Wat has expired, we took the opportunity to drive around the countryside a little further, to see some of the sights away from the temples. As long as we’re on roads, Mr Heng’s tuk-tuk is quite comfortable, but off road it’s definitely a bumpy experience. The tuk-tuk is basically […]Read more "Around Siem Reap"
After our journey to Cambodia – 16 hours of slow-moving misery – we thought we’d try and make the journey back to Bangkok easier. Although the flight was outside of our budget, we splashed out $30 on a taxi to the border. Instead of 7 hours in the bus, it took us just under 3 […]Read more "Back to Bangkok"
Well, last time we went from Bangkok to Siem Reap, we bought a ticket right through from a Khao San Road travel agent. And while it did get us all the way, it was deliberately slowed down, so that you could be overcharged along the way for your Cambodia Visa, and for your food and drink stops, […]Read more "Heading back to Cambodia – the easy way"
As we saw all of Angkor Wat last time, we must be the only tourists in town who didn’t want to rush straight to the temples! In fact, we’re only stopping off here on the way to Phnom Penh. Last night we found our trusty tuk-tuk driver, Mr Heng, and arranged for him to meet […]Read more "Seeing Siem Reap one more time"
There are a number of different ways to get from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, by road or water. Possibly the most picturesque is to travel by fast boat – which takes 6 hours and costs $22 a person – which goes across the huge Tonle Sap lake between the cities, and down the Mekong […]Read more "Moving on to Phnom Penh"
We’re in Phnom Penh, and we can’t make head or tail of the place – there seem to be such wide contrasts. Take our accommodation, Diamond’s Guest House, which is in the centre of the city and handy for the Royal Palace, National Museum, and the restaurants and cafes along the banks of the Mekong. […]Read more "Phnom Penh – a strange city"
There are lots of different ways to get around Phnom Penh – on the back of motorbikes; in cyclos which are chairs mounted on the front of bikes ridden by old, skinny men; on moped-powered tuk-tuks, or in saloon cars acting as taxis. For the many aid-workers in town, the vehicle of choice is a […]Read more "The gruesome side of Cambodia"
After the genocide museum we carried on out of the city to view the Killing Fields. This was where the prisoners were taken, before being killed and buried in mass graves. 9,000 skeletons have been uncovered, but a further third of the graves remain untouched. The burial pits themselves, just look like a building site, […]Read more "The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek"
Before heading back to the guest house, we visited the other grim place in Phnom Penh – the shores of Boeng Kak lake, which used to be a pleasant area of lakeside backpacker guest houses in the north of the city. Now though, the buildings have encroached over much of the lake, and sewerage from […]Read more "The other grim side of Phnom Penh"
Sometimes, when you get up in the morning, its easy to be confused about where we are – the streets here seem just like the scenes of Beirut we used to see in the 80’s. Everything just seems a charm-less mess. And it also seems that everything is improvised – take the Toyota Camry above […]Read more "Phnom Penh or Beirut?"
Another day, another long bus trip! For our trip from Phnom Penh to Ho ChiMinh City in Vietnam, it s the usual story of waiting around, unexplaineddelays and that feeling of not quite being sure of what’s going on. We’dbeen told the bus would collect us from our guest house at 6.45am, andthat it would […]Read more "Overland to Vietnam"