A Travellerspoint blog

Cambodia

Phnom Pehn

a few days in Cambodia's biggest city

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Gosh darn it! Its been so long since we were in Phnom Pehn I cant remember what we did. Or maybe it was just uninspiring. After all - we didn't leave London in order to go to another city.

Phnom Penh is a big city, but it is definately still Cambodia, red dust everywhere, messy, terrible traffic, sweet but persistent tuk tuk drivers, odd street food and annoying child book-sellers. So we looked around, but lacked the energy (and budget) to go to the Royal Palace, instead we sheltered from a downpour looking at it, witnessed an elephant walking down the road, and then found somewhere to eat.

One thing all visitors must do in Phnom Penh is pay a visit to Tuol Sleng - S21, the Kymer Rouge's war prison created from a high school in the capital city, and combine it with a visit - 15km out of town to the killing fields, one of the many many places the Kymer Rouge took their prisoners to be executed and buried in mass graves. So that is what we did. To save money and be social we shared a tuk tuk with three people we met at our guesthouse (Okay Guesthouse....... it was ok) Frank from Holland, Anida from Germany and Amanda from England. Our plan backfired a little when our combined weight broke the tuk tuk's wheel and we spent an hour on the side of the road waiting for it to be fixed. Still it was an interesting interlude from the somewhat solumn activities of the day!

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Posted by aspindi 03:17 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

Retreating to Kep

Our stay at the Vine Retreat

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We decided to treat ourselves to a night of luxury, so we headed to Kep, famous for its crab, and checked into the Vine Retreat, an eco-lodge and organic farm. On arrival our host, the manager Dan, who we had met at Bodhi Villa's famous friday night, drove us all to Kep, a small fishing town famous for one thing.... CRAB! And so we sat down to a delicious late lunch of Kep Crab cooked in green Kampot pepper, overlooking nothing but the ocean. In the evening we relaxed on the balcony of the lodge, reading books, listening to music and sat down to a beautiful home-cooked meal incorporating the farm's home grown tomatoes and morning glory.

We stayed only one night (was a little pricey... we are supposed to be backpacking, not flashpacking after all) and the next day after a tour around the grounds, we hopped in a share taxi all the way to Phnom Pehn.

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Posted by aspindi 20:43 Archived in Cambodia Tagged kep Comments (0)

Relaxing in Kampot

Pepper pepper pepper pepper crab pepper pepper!

all seasons in one day

Our trip gets better the minute we leave Sihanoukville, starting with our minibus trip to Kampot.
Us and another couple were treated to a comfy ride, driven by two very sweet & nice young Kymer men, who on getting close to Kampot asked us if we wanted to see a waterfall as they themselves had never been..... ''ok!'' we replied. So we had a little walk to a waterfall, and saw lots of gibbons sitting around bugging the locals.
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Following the lonely planet's advice we decided to stay at the Bodhi Villa, just outside of town, and from the moment we walked through the door we felt at home. Our days at Bodhi were spent sitting on the deck overlooking the Kampot river, reading books and ordering delicious food and drink from the menu. We hung around with other folks who, like us, arrived and didn't want to leave.
On our first night we walked into Kampot town to look around, about 1km away and had a lovely peppery meal at a place called Ricki Ticki Tavi overlooking the river.
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The next day we signed up for a tourist trip to Bokor Hill Station, a misty cold abandoned outpost, built by the French on the top of Bokor hill. It started out well, a minibus to the base of the mountain, we were then decanted into the back of a pickup truck to proceed uphill. Due to the road quality, or some kind of legal ownership issue (the hill having been recently privatised) part of the deal was a hour and a halk walk up through the forest, led by a gun-toting forest ranger in flip flops and a sweet old tour guide. It was a hot humid walk, but we made it, stopping regularly to listen to the tour guide's story of how he spent his childhood hiding from the Kymer Rouge in the forest, and, after his parents and siblings were killed, living alone for two years following gibbons to find food.

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To cut a long story short - we got to the hill station which was - as decribed in the tourist brochures - a creepy chilling place (pretty cool).

AND THEN IT RAINED! and I mean RAINED!

What proceeded was a miserable three hours of uncomforable wet walking, and pick-up truck riding in the pourrrring rain. And LEECHES!!! (ok, so only one leech actually got me and it was through my sock, but still - I ran around screaming in the forest for a while)

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Safe to say, when we got back to Bodhi Villa, we decided not to leave for at least a day. Plus, it was Friday night, Bodhi Villa's live-music evening and with the owner, Hugh, celebrating the birth of his second child, it was a bit of a party!

Posted by aspindi 01:35 Archived in Cambodia Tagged kampot crab kep bodhi_villa pepper Comments (3)

No Holiday in Cambodia

Rainy weather reminds us of home.

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The weather in Sihanoukville prevents us from achieving our aim of sitting on the beach cocktails in hand. So we settle for chilling out with out new British buddies in the wooden terrace of our guesthouse, ordering endless amounts cheese & bean toasties (mmmmmm).

Jo's birthday night kicks off with some Thai whiskey, coke & redbull, on the terrace of our little bungalows out back (poor ventilation - needs work). We end up in a beachside shack nightclub called JJs - notorious in these parts - avoiding having to drink from buckets - which appear to hold about 15litres! We all go home fairly drunk.... Jo a little too drunk, and she spends the next day throwing up - even though the sun is out!

By late afternoon Jo is feeling better - but too late- the skies have opened once again. So we book ourselves in to a session at TOP CAT CINEMA, the most comfiest, indulgent, best hangover activity EVER! Here Sean, the cinema man loads up a film of our choice (Wild Target - good film) and gives us a cozy, cool room full of comfy sofas to watch it on with a giant flat screen tv. He then carries in a fresh hot pizza of our choice to enjoy.

Perfect.

It's clearly not beach weather- and won't be for some time so we decide to leave the next day for Kampot - home of the world's best pepper.

Posted by aspindi 00:57 Archived in Cambodia Tagged birthday drinking sihanoukville top_cat_cinema Comments (2)

Heading to Sihanoukville

Timewasting in Siem Reap and a long long night-bus

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So we got our Dr Fish massage (photos to come) where you dunk your feet in a pool of man-eating fish, ok i exagerrate, dead-skin eating fish.
Bit tickly at first but is quite nice after a while and our feet emerge fresh and clean.

We decided to book a 10 hour night bus for the following evening which left us with 24 hours of time to kill in Siem Reap. Basically spent eating, drinking and wondering around avoiding calls from tuk tuk drivers. Later on we meet our very first traveller friend in Cambodia.... Jonno, an actor from Melbourne, only to leave him an hour later to catch our bus.

And what a bus it was.
I'm not sure if a stranger form of transport exists. Basically a coach full of built in bunk beds....crammed full of people, whole families sharing two side by side beds (yes, that includes crying babies). The air con turned up to the max - me and Jo wrap ourselves up in whatever we can find to keep warm. So we zoom off into the night, not knowing what to expect at the other end, watching lightning light up the sky along the way.

This morning we arrive to an overcast sky and head straight to Banana Republic hostel, full of bored Brits who say that it has been raining everyday and so they cant enjoy the beach! Its Jojo's birthday today - so we have found 12 nice people here to have a knees-up with later, yey!!! The guy who owns the hostel has said he will try and order an OTT asian birthday cake. (shhhhh! dont tell Jo)

Posted by aspindi 23:18 Archived in Cambodia Tagged banana republic sihanoukville Comments (2)

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