Cambodia · 7 Days · 7 Moments · February 2017

Our holiday in Cambodia

2 March 2017

7. Overall Cambodia had been short and sweet. It's fair to say it was our least favourite country so far, although we didn't stay too long and it was definitely growing on me, especially after a few days in Siem Reap. I definitely saw more poverty than elsewhere, which really is saying something and as horrible as it is to say, the constant stream of beggars really did get annoying after a week. The humidity was like nothing I've ever experienced and it made it very difficult to do much with the afternoons. Fortunately we got to say goodbye to Helge and Isaac properly before our bus back to Bangkok. We'll have to make sure we plan a trip to Oslo sometime when we're all back home!!
5. That night involved a very sensible, grown up dinner with the guys and an early night as myself and Dan were getting up early to go see Angkor Wat, something I'd particularly been looking forward to since the start of travelling. The organised tours either went for sun rise or sunset, sunset being super busy and sunrise setting off at 4am. There was absolutely no way either one of us was getting up that early and we still wanted to try and avoid crowds, so we settled on hiring our own tuk tuk that morning at 7am. Our driver was hilarious, staying with us all day, buying us 8am beers, taking us around the major sites. There's no way I could do the temples justice, but we did take a few pictures. Glutes still refuses to look at the camera!
6. I'm not sure what I was expecting from Angkor, but after visiting I still can't quite get my head round how big the place was. Everywhere you looked there's some form of temple or ruin (all surrounded by Chinese tourists and selfie sticks of course!). We spent about 5 hours walking or driving around being amazed by pretty much everything. By the time we were thinking of leaving the heat was really picking up again and tourists had swarmed to every corner of the site. As we left the area, we drove past a group of monkeys. Our driver quickly pulled over, bought a load of veg from a local stall and shared the monkey treats with us. It was incredible how used to humans they were and it was nice to have some relatively intelligent conversation after spending the last 2 months with Dan!!
3. We only stayed the one night in Sihanoukville as our real destination was the island of Koh Rong. We had a few (too many) drinks that night on the beach and got the slow boat the next morning across to the island. The next two days were spent taking it very easy on the nicest beaches I've ever been to. I loved the day time; the unbelievably clear blue waters, the sand, the heat. Even the horrendous sunburn didn't put me off! The nights however were pretty awful. This was after all an island and a very undeveloped one at that. We stayed in a couple different guest houses, the first was terrible with sand everywhere, no hot water, the mosquito nets were in pieces, the club below was so loud despite being empty and generally everything was dirty. The second was marginally better, although I was woken up by the biggest cockroach I've ever seen!! Overall we had a couple of great days on the beach, but were soon happy to be heading back to relative levels of civilisation!

1 March 2017

4. One more reason for the rush out of Koh Rong was to see our Norwegian friends Isaac and Helge one more time before we all went our separate ways out of Cambodia. The night bus was half hilarious, half tragic. Me and Dan had to share a bed that was only just big enough for one and we'd got lucky with a slightly bigger bed at the back of the bus! We even got Air! The pictures can't quite show it properly, but needless to say, I didn't get much sleep. We got to Siem Reap by 5.30am and found the guys later that day. It was great to catch up with them both, especially Helge as we hadn't seen him for nearly a month by this point. As per usual with those two, we all ended up stupidly drunk and felt terrible for our floating village tour the next day. The village was the poorest area I'd seen so far, which is really saying something. It's impossible now to get my head around how these people lived in filthy water 24/7, but, as usual the kids all still had smiles on their faces.

24 February 2017

2. After avoiding the prostitutes and having a proper nights sleep, we were up at 6am the next day to see the Killing Fields and Genocide Museum. I didn't know a huge amount about the Pol Pot regime, but by the end of the morning I'd learned a lot. It was a genuinely moving few hours, I imagine something very similar to visiting Auschwitz. Over the 4 years that the Khmer Rouge were in power, nearly a quarter of the population were killed, 15,000 of which passed through the S-21 prison and to the Killing Field that we visited. It was definitely a trip worth doing and certainly gave us a lot to think about that evening as we took a bus to the beach side town of Sihanoukville.

23 February 2017

1. Sitting down to write about Cambodia has made me realise how quickly 8 days have flown by. The last week or so has felt more like a hectic holiday, squeezing in a little bit of everywhere, rather than just chilling in one place for a while until we feel obliged to move on. We started by taking the night bus from Saigon to Phnom Penh. Fortunately the bus was half empty, so we managed to get a bed each, a serious bonus as usually it's 2 per bed! We got to the border at 3am, which meant a 3 hour wait until it actually opened for the day! However, due to our individual beds the trip was easy and we got to our Hostel by late morning. That afternoon we took it easy, taking in the sights of PP. The heat was something else! Both myself and Glutes were just sweating sitting doing nothing! The city was ridiculously manic and immediately it felt like the poverty was greater than in the previous countries. I've also never seen such a large area of the city dedicated to prostitutes!