Kingdom of Cambodia

The journey from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh was an easy one, made all the more simple by the fact that our guide on the bus sorted absolutely everything visa-wise for us when it came to crossing the border. We were through the border crossing and back on the bus in just a matter of minutes, and soon enough we arrived in Phnom Penh in the early afternoon and were picked up and taken to our hotel, Sunday Guesthouse. This time it was just Maritza and I, as Rosa had decided to stay in HCMC for a couple of extra nights so she could meet up with a friend from home before catching up with us in Siem Reap a few days later. It was really strange to just be a twosome, and took some getting used to…we kept turning around and having a mini panic that we’d lost her, before we remembered!

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After dumping our bags in our room, we headed out for a wander around, walking the 15 minutes of so from our hotel to the centre of the city, seeing the Independence Monument and the Palace, before heading over to the river to grab some food and drink. After that we were pretty set on finding a cinema where we could go chill and watch the new Twilight movie, but unfortunately after quite a while of searching we just couldn’t find the place we were looking for, so headed back to our hotel to watch TV instead (and actually found that some pretty good movies were on…bonus!)

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The next day we woke up bright and early and climbed aboard our tuk tuk (along with 3 other hotel guests) to be taken to the Killing Fields, one of the sites where huge numbers of people were killed and buried by the Khmer Rouge regime between 1975 and 1979. It was a harrowing place, with an audio tour that takes you around the grounds, describing what happened in each place, even showing some bones and teeth of some of the victims. After this, the tuk tuk took us to the (possibly even more) depressing Genocide Museum. Next we headed to the Russian Market for a spot of shopping before deciding that we needed something to cheer us up after all the sad stuff we’d seen. We finally found the cinema where the new Twilight was playing (at the Sorya Cineplex), and spent a glorious two hours in the comfy darkness with Edward, Bella and Jacob for company!

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It was an early start the next morning to catch our bus to Siem Reap where we found Rosa already at the hotel, the lovely King Angkor Villa, before heading out for some delicious dinner at a nearby BBQ restaurant. Later that night, Rosa and I met up with Shannon and Kayleigh (our friends from Vietnam) for drinks and ended up having an epic night of drinking and dancing at Angkor What? Bar, a place where you get a free t-shirt when you buy a bucket – I’m now the proud owner of two of their t-shirts (you see a lot of people with the same shirt around Siem Reap).

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The following day we reluctantly rose at about 4:15am and climbed aboard a tuk tuk at 5am to head for Angkor Wat and its surrounding temples for sunrise. Unfortunately, because of the clouds, there really was no sunrise which was a bit disappointing but our sadness about this soon dissipated when we walked up to Angkor Wat and saw its awe-inspiring beauty. It really is one of the most stunning and incredible things I’ve ever seen. After walking around Angkor Wat for an hour or so we went on to see some of the other temples and sights in the surrounding area, including the Terrace of Elephants and a temple I can’t remember the name of, but that was all run-down and in the process of being done up and restructured…absolutely beautiful.

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By about midday we were completely exhausted…3 hours sleep will do that to you, so it was back to the hotel for a quick (*ahem* 4 hour) nap before me and Rosa headed out for dinner with Shannon and Kayleigh. Lots of laughter and some yummy food later, it was back to the hotel to pack and get an early night before getting the bus to Bangkok early the next morning.

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The morning came and it really wasn’t appreciated…the constant string of early mornings was starting to wear us down, so it was a sleepy three that boarded the bus to the Cambodia/Thai border. Going through the border was simple enough, as we didn’t need visas for Thailand…it was just a matter of getting stamped out of Cambodia then walking across and getting stamped into Thailand…easy peasy. Then it was on to another bus (or rather minivan) for the last (long) leg of the journey, during which we were slightly concerned for our safety as our driver was acting like a total maniac the whole time. About an hour or so outside of Bangkok we though that we’d quite like to just get on another bus and head straight to Koh Samui that night, so our driver said he’d organize it for us, but by the time we’d reached the city (about 12 hours after our journey had begun) we just couldn’t face another 15 plus hours on another bus. So we decided we’d fly instead, a decision our driver really wasn’t best pleased about, which he showed when he pretty much threw our bags out of the van and into the street before swiftly driving away (but it’s not like we’d paid already or anything)…whoops!

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We jumped in a tuk tuk to Silom (where we’d stayed when we were in Bangkok before), found an Internet cafe, got some food, booked our flights and made our way to the airport for the night, as our flight was pretty early the next morning and we figured there was no point paying for a hostel for just a few hours. So that’s it, we’ve come a full circle in just over a month…and now it’s time for some island fun, as we head all the way down to Singapore. Until next time…

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