I just arrived after a hell of a trip. Of course I had bad luck with the flights again and they were delayed, but anyway I am getting sooo used to it^^ But I had to make a hard decision. Traveling in Asia takes quite some time and because I want to enjoy my time better at one place and don't want to do it in a rush like Sumatra I decided to skip Laos. Yeah I skip a whole country just for seeing Ankor Wat and getting a better impression of Cambodia. But anyways, I am in Phnom Penh right now and try to recover from the trip. Tomorrow I will explore the city and after that I will go south to the beaches.
Actually it is the first time in Asia I don't have a plan :D and I like it!
The bus ride to Siahnoukville surprised me. Well not really the bus ride but getting the ticket...I went to GST in Phnom Penh and wanted to book a ticket right away, I arranged a cheap ride with some guy in a local bus for 5$, but the driver did not want to drive me, I was pissed but I remembered seeing some travel agency with cheap rides as well. So I walked from GST with my backpack to Tonle Sap (river to Mekong) and tried to find it again. It was quite a walk! In the end I just went into a hostel and booked a bus for 7$ including the motorbike ride back to the GST busstation. It was the first time for me that i saw more foreigners riding the bus than locals! At the busstation in Sihounkville, which is a little outside of the town, the Tuk Tuk drivers and motorbike drivers were already waiting. I got a cheap motorbike and he drove me to some place. It is a club/bar/hostel and the dorm rooms do not really have beds but matresses which lay just in line next to each other. Each room has at least 10 beds, but 3$ a night is too cheap to complain. The days just pass by here. You get up, walk to the beach, chill out, and when you get hungry you walk back. Daily expenses are about 12$. I met some nice people the first day and we just do a lot together. Yesterday I rented a motorbike with one South African guy and we checked out the surrounding beaches. Maybe I will take a boat to Koh Rong tomorrow for some days and camp at the beach, well maybe :D
The last days were pretty relaxing but still filled with activities! Jun, the South African guy, and me we took the slow ferry to Koh Rong in the afternoon. Two ways was 15 US Dollars. We arrived on the island and were stunned! All the hostels were located very close to the beach, we had white sand, nice bars and a relaxing atmosphere. We took a dorm bed the first night for 7 Us Dollars and changed to a private room the next day and shared it with a french girl as well so the price went down to 5 US Dollars. Life itself is a little more expensive on the island but u can still have a nice day for 14 dollars, including fruit shakes and 3 meals. The first evening was just meeting people and hanging out at the beach. For the next day Jun and me got up early to have a morning swim and then we checked out other hostels as well for changing rooms. Both of us get distracted by everything all the time. We ended up taking a boat with a local to another beach, because the local wanted to buy a boat. So we were joining him for this ride, took a swim at that beach at 8am and went back. After that we had breakfast and did a jungle trek to Long Beach on the other side of the island. The rocks were steep and it wasnt that easy to climb it. We realized why the local people offer boat trips for tourists there. Well on the way we met some Dutch girls and had a great day with them. After sunset (a Cambodian sunset is off the hook! the further the sun goes down the more red it gets. But you cant compare it to a european sunset. The sun is kinda changing colours and very intense.) we took the trek back to the other side. Even though it was not that dark at the beach, it got pretty dark in the jungle. We were lucky that the girls had some flash lights with them. Jun is one of a kind! In some moments its like going time traveling and being a kid again. Making bubbles in the water, playing catch in the water or jumping from each others shoulders are just some small examples. At other moments we had great talks about everything. The next day was supposed to be a relaxing one as well. We joined a Joga class in the early morning. All the locals are selling boat trips for snorkling and watching the Plankton. We talked to a friend got a huge discount and took a snorkling trip. On the way back we jumped off the boat half way and took a swim back to the island. The first moments after jumping into the water were awkward. The boat was leaving and Jun and me couldnt see the beach because of the waves. We knew we have to swim and there is no other choice (" Look at that beach, it is not far, but at the end of the day 50% of us will not make it. And it is just the two of us." ). At night we went out for the Plankton. It is amazing swimming with it!!! I jumped in first and the water literally lights up. By every movement little sparkles followed it. This moment when all the grown up travelers were just swimming in the water looking down into it and do silly movements with hands and feet was beautiful. The inner child came out again and the surrounding world vanished...I did not imagine how it exhausting it is to play with Plankton! Poor us had to take a rest on the boat after that to watch the stars. The last week i pretty much spent with Jun and with some other people. It was intense and refreshing to be kicked back into childhood and it makes you realize how rare those moments are.
Battambang, Siem Reap
The stay in Battambang was short but intense. I took a nightbus from Sihanoukville for 15$ and arrived at 8am. I used the day to relax a little from the busride and kind of organized my next day. The city itself is not very special, but truely lovable. It shows the other side of Cambodia. The people are more friendly, less Tuk Tuk drivers, and everything is cheaper. Including accomodation you just need about 9$ a day. The next day i shared a Tuk Tuk with 2 french girls, Perrine and Anh. We went to a bamboo train in the morning. Those bamboo trains just have one track and when there is a bamboo train coming from the other direction one has to stop, lift it up from the tracks, wait until the other one is gone and put it back on the tracks again. The ride was about an hour. After that we went to some vegetable farms, fisherman villages and wine farms. On the way we stopped at a tree. First we were a little confused why we are stopping but then we saw that the tree is covered with fruit bats (Flughunde)! Close to that tree there was a street kitchen selling grilled rats, so we decided to have a little snack before lunch. In the afternoon we went to two temples and a Killing Cave. During the Khmer revolution 1975 to 1979 three million Cambodians were killed by the Angkar or Pol Pot, the Killing Cave was one of the many locations where people were killed. For sunset we went to a bat cave. At 6pm thousands!!! of bats flew in schools out of the cave. It lasted 30 minutes, but we left earlier to go to a rice field to see the swarms of bats crossing that one.
The next day we left together to Siem Reap. We shared a room, because it is cheaper than sleeping in a dorm. And that day I started to regret eating the rat...I got sick, big time. For the next day a visit of Angkor Wat was planned, so I tried, but after nearly fainting I decided to go back. I guess I know now why people in Europe don't eat rat^^.
I will try to upload some pictures of Angkor Wat tomorrow!
Ankor Wat, last days of Cambodia
The last days I was sleeping a lot! But I am back on my feet and I am feeling good! Yesterday I went with the girls Perrine and Anh to Ankor Wat for sunrise. We got up at 4:30am took a Tuk Tuk and tried to get a good spot for seeing it. We took some fruits with us for breakfast so we were quite good prepared. We waited about an hour for the actual sunrise and then the sun came up pretty fast!
Sunrise at Ankor Wat.
My little friend Chanel in front of Ankor Wat.
After a nice coffee break (iced coffee with sweet milk) we went into the temple. It is just incredible. There were 4 "ponds" in each corner one. Each symbolized one for the elements (air=horse, water=elephant, fire=lion and earth=human). We had great fun in those ponds immitating animals^^
The next temple was Bayon. One of a kind with all the faces in the stones and all the carvings.
On the way to the Tuk Tuk afterwards we wanted to go to some smaller temple, but it was sooo hot that the monkeys were actually more interesting than another temple^^ We gave him a name: Charlie. So we had him and his friends as long as we had bananas close to our sides.
The last temple for the day was Ta Prohm! Getting on the footsteps of Tomb Raider we explored the temple. It is amazing to see when nature takes back human buildings. The trees were massive, but the building itself as well.
We could'nt really do anything else that day. We were tired and were just thinking about jumping into a pool. Three temples in that heat is quite enough though.
Today I tried frog khmer style. It is tasty but not really filling.
It is my last day. For tomorrow I got a bus ticket to Bangkok for 10$. It will take me about 8 hours including the boarder crossing.
Cambodia is a really nice country to travel. But you should not be in a hurry, because you can suddenly stay at one place longer than you actually wanted.
I stayed a long time in Sihanouk Ville and then Koh Rong. The time was just flying by. The currency itself is at first confusing. You pay in Dollars but everything smaller than 1$ is paid in Rhiel. 1$ = 4000 Rhiel. And the gaps of payment is always in 0.25$. The food is not very spicy and the people are open minded but you still have to be very careful that they don't rip you off. Especially the Tuk Tuk drivers^^
I can't really tell how life is in remote areas or in the north, I guess it is another visit.