Last known location: London, England

Archive of posts about Cambodia


Fishy Feet and Tiring Temples

After our never ending boat journey from Battambang, we arrived at Siem Reap docks. This is about 10km out of town so we had to get a tuk-tuk to the centre. There were about a dozen tuk-tuk drivers all offering to take us for $1, which isn’t bad value, but the trade-off is that they then want you to hire them to spend the next day touring the temples at Angkor Wat – the main (possibly only) reason for visiting the town in the first place. We had no intention of agreeing to this, but somehow got guilt-tripped into to it by our driver – he seemed friendly and spoke good English, so we didn’t mind too much and agreed a price for the day and a pickup time.

In the middle of Siem Reap are a couple of nice little streets with plenty of good Khmer and Western restaurants, so we had a quick dinner there and then both had a fish massage. I think it’s almost compulsory for anyone who’s been to Thailand, and it seems to have made it to Siem Reap. You basically put you feet in a fish tank, and dozens of tiny little fish nibble off the dead skin and other attached mank! It tickles a bit at first but feels quite nice after a while. We weren’t convinced by the result, but we did get a free beer so not too many complaints! Click here to read more…


Battambang and the Bamboo Train

After leaving Phnom Penh our next destination was the sleepy old French colonial town of Battambang, in the north west of the country. This meant yet another fun bus journey along what are generously called ‘National Highways’, dodging cows, buffalo, dogs, chickens and small children, all of whom seem to avoid getting run over – but only just! On arriving in Battambang we struck lucky with our hotel; the nicest we’d had in Cambodia so far, with a roof terrace where we spent the early evening watching the sun set over the town.

There wasn’t a huge number of sights to see, but the next morning we hired another tuk-tuk driver and headed off for our first stop which was the Bamboo Train. This is less grand than it sounds, and is really just the abandoned railway line built by the French in the 1800’s being put to use by the locals. A metal frame resting on 2 sets of wheels, rigged to a go-kart engine is probably the best way to describe it, and they are used to move goods and people from village to village along the line, as well as taking tourists for a ride for a slightly extortionate fee! It was all quite pointless but good fun and surprisingly fast. Since there is only one set of tracks, meeting someone coming the other way means one of the drivers having to completely dismantle their train to let the other one pass, but thankfully we always seemed to get the people we met to do it instead of us! Click here to read more…


Next Stop Phnom Penh

We reluctantly left Koh Rong on Wednesday 5th and headed back to Sihanoukville where we were hoping to catch an onward bus to Phonm Penh.  Luckily the journey was a lot smoother than the way there, and on a much larger boat, so we didn’t suffer from any seasickness!  However, we didn’t get back to Sihanoukville till gone 2 and the 2.30 bus was full so we ended up staying one more night there.  We just wandered around town for the afternoon and spent the evening watching The Killing Fields (a film about the Khmer Rouge takeover) in a local bar.

The next day we were up bright and early to get back to the capital.  We travelled on one of the nicer buses – a big double decker with sufficient leg room for Dan to keep his legs out of the aisle!  We arrived in Phnom Penh at 2ish and got one of the many tuk tuk’s to the Europe Guesthouse, a really lovely place just near the river but somewhat close to the red light district! There were some very suspicious bars just down the road from our hotel! Click here to read more…


Prior Engagements

Dan: After 10 days or so back home, getting more than our annual fix of snow and turkey, we flew back out to south-east Asia. We arrived on the other side of the Vietnam-Cambodia border in Phnom Penh, only a couple of hundred miles from where we’d left. The 19 hour flight wasn’t the most fun we’ve ever had, but we did manage to get a couple of hours sleep at Seoul airport!

We arrived quite late in the evening and the city was very quiet, everyone seems to go to bed very early here and get up at the crack of dawn. Next morning we were straight on the bus down to Sihanoukville on the south coast, where we were to spend new year. The coach wasn’t in the best of shape and had a fairly serious suspension problem which meant that it rolled violently from side to side every time we went over the tiniest bump! During the journey i also discovered a box of Belgian truffles in my bag – a left over Christmas present i’d brought along. They didn’t seem to like the tropical heat though and i disgusted Gem by drinking the molten remains from the foil bag they came in! As usual the journey took half as long again as we were told it would, so we arrived in the early evening in time for dinner at our hotel, and an early night to catch up on some missed sleep. Click here to read more…