Siem Reap

February 6, 2010 at 5:34 pm | Posted in Cambodia | Leave a comment

The journey from ko  pha ngan:

45 minute dirt road journey from hotel to pier (then 2 hour wait); 3 hour ferry ride to surat thani (then 2 hour wait); 10 hour bus journey to Bangkok; taxi ride to bus station; 4 hour bus journey; 20 minute tuk tuk ride to dodgiest border ever:

the cambodian-thai border town of poipet is an absolute dump. It’s  a place where a lot of thais go to gamble. poipet is rife with scams and sketchy people. for a start the tuk tuk driver took us to a fake embassy where they tried to get us to buy a visa for double the price. (kelly: we met some idiots who had been duped there, but i don’t blame them- the fake embassy had uniforms and all. Even the real embassy tried unsuccessfully to jack up the price and we had to pay a small bribe so our passports wouldn’t be withheld. oh yeah, then we had to go to this border crossing room that had a tree growing through it and rotting food). After getting through customs, you’re greeted by loads of taxi drivers trying to get your business. After negotiating a price, we had to get in the taxi in some dodgy back alleyway (i think that the police have some slice of the industry where they take a portion of the profits). After the 2hour taxi ride to siem reap we were greeted by a tuk tuk driver and tout who tried to convince us that the hotel we had booked was a dump surrounded by drug dealers and that they knew plenty of better places. After 30 hours we finally got to chill out in our hotel room.

we stopped at siem reap, like most people, to enjoy the temples of angkor wat; it was a nice little city but not that much to do other than a few tourist markets. (kelly: i thought the markets were really good though and the town was fun to walk around.)

my really embarrassing hat that we accidently-on-purpose ditched later on when it starting falling to pieces. i almost used it as a barf bag at one point. oh, and the pic also shows the balcony from our hotel. the place we stayed was good minus the crap free breakfast and this crazy changing of rooms because of no hot water. we did become penpals with a cambodian kid that worked there.

the landmine museum was interesting. It was run by a guy who had fought on both sides of the war. His job was to plant mines for the vietnamese during the war. He now clears mines from all over the countryside and has made a museum of all the artillery he has accumulated.

 It is estimated that there are somewhere between 3 and 6 million mines still in cambodia, obviously a huge danger for the locals. We saw a lot of amputees around.
the museum was so unofficial, which made it better in a way. you could touch most of the mines and stuff and things were just lying around.

on our way back from angkor wat we kept seeing this random stuff wrapped in bamboo and sold on the sides of streets. not sure if it was even food, the lady let us try some – it was a kind of coconut candy with a peanut butter taste. weird, but good, at least for the first couple bites.

bye-bye siem reap.

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