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Mishna 'Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves' Henry David Thoreau

Cambodia Basix - Intrepid Tour

CAMBODIA | Wednesday, 26 September 2007 | Views [2299] | Comments [2]

A rundown of our Intrepid Tour of Cambodia!

Siem Reap

I love watching the motorbikes here, they can literally fit a whole family or a whole shop on them. You'll see newborn babies on them too but it all seems so normal.

We got to see the amazing Angkor Wat temples (there are actually about 8 temples but after a few you can get a bit templed out!) My favourite one was the jungle temple (Ta Prohm) this one has been taken over by trees and their roots! It's an amazing sight and was used in the film Tomb Raider (the boys enjoyed standing where Angelina Jolie had once been!) I also like Bayon which has an incredible amount of faces on the towers. Another great thing about these temples is that they let you climb them and wander around inside, they'd never let you do that in England!!

Another day we took a boat down the river to see the floating village. Everybody lives on or in the water, even the school floats and has a football field on the roof. I was amazed by the amount of house boats that had televisions playing and also amused when a 2 year old boy tried to sell me a beer from a passing boat.

Afterwards we went to a local bar, laid in hammocks and drank the local beer (heaven!). Hazel daringly tried a local dish of cooked water snake, eggs and all! Definitely interesting but I decided to stick with my beer!

Kompong Cham - by the Mekong River

We only spent one night here but it was nice to be staying somewhere peaceful! A few doors down from our hotel was a restaurant run by a british man, and they did the best fish and chips and fried breakfasts!!! Not quite traditionally Cambodian but nice for a rare occasion!!

Some of our group rented bikes but we took a tuk tuk to the man (Phnom Proh)and woman (Phnom Sray)hills. "A wide range of legends surrounding the building of these two hills exist, most of which centre around the men being stupid, lazy or generally slack, thus allowing the women to build a bigger hill" Around Phnom Proh there were a lot of local children and monkeys. I bought some bananas off a local woman and gave them to the children. Some of them ate them, some gave them to the monkeys and some threw them at the monkeys!! they looked like they were having fun and kept posing for photos! After climbing the 200+ steps to the top of Phnom Sray the heavens opened and the biggest rain / thunder storm began. We waited for a while but it didn't stop so we ran for it and ended up pushing the tuk tuk back up the hill through the mud!!! a lot of fun actually!!

Chambok Eco Village Home Stay

The drive to Chambok was really pretty as we were finally in the hills and everything began to look a lot more tropical.

We ate as soon as we arrived at a communal area. The food was basic but really nice consisting of meat, veg and rice. Afterwards we went to see which family we would be staying with (the whole community has space available for eco tour groups and study groups).

We sat outside and drank the beers we had brought with us, it was a really nice social gathering for our group. The host family were also there but did not speak a lot of English, even so, we shared our beer with the men (women do not seem to openly drink in Cambodia) which seemed to make them happy.

By 7pm it was pitch black, they gave us battery lamps which lasted a few hours and attracted many species of bugs!! The family went to bed about 8:30pm but it seriously felt more like midnight!! We had to share a torch to find the outside toilet as by that time the oil lamp had burned out, all fun and games, though!!! I think I preferred not knowing what else was in the toilet with me!!!

By 10pm the beers were empty and we all went to bed. The sleeping accommodation was a wooden room on stilts, we each had mattress and mozzie nets so it was really nice. I didn't sleep too well that night, the countryside is really noisy and it absolutely pissed it down all night!! At about 3am (I'm guessing) there was a loud noise in the yard of a pig squealing which made us jump out of our skin!! Then at 4am the cockerels started crowing and it definitely wasn't dawn. I finally gave up at 6am and went for a walk, it was nice to see the how locals started off their day. The squealing pig was now laid out by the gate in their make shift butchers and was making them some money (yes I was a little freaked out by this but I guess it's a different country with a whole different way of living!)

Sihanoukville

The seaside resort!! Just like home......it rained the entire time we were here!!! Even so, it's a really nice place and our guide's favourite! He's such a local here which was nice for us as we got to eat at the local restaurants, go to a restaurant opening and try and do the traditional Cambodian dancing!! (Mr T is the manager and they have the best Chicken Amok!! and did I mention there was also free beer for the entire night!?!)

We went on our first motorbike ride here, I don't think any of them are actually taxis and you don't get a helmet, even so, I grinned like a 5 year old the entire time!!! It was great fun!!!

The only downside to Sihanoukville was that I came down with something and felt rotten for a few days...

Phnom Penh

The first thing we did after arriving here was take a trip to the killing fields. A definite must when travelling in this country, but it didn't help me understand why? We stopped off at a prison on the way which had once been a school, innocent people of all ages were taken here and tortured. If they survived that ordeal they would then be taken to the nearby killing fields. A truly horrific sight to see the skulls stacked up in the monument, there are also shreds of clothing on the floor. I find it hard to understand that this all took place in the 1970s and that there really was no reason behind it.

I didn't take to Phnom Penh straight away as I'm really not a fan of big cities. Luckily, having a guide from Cambodia who was always keen to socialise, we got to see some areas that we probably wouldn't have come across on our own.

For Hazel's birthday we all went for a night out in the town and ended up at a Cambodian night club!! which turned out to be very popular with gay tourists!! Raj was wondering why he was getting so much attention!! hahaha

Our hotel here is a little odd but nice. Our room is kind of off the balcony, the weird thing is that there is a huge vent which goes through to our guide's room. Hmmmmmm not so nice if both showers are in use at the same time!

My favourite places in Phnom Penh were a restaurant and a cafe. The restaurant was a non profit one and run alongside one of the local orphanages. The older children helped out and the younger children performed amazing traditional dances. We were told they had just arrived back from Japan where a business man had paid for them to all go there and perform!! An amazing place and the children all looked so happy!!

The cafe, cleverly I don't know it's name or where it was, but we had to climb the fire escapes to get to the roof and then we sat on floor cushions, ate crepes and drank healthy ginger water!! bliss!

I miss Cambodia!!! xx

Tags: adventures

Comments

1

You seem to be having a great, action packed, time in Cambodia. It is nice to read of all your escapades!! Speak again soon, love, Mumsy xxx

  Mumsy Oct 2, 2007 11:02 PM

2

Just a correction, women do drink beer in Cambodia, they just do it in a more private setting and not with foreign visitors. I have many friends who are women who are very big drinkers.

  Paddy Noble May 27, 2008 7:04 PM

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