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bee’s Travel Diary

Friday, 14 Jul 2006

Location: Siam Reap/ Phom Penh/Kampot, Cambodia

MapHi all,

Wow it's been ages since I last wrote. I've whizzed by Cambodia and am now back in Thailand on the last leg of my travels... :(

I visited 37 amazing temples out of the 128 in Angkor within 3 days!! So a bit templed out. It was really fun though doing 12hrs of temples. Angkor was really touristy but I managed to trek through it all and avoid tourists in my photos.

On our fourth day in Siam Reap, we visited a floating village. Amazing to see life afloat water. Schools, supermarkets, homes, offices and restaurants all floating around on a lake. I got some good pics.

Next we headed to Phom Penh, Cambodia's capital city. As soon as we arrived we headed straight out to see the Killing fields of Cheung Ek and the genocidal museum of S-21, which was a detention centre of the Khmer Rouge victims before they were sent to their deaths in the Killing Fields. A really tramatic experience that left everyone in a sullen and sedate mood, but it had to be done for all those people who suffered needlessly.

Needing to raise spirits the next day, we visited Watt Phom and the Cambodian Grand palace where the King of Cambodia actually resides. Talk about blinged out!!!
Later we went to visit the huge markets in Phom Penh. So many things to entice the average shopper. I went a bit mad buying things and not wanting to leave. Our moto driver got a bit fed up having to carry around all my shopping.

Catching a really early bus after completing all the sites of Phom Penh we headed to the southern state of Kampot.
Bit of a kafuffle getting there as the main bridge to the city had collapsed. Kampot is a ghost town. I swear it must have a total population of 100 people.
We went to visit the crocodile and Elephant caves as soon as we arrived. As you can prob tell, I'm trying to cram in as many sites as possible before I leave.

The next day we visited the abandoned hill station of the Bokor. It has a really creepy abandoned hotel situated at the top of the 2 and half hour bumpy drive hill. The hotel was built in 1930s but was abandoned when the french left and used as a detention centre during the Khmer Rouge's reign of terror. People used to be imprisoned in the swimming pool with a wire mesh to contain them all in. After their confession was withdrawn (usually after days and weeks of torture) they were thrown off a cliff. The day we visited it was really misty which added to the creepy effect.
Our tour of Bokor ended with a really nice cruise down the river back into town.

Next stop Sihanoukville (Kompong Som) a costal town in the south. Unfortunately, our luck ran out and it rained all the time in Sihanoukville. So no beach for us. We visited the cascades of Kbal Chan instead. I was still trying to ge used to the US dollar/ Cambodian Riel currency which beacame really confusing.

On our last day in Cambodia we decided to take a bus from Sihanoukville to the Thai border. Anticipating to arrive on Ko Chang on the same day. My God! That trip began at 7am and ended in Ko Chang at 9pm. The roads to the thai border were hurrendous. At times our driver asked everyone to get off the bus and walk through the ankle deep mud. I'll post a pic of it so you can see for yourself. Nearly all the cars got stuck in the mud and had to be toed out by catapillars.

Being in a a big group all heading to Ko Chang, we all arrived at the same time and chose to stay in the same hotel!! Wow, how I love the beaches. So nice and chilled again. Just like re-living Palolem all over again.

Today we went on a jungle trek in the untouched central part of Ko Chang. Man, did I go through the wars. Trainers are really no good. Climbing up 45 degree angled hills of mud, rocks and rivers. I was the worst at this. With the earth slipping beneath my feet, it was a real struggle to keep on my feet. Ok, so David hadn't made a complete trekker out of me, as I wasn't prepared for that trek. But it was definately a worth while trip.

I have befriended the local hairdresser who is my new Thai best friend. I had a 4hour appointment with her yesterday, and after today's trek I had to return for a quick repair job. Her name is Ohm and she's been teaching me to speak Thai. She has promised to take us out in her car to see authentic Ko Chang chefs cooking food.Looking forward to it.

Will keep you all posted on the next events in Chaing Mai (north thailand) soon.

Bee x