So we’re half way through Cambodia now, currently chilling out at our hostel in Sihanoukville. So far its been so good – Claire favourite place so far, and a lot more has happened compared to Laos.
Crossing the border into Cambodia was simple enough, $40 USD to do it. We also had to have our throats scanned with a laser to see if we had malaria or dengue fever. None of us did, so that was a relief. It took 8 hours to get into Siem Reap, our first stop, from the border. In this time we learnt some phrases like “hello” and “thank you”. An important one to learn was “cheers”, which we had to be very careful with. “Jon muey” means cheers, “june muey” means f**k you.. Best not slur our words once we’ve had a few drinks.
Sam was leaving us tonight, so we went down the famous ‘Pub Street’ in Siem Reap for a few drinks with some people we met (such as Jenna, who has been with us for a short while now). We ended up in a skybar, where the roof was open and we could see the city below us. Turns out the owners of this place were so happy with the design, that they built an exact copy of this skybar elsewhere in the city. It was a good night, but a shame for Sam to be leaving us.
The next day we went to explore Angkor Watt, which was quite good with our tour guide. We were the only ones on it, so had a personal tour around many of the temples in the area as well as Angkor Watt, the largest religious settlement on Earth. It was good, but a long tiring day after the antics of the night before.
The boobs are shiny as apparently everyone rubs them “for luck”
We did the homestay next (where we were joined by Shanelle), which was so different compared to the homestay in Laos. On our way we stopped off at a stand on the side of the road selling insects and BBQ items like rat and crickets. Believe it or not Claire actually ate a cricket and some rat (I didn’t – my stomach wasn’t feeling great anyway). Apparently it tastes like chicken. Claire swallowed a handful of mints and won’t be trying it again anyway. We also stopped off and did the bamboo train, a small train track that locals use to get rice and people across the area.
Then we picked up some pencils and books for the children in a nearby school. That evening we took the books to the local school, played football with the kids nearby before heading back to have a “group bucket shower” (which is literally just a bucket of water for a shower). On the way to the school the homestay’s daughter ‘Nina’ joined us and wouldn’t let go of Claire’s hand the whole way! Finally we also got taught how to make our own spring rolls that evening, and they formed our dinner that night. A simple, but fun experience.
Children singing us their national anthem – we had to sing ours !
The day after a 12 hour journey to Sihanoukville, we had booked a snorkelling trip on a private boat. It was a good day, and good fun. We did some snorkelling first, before heading onto a nearby beach where we chilled out for the afternoon. We did see some stuff when snorkelling, but the weather wasn’t 100% so it wasn’t particularly clear. When it was time to leave we were told that the weather was so bad we couldn’t go to the nearby port, and had to go for nearly 2 hours to the harbour on the far side of the peninsula. We were stuck on a boat with massive waves, constantly splashing into the boat where we all got soaked through by the water and rain. It was a really gruelling experience, and one where my lack of sunscreen became apparent, as that evening my sunburn was starting to kick in. The next day, I was covered in blisters across my shoulders and top of my back. It was hell, unable to lie on by back, or to twist too much, wearing a t-shirt was pain, which lasted for many days. Not fun.
The next few days were spent chilling out – the boat trip had taken it out of all of us. We did end up in one restaurant called “Done Right” one night, which was anything but! The guy behind the bar was so high on something that he constantly got our orders wrong, then the kitchen staff messed up our food (though apparently they hadn’t been paid in 3 months). When it came to the bill we refused to pay for the food, but the drinks we paid for. Our bill came to $29, but the guy behind the bar was so high he tried charging us $13. We thought it best we pay the right amount and maybe the staff would get paid!
The last few days we’ve spent on the island of Koh Rong, about a 45 minute speedboat ride away from the mainland. It was a fantastic little island, with white sands, turquoise blue water, and no roads, so we didn’t get pestered for Tuk Tuk’s! The water has been so warm around here we can literally walk into the sea at any time. On the first night we decided to go on a pub crawl, which was good fun, and amounted in everyone going skinny dipping at 2 in the morning. never done it before, and its certainly something we can tick off our bucket list!
The second day we went on another boat trip (with plenty of sunscreen this time) where we snorkelled in really clear waters (the weather was better). We also did some fishing, before chilling out on coconut island for a couple of hours for sunset. The rain was coming in by this point though, so it was mostly cloudy by this point. After dark we went swimming with glowing plankton. You can’t see anything from the boat, but once you were in the water you could see your arms and legs glowing as you moved them around. A surreal experience, but definitely a highlight of Koh Rong.
And that’s it for now. We left Koh Rong earlier today, where its been pouring down with rain all day (glad to see it waited for us to leave before it started), and we’re now sat in our hostel. My sunburn has died down enough that it no longer hurts, and tomorrow we’re back on the bus with Stray to Kampot!