Siem Reap, Cambodia
We planned to travel from Don Det to Kratie, approximately 2 hours from the border, a nice manageable trip on a VIP bus but………we had our first travel cock up, we crossed the border OK then waited patiently for the bus to pick us up we rather naively thought someone would tell us when it arrived….no such luck! In hindsight we should probably have checked onboard but we didn’t think at the time.
We were at the border with nowhere to go, another bus was there and the guy in charge told us it only went to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, both hours away, we’d planned to go to both these places but not straight away so we reluctantly paid him too much money and got on the (crowded) bus, we decided to go to Siem Reap
2 other guys had also missed their bus and got on this one which was already fully booked so people ended up sitting on plastic seats in the aisle – a German girl got pretty ****** off about this and made us feel a bit guilty as we had a seat but we’d probably paid more than everyone else so we snuggled in. We (I mean me – Ed) were pretty annoyed at ourselves for such a schoolboy error, we usually roll with the punches, make the best of the situation etc but it was a bit hard to swallow.
Our annoyance was not helped by the bus then travelling to Kratie, our intended destination, the guy had scammed us by making us buy a ticket to Siem Reap, we then had a decision, do we write off the money we’d paid and get off or face countless hours on the bus? We chose the latter. Turns out it takes nearly 14 hours on the bus! Including the border crossing we were sat on our ***** for over 16 hours!
We arranged a place to stay with a tout on the bus, we arrived at Siem Reap at 12.30am so we wanted to keep things simple, our hotel, Siem Reap Temple Villa, turned out to be surprisingly nice for the $12 per night we were paying, we had cable tv, air con and a pool! Things were looking up!
Siem Reap is the home of Angkor Wat, a massive complex of ancient temples we’d been looking forward to exploring, it covers many square kilometres so we opted for a 3 day ticket so we could take our time, Rap, the guy off the bus also drove a tuk tuk and he agreed to drive us around for the next 3 days.
We saw the sunset from one temple first then the next day got up at an ungodly hour to watch the sunrise over Angkor Thom, it was a great experience, the complexes all had something different and despite Sharlie not being allowed into one area as she was dressed as a harlot, we got back to the hotel each evening knackered but happy.
Siem Reap has great nightlife and even has a pub street where we were delighted to discover they serve draught beer for 50c per glass! We ate at the night market and had a Khmer BBQ, which in the heat was probably not the best idea we’ve ever had but it was cheap and fun to prepare if a little bland taste wise, we also partook in some frozen margaritas and other cheap cocktails – gotta love happy hours!
Unfortunately Sharlie came down with a case of travellers’ tum on our second day which meant she couldn’t take full advantage of cheap beer and I’d know how she felt soon after, despite that we soldiered on. In all we spent 5 nights in Siem Reap, we had a day at the end to recouperate after all the exploring before we headed to our next destination, the capital city of Phnom Penh.