5/5/16 - 19/5/16 40 °C
"Hello sirrr, ladyyy. You buy somethiiing?"
"Looking for freee."
"Hello my friend, you want tuk tuk?"
"No thanks. Just walking"
"No thanks, we're good."
"Where you going?"
"You wan go temple?"
After our few days in Kampot we travelled to Sihanoukville. A popular destination for young travellers.
After a bit of a priori research we opted to stay in Otres Beach which was a few kilometres away from the main town and beaches but was supposedly a bit nicer. Boy were we glad with our decision. Otres Beach was pretty spectacular which is more than I could say for the main town and its beaches.
We hired a scooter as soon as we arrived and rode, packs and all, to our accommodation. We had originally booked a fan room which proved to be a massive mistake.
It's fair to say Morgan was not coping with life and after our first night we opted for a move to an air-conditioned room. Best decision ever. I did put wet towels in the fridge to use to cool us down but apparently that wasn't enough. As far as we're concerned right now, aircon is the greatest invention of all-time.
We spent the next four days enjoying the beautiful Otres beach and the evenings in the main town. We also had a day trip to the nearby Ream National Park which I would definitely recommend to anyone who visits Sihanoukville.
After much deliberation we opted not to go to Koh Rong, mostly due to the lack of aircon and limited power there combined with our recent experience with only a fan (just so we don't sound too pathetic about the heat, temperatures have been exceeding 40C).
Because we decided not to go to Koh Rong, we had a few extra days to kill so we decided to go to Battambang as it was on the way to Siem Reap. After sixteen hours on a bus and a transfer in Siem Reap (are you kidding me) we arrived in Battambang.
Battambang is the second largest city in Cambodia and is up for a UNESCO world heritage site accreditation because of its french architecture. It's far more laid back than Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville but there's not a huge amount to do there.
We ended up just having one day there before heading back to Siem Reap. We spent the day on a scooter visting pagodas, some killing caves from the Khmer Rouge reign and some bat caves.
Other notable events included randomly sitting down to dinner with a Canadian man who was living and teaching in Battambang and going to a circus, that wasn't really a circus. I think it normally is a circus but it was a 10 year celebration so all we saw was some miming and a solo stage show which wasn't really our thing, but each to his own.
The highlight of Battambang was watching around one million bats leave their cave at dusk to go out and feed. The population for this particular species is around six million and around half of the population lives within a very small area just outside of Battambang. It was quite spectacular to watch.
Siem Reap and Angkor Wat
Our time in Siem Reap was pretty much centred around the temples of Angkor and the surrounding ruins.
Angkor Wat is actually incredible. It is the largest religious monument in the world and it was built almost 900 years ago. It is absolutely massive and the stone walls are still decorated with amazing detail. It's hard to believe it only took 35 years to build.
Angkor Wat is just one of the ruins that remain of the ancient city of Yaśodharapura (now known as Angkor) which was once upon a time the capitol of the Khmer Empire and one of the largest cities in Asia. So after visiting Angkor Wat we spent the rest of the day checking out other ancient temples and buildings.
It was a stinking hot day and we stuck it out for about 10 hours in the 40 degree heat trying to make the most of our day there. By the end of the day we had drunk over 8 L. It was a monster effort on our behalf (if I do say so myself).
Unsurprisingly, our day at the ruins took it out of us so we didn't do a whole lot with the following two days in Siem Reap. Beer and markets pretty much sums it up.
Siem Reap to Bangkok
Siem Reap marked the end of our time in Cambodia. From there we travelled by bus to Bangkok. The bus ride to Bangkok was an adventure in itself.
We had heard the border crossing into Thailand was bad but honestly it was a shambles. Terrible signage, people and vehicles everywhere and very limited instructions. We had to just follow other tourists through the Cambodian exit point, across 'Limbo' and through the Thailand entrance point in the hope that they knew what they were doing.
Once we got through we had to take a further three vehicles before we finally made it to Bangkok. On the bright side we meet some pretty nice people on our way.
We were introduced to Bangkok with an absolutely mental tuk tuk ride. We've seen some on-road craziness in the past two months but this was next level. It reminded me of a bad American comedy that completely exagerates the craziness of a foreign place, but it was real. And just to top it off, it came with disco lights and some Adele blasting on the sound system.
We ended up spending an entire week in Bangkok which wasn't the plan but there's so much to do there and we had a bunch of things to get sorted before we left for Norway. In our week there we visited about 312 shopping malls and markets, became locals on the trains, walked about 93 km, went to the zoo and ate way too much fast food.
Just a word of advice for you all because I'm good like that: don't go to Bangkok to buy camping gear. We pretty much spent three days trying to find camping gear for Norway and only managed to strike gold the day before we left with a Decathlon shop at a Tesco Extra. A massive relief.
So now we're heading to Norway to go on an epic road trip. Hopefully we'll survive the cold, we've been practicing by setting the aircon to 18 degrees...