Kampong Cham and Kratie

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October 5th 2010
Published: June 3rd 2012
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5th Oct: UP at 6:45, did all the usual stuff before waiting for my pick up at 8:30, however it was half an hour late and then we went round the world picking people up. It's annoying going round the same streets several times. Got to the bus station well after 9:30 (departure time) but it was okay as the bus didn't leave til after 10. The bus journey was fine, about 5 hours. Only thing I hate is the amount of breaks that they have, it's only a 5 hour journey one break would be enough, not two, and we could get to where we want to be quicker. Rant over!

Arrived in Kampong Cham about 3. Got a tuk-tuk to take me to a hotel. It was really nice, apparantly its where all the big brass stay when they come to Kampong Cham. Anyway it was lovrly and only about $7 or $8 dollars a night. Sorted my bus ticket for the next day as, this was only a quick overnight stay to break up the long bus journey to Kratie. Went for lunch at Smile Restuarant. It was nice, but the tuna melt I ordered had very little tuna in it.

With the couple of hours I had left of daylight I went on a small tour around Kampong Cham with my tuk-tuk driver from earlier. My first stop was an Angkor style ruin. I thought I wouldn't be thast bothered about this after just being at Angkor Wat a few days earlier, but it was really nice. Wat Nokor's legend is about a baby boy from Kampong Cham that was eaten a large fish, which swam down the Mekong to the coast of China and was caught there. The baby boy was still alive in the fish's stomach and went back to Kampong Cahm bringing with him many Chinese followers. The temple dates back to the 11th century and they have recently added lots of artwork, depicting religious stories.

Phnom Bpros and Phnom Srei, Man and Woman Hills, were my next stop. I walked to the top ofthe hill on Phnom Bpros, which has quite a few wild monkeys loitering about. THankfully my tuk-tuk driver was lovely and scared them all off for me. Had a look around the temple at the top. Watch the monks praying and banging the drum. Had to leave when they started doing that because it was too loud. At the bottom of the hill there, it was kind of like a theme park dedicated to Buddha. There was a lot of big statues depicting the stories of Buddha and they all looked brand new and were brightly painted. On a more sombre note there was also a stupa filled with remains from victims of the Khmer Rouge.

As darkness had started to arrive I was taken back to the hotel, where since the room was so nice I didn't want to leave. So ended up watching a film on tv, before going for a late dinner at a restaurant near the hotel.

6th Oct: Up early and out for breakfast. Got gypped at the cafe the cafe I went to as I asked for a big bottle of water, so I could take the rest with me for the bus trip and thebloke gave me Evian. Got a moto to the bus station ready for the bus to arrive at 9. However the bus didn't arrive until 11. Very bored sitting on the street waiting for it to arrive. I dont have a great deal of patience. When the bus turned up it was the most decrepid, so far of my trip and was filthy. Cambodia had previously surprised me by how good and cheap the transport had been. On the seats across from me there was a mopther and her 4 daughters, how they all managed to fit on the seat, I still can't work it out! One of the kids (the cutest, looked like one of my old students) spewed and I got a bit splash back on my leg. Nice! Bus alos got a flat tyre, so we had to stop for a whie, whilst they fixed it. All in all, not a great journey and I was glad to ge to Kratie.

Got dropped off at a hotel n decided just to stay there for ease and we were only there for one night. Had got talking to the only other foreigner on the bus and after dumping our stuff in our rooms, had some lunch in the hotel. Also sorted our bus tickets for Laos for tomorrow. Ten me and Ian, (the guy I met on the bus) went to watch dolphions on the Mekong. The tuk-tuk ride to the boat was nice as we went through loads of villages, so got to peek at Cambodian village life. The boat ride up (or down?) the Mekong was lovely. It was really relaxing and a nice way to spend the afternoon and early evening, especially after the stress of the bus journey to Kratie. However we didn't really see many dolphins, nevermind. Plus the sunset was beautiful out on the river.

Ended up going to one of the food stalls opposite the hotel for dinner. It was nice as it was on the bank of the river. Despite asking for two plates of food we were only given one, and on the plus side only charged for one. We tried asking for more food but the guy, who ran the stall wouldn't give us any, maybe he wanted to shut up shop. So with hunger still in our bellies we set off to find some more food in Kraite. Having walked around for a while up and down deserted streets, we couldn't find anything. The town was dead. We stopped at a random guesthouse near our hotel for more beer instead. Not looking forward to the very early start in the morning, but excited for Laos!

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