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Published: June 11th 2017
Greetings from Cambodia! It's about 5 pm and we have some free time before we meet our group at 6:30 for an orientation walk into town and dinner. It has been a long travel day. We left our hotel in Bangkok this morning at 6 am, then drove for an hour and a half or so before stopping at kind of a gas station/rest stop where we got some delicious iced coffee at Amazon Coffee (it's evidently a chain because we stopped at one on our way back from Ayutthaya too), and some snacks for breakfast at 7-11. (Thailand is full of 7-11s). Plus to use the "happy loo" (Sowann calls bathrooms the happy loo). This one was the fairly standard Southeast Asian squat variety which is ok once you get used to it.
We then continued for a few more hours to the Cambodian consulate in Aranyaprathet, just before the border crossing, to enable people who hadn't got a Cambodian E-visa in advance to get one (we got our E-visa in advance which worked out well). You can get the visas at the border crossing but Sowann prefers going to the consulate as it is easier and faster.
Susan on the van
Yes, she had a beer at 6:30 am!
We then arrived at the Aranyprathet/Poipet border crossing where we left our Thai driver and our two comfortable vans, and continued on foot. This border crossing is notorious for scams and we were very grateful to have Sowann to lead us through. Leaving Thailand was simple and fast, and then we were in the long lineup at Cambodia immigration. After having our photos and fingerprints taken, we were finally in Cambodia! I had a few tense moments waiting for Susan, who was the last to come through, worried something had gone wrong, but no, just slow immigration officers.
Our Intrepid mini bus isn't allowed right at the border, so we took another bus for about 10 minutes, then joined our mini bus and driver, who will be with us until Phnom Penh. The mini bus isn't bad, but not as nice as the one we had on our Peregrine Turkey tour a few years back.
We drove for a few more hours, then stopped for lunch (sweet and sour fish and veggies in oyster sauce plus Angkor beer) and happy loo (this one was much happier being a nice Western style toilet). Most of us also got a
Lori in the van
Good bye Bangkok!
coconut ice cream cone, and then we were off to Siem Riep. The weather was quite nice up to this point, but it started to rain and continued for the last few hours of the journey.
The landscape is very green and lush here in Cambodia, lots of rice fields and palm trees.
We are at the Claremont Hotel, our home for the next 3 days. It is a nice place, and we have a big comfortable room. You can get a massage here for $8/hr which we will definitely take advantage of!
Tomorrow we meet at 8 am and head out to Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, and Banteay Srei. We can't wait!
Oh yes, I wanted to say thanks to everyone who has left comments! We really like to get them and to know that our family and friends are enjoying the blog.
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