Beaches and border

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January 6th 2008
Published: January 9th 2008
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We decided to travel in luxury to Kampot this time and got a taxi - really just because taxi 2 hours and bus 5. Taxi goes a different route and yet again I was amazed by the scenery coming down to the coast. If only it was not for the rubbish the place would look just wonderful. It is not till you come somewhere like this that you realise how much damage plastic bags have done.

We had been looking forward to our favourite curry all day, but on arriving in Kampot we discovered the restaurant was shut for there day off..... Still Kampot is relaxing after PP, we ended up having a very social night with all the expat bar/hotel owners. Hung around doing housekeeping till lunch (just so we could have a curry), then a taxi onto Sihanoukville.

What a shock, even though we had been warned that it was not as it sounds, we did not know how bad it would be. Beach is narrow with bars and guest houses just shoved on every inch. I reckon there are more seats, loungers etc than the mediterranean. It would have been wonderfull a few years ago. Still bit late now, thought we would stay anyway as there are national parks we want to see.

Finding accommodation was not easy, even though there is so much, there are even more people. In the end we ended up paying $25 a night, with no hot water and not that flash. At night it is very noisy and you have no chance of sleeping before midnight (tourist noise and music) then at 5am the locals start with builidng works......

Off to Ream National Park for the day, a very pleasant outing, although they really don't quite get the idea yet of National Parks. Although there are rangers and you are asked to pick up your rubbish there is still a lot around. Lots of locals still drag net fish in the national park and as the area is known for dolphins, eagles, kingfishers etc the depleting of the fish is not really going to enhance the National Park.

The boat had a very load motor and just sped along up the centre of a very wide estuary - no chance to see the birds everyone had gone to see - still scenery good and pleasant. Went to a lovely long deserted beach, just beautiful, clear water etc, not like main beach. Then off through the jungle to a village for lunch. It was interesting seeing the rice paddies and the workers in this very isolated environment. The kids use plastic bags as shoes - we think from the way they were behaving that it was a fashion statement, not a useful thing.

Lunch - fresh big chunck fish with no bones, salad and bread. It was lovely, but I just hope it was not dolphin. (we were told it was tuna but it definitely was not).

Trip back was brilliant thanks to Steve. He was spotted the Irawaddy Dolphins on each occasion. There were quite a few of them and they really performed for us. There are apparently only about 70 left so it was amazing to see them. Quite different to our bottlenose, with a short squat fin and very round head. They came very close and were blowing. We also spotted 2 types of Kingfisher and 2 fish eagles.

When we got back we went for a drink and meal with a british couple that have been travelling for more than a year. It got late and we did not manage to book our bus out, so had a lazy day on the beach.

We were very grateful to leave though, the music second night not stop till 5am. Very crowded ugly place. It is just like the South of Spain, turning into a Brit hang out (fish and chips) with the addition of heaps of beggars and sellers. It was particularly sad to see the young pretty girls with the very old large European men.

On arriving by tuk tuk at bus station we realised we had paid way to much for the tickets, - everywhere in town sold them for $13 but when you got to bus station you realised they were only $7. Trip was interesting. First off along the road for around an hour, then 4 of us going to Koh Kong got ousted off onto the road side at a junction. We had no idea what was coming next. After about 30 mins a bus turned up on other side of road and tooted at us - we got the gist and trotted over.

Next leg was quite short, unload again, bags included and hike over a new bridge to another bus the other side. (Could not quite work that out as bridge almost finished and cars went over). Off again - yet another short leg. This time to a couple of punts with planks between, bags and around 30 people on very small space. There were lots of large jelly fish in the water too, although no idea if dangerous or not. Next section a little longer, up over ranges, lots of hairpin bends. The driver was actually very cautious and went at a snails pace up hill and round corners but if he got a straight down stretch he really put his foot down so as to get a run up the other side.

Next stop a car ferry or sorts. This was quite funny when a ute reversing on stalled half way and could not get it started again. The boat owner called over a large truck to push it on but just as the truck was within inches the ute became Herbie like and started.

Next leg also long and windy with valleys and large rivers - beautiful vistas (on the side we wern't so no photos much). Next bridge looked complete as we were approaching it and we all cheered. But bus got only half way across and then it stopped. Out again and walk the rest to yet another bus. This was it and another short ride we finally arrived in Koh Kong. This journey of around 140km had taken us from 7.45am till 3.30pm......
Next a taxi to the border, then a mini bus to Trat. Finally arriving in Trat at 5pm.

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9th January 2008

Beaches and Border
Hi Guys Haooy New Year. Your trip sounds and looks fascinating, thanks for the updates Enjoy! Warm Regards Sue

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