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Asia » Cambodia » Central » Kampong Thom January 2nd 2019

Today we headed to Kampong Thom, a small town which is used as a base to visit the nearby Sambor Prei Kuk temples (recently made a world heritage site). Our bus wasn’t until 1230 so we got to enjoy another leisurely morning first. After breakfast we packed, I went for a swim in the rain, we read a bit and then checked out. For some strange reason you cannot buy a bus ticket to Kampong Thom. Instead you buy it to Siem Reap and ask to be dropped off early. We struggled to find out where the drop off point is but it’s opposite the Arunus Hotel in the centre of the town for all the bus companies. We travelled with Giant Ibis again, finding them professional, safe and comfortable, albeit more expensive than the alternatives. ... read more
Interesting fellow road users

Asia » Cambodia » South » Phnom Penh January 1st 2019

After a late night last today was a very lazy day. We had a leisurely breakfast and then spent the morning reading and booking accommodation for the next leg of the journey. For lunch we headed out to the luxury Raffles Hotel for afternoon tea. We were sat down in the very plush elephant bar and ordered a traditional tea (they also offer a Khmer alternative). The tea is just $15 each (that’s the same price as their cheapest drinks so a good way to get a nosey at the hotel). I was very impressed with it - we had plenty of tea, little sandwiches, warm scones and tiny cakes all served on 3 tired plates. It wasn’t the most filling tea I’ve ever had but it was delicious and very well done. After tea I ... read more
Tea time!

Asia » Cambodia » South » Phnom Penh December 31st 2018

This morning we walked along the river front to the National Museum. It’s only a 2km walk from our hotel but being so hot and humid we stopped for an iced drink before going in. The museum costs $10 for entry and a further $5 for an audio guide. Personally I think it’s very overpriced. The museum itself is interesting with mostly religious items from the pre-Angkor (Buddhist and Hindu) and Angkor (Buddhist) eras. There’s very little from more recent times and not much that explains activities of daily life and how people used live. Personally I find how people lived more interesting than the religious artefacts. The museum is built around a beautiful courtyard with lily ponds containing fish and this is a calm & quiet place to relax. If you go I would give ... read more
The Royal Palace
The Throne Room
New Years Eve

Asia » Cambodia » South » Phnom Penh December 30th 2018

This morning was very interesting but upsetting and somewhat depressing. After breakfast we got a ‘grab’ taxi to the genocide museum. This museum is in the site of the old S21 prison, used by the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s. It was originally built as a high school and the plain buildings surrounded by houses in the middle of a city seem out of place with what occurred there. We chose to get an audio guide which was well worth the extra cost. The Khmer Rouge came into power by force in 1975. Initially most people were pleased the corrupt monarchy had been overthrown. Within hours the soldiers were ‘evacuating’ Phnom Penh and sending it’s inhabitants to work in the countryside instead. Families were split up and anyone who resisted killed. Once in the countryside people ... read more
Genocide museum
Genocide museum
Central market

Asia » Cambodia » South » Kampot December 29th 2018

The sun was finally shining again this morning. After enjoying a good breakfast we hired a couple of kayaks from our hotel and went for a paddle around the ‘Green Cathedral’. This short route takes just over an hour and goes off the main river and round a loop of narrow waterways overhung with palms. It was good fun, although it was noticeable that large areas where being cleared. Apparently it’s being prepared for more, large scale, Chinese construction. It seems like they’re destroying all the pretty places! Returning from our paddle I enjoyed a swim before changing, packing and checking out. We got a tuk tuk into town, dropped our bags at the bus station, and went for a walk along the river front. There’s a bridge into town which appears to have been rebuilt ... read more
The ‘Green Cathedral’
The ‘Green Cathedral’
The ‘Green Cathedral’

Asia » Cambodia » South » Bokor Hill Station December 28th 2018

Today we scootered over to Bokor National Park to see the Hill Station which is one of the things recommended to see whilst in Kampot. Getting to the entrance of the park is a relatively short drive but from the entrance to the top takes quite a long time. The road is good but very windy - probably a lot of fun for motorbike enthusiasts. On the way up we stopped to look at various view points and a giant, sitting lady Buddha. The park has been leased out for the next 99years and the Chinese are levelling large areas and constructing huge complexes. This is a real shame as it means there’s no longer any trekking available through the park and it risks the wildlife here including elephants, tigers, sun bears, mongoose, hornbills and ... read more
The misty mountain
Lady Buddha
View of Church from viewpoint behind

Asia » Cambodia » South » Kep December 27th 2018

Our hotel, ‘Gecko Village’, is further out of town than we had realised. Fortunately they provide free bikes and have scooters and kayaks you can hire so it’s not much of a problem. The advantage of being slightly out of town is that it’s much quieter in the evenings and we have lovely views. Breakfast we enjoyed sitting on decking overlooking the river in their pretty garden. Hiring a scooter to share we decided to head over to Kep today (we found the scooter much easier to drive than the ebikes we had in Bagan). Kep is a small seaside town where the French used to go, before Sihanoukville became popular. It doesn’t really have a centre which is a bit odd but there are lots of old colonial buildings to see when you wonder around ... read more
Kep beach
The crab market
View from our lunch spot in kep

Asia » Cambodia » South » Kampot December 26th 2018

There was a spectacular thunder storm last night, and judging by how wet everything was it rained a lot whilst we were asleep. This meant that the clothes we’d left to dry on the balcony were wetter than when we’d put them out! Oops. After breakfast we went looking for critters in the sea. Unfortunately the wind picked up and the sky clouded over making it very difficult to see anything. As the rain came down we gave up and swam back to our things before packing and checking out. The rest of the morning was spent reading in the bar, watching the ominous sky and dark sea with its white horses. Our tuk tuk to the bus stop was due to pick us up at 1pm. It was 30mins late. The hostel was great - ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » South » Sihanoukville December 25th 2018

Christmas in paradise I woke up this morning to the sound of the sea and a gentle breeze. Getting up Stephen was sitting out on the balcony, finishing off my Christmas card. There was a clear, blue sky and a gentle breeze. Already scorching we enjoyed some mini bananas before heading to the bar. One of the first people up we finally managed to get the comfy chairs and enjoyed some muslei with fruit & yoghurt before grabbing a couple of kayaks and going for a paddle. Well sun-creamed up we set off towards the mangrove river. The first part of the paddle is across the bay. Paddling past an empty golden sandy beach with palm trees along the edge, past the local fishermen, on Christmas morning was pretty cool. At the end of the bay ... read more
Christmas morning
Kayak selfie!
Navigating the low bridge

Asia » Cambodia December 24th 2018

I have been living in Cambodia for the past sixteen months and while I've faced many challenges, the biggest by far is the inability to find makeup for my skin tone. Seriously, it is near impossible to find foundation and powder for a chocolate colored girl here in Cambodia. And definitely impossible here in Sihanoukville. I say near impossible in Cambodia, because I once found a foundation in a shopping center in Phnom Penh. It was a random stall in the middle of the shopping center floor and the foundation was an unknown brand and sadly way too red for my complexion. Actually, she had two, one was beyond dark and so I bought the reddish one (desperate times) but sadly, it was horrible once I got home and tried to work with it. In hindsight ... read more




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