Day 41 - 43: Siem Reap

May 8th 2010
Published: May 16th 2010
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We left Don Det early, just as we were boarding the boat for the mainland it decided to pour down and we got well and truly soaked. When we arrived on land Bon went looking for breakfast leaving me sheltering from the rain under a little metal shack. Suddenly hoards of people started boarding the waiting bus and I was torn between jumping on, the bus leaving without Bon and being stranded with no money and Bon being stranded with no luggage, or waiting and having to spend the 12 hour bus journey sitting next to some stranger....dilema. Bon always goes at he worst times!!! I suddenly saw him walking up the street and ran onto the bus, there was only a few seats left but luckily there were two together.

We headed to the border, which was about 20 minutes down the road, from this point on we were completley screwed over and over again by dodgy rules and dodgy scams, so frustrating. First we had to pay to get our departure stamps, then we had to pay to be gven a bit of paper saying we were H1N1 free, then we had to queue for ages to get our visas, then we had to pay again to have our arrival stamp - how much money can they scam out of you over 500m - a lot!!

Back on the bus, everyone was feeling a little peeved but at least we weren't alone! Everyone seemed to be heading to different locations on the bus, we were asked a lot where we were going and it only came to light over lunch why. We were suddenly told that the bus ticket we had bought from Don Det to Siem Reap wasn't really valid to take us to Siem reap, and that we would have to go to Phnom Pehn first before changing buses, this would mean instead of arriving in Siem Reap at 9.30pm we wouldnt arrive untill 5am!! The guy said that he could arrange a transfer bus from the night stop for an extra 3$. Seemed a little fishy but what can you do, when you think you're stranded. We spoke to a few of the others who where in the same situation and they weren't happy but again said there was no choice or so it seemed, we all paid. We got to the night stop only to be told that, we were due to swap buses here anyway, which we already thought was what was happening and the guys were scamming everyone. Some French dudes on hearing this saw one of the guys and chased him but he jumped on the other bus that was now departing. Advice to anyone using this crossing, ignore these guys that say tickets are invalid it's bollocks, you will get your transfer bus!! Just before we left we bought some bananas from a little kid who I told I would by some from if I bought any. Trouble is Bon said the same thing to another kid and when he saw we had bananas he cursed

So about 8pm we boarded the new bus, it was actually very nice and comfy - unlike the previous buses. It was quite a larger double decker, with luggage space below and seating at the top. We had been driving about an hour when suddenly the driver slammed on the brakes, there was a huge crashing noise of twisting metal and smashing glass as the bus skidded to halt slamming in to whatever we had just hit. I managed to bump my head on the window and the girl next to me cut her eye. The bus started filling up with smoke and people were making loads of noise. I looked out the window to see a cow run across the road, trip in panic and then kick out before it ran off into the night, I presummed we had hit a cow?? Everyone was told to get off the bus and it was only then we could see the full extent of what had happened. We had rammed straight into the back of a cow pulled hay trailer (these aren't small, quite large) the second trailer was snapped off and now lying upside down at the side of the road, the bus had then smashed head on into the first trailer smashed all the front window screen, the side of the window frame and the mirror were completley wrecked. A large crowd had gathered and I was really scared the people in the trailer must have been seriously hurt. The police and ambulance arrived and took someone away, but from what we were told they weren't seriously injured just a bang to the head, if it hadn't been a double trailer they may have been killed. The trouble was the roads are so dark and they don't use lights on the trailers and the bus driver speeding along just didnt see it. So after a long eventful day we finally arrived in Siem Reap at 2am after having to wait for a new bus to leave from Phnom Pehn as ours wasn't going anywhere (p.s. lesson learnt don't upset little kids and get cursed!)

We had booked in to the City River Hotel which was quite nice. We arranged in the morning a tuk tuk for two days to take us around the temples of Angkor. It took a lot of haggling but we agreed on 47$ for the two days, which we were pretty sure was still well overpriced, but hey it seems everyone rips you off here!! We set off at 11am and headed for the Pink Jewel, stopping off at a few little temples along the way. When ever you get out of the Tuk Tuks you are completley harrased by people wanting you to buy things, even little kids that should be at school. It's hard to get away from it as "No" isnt in there vocabulary it seems!

I have to say the temple of Angkor are absolutley awe inspiring. Even more so that the jungle has grown into the majority of the ruins, making them seem even more magical. We watched the sunset from the hill which was nice as you could see for miles and there were lots of people all gathered around a temple and its columns. We even managed to get up at 5am and see the sunrise over Angkor Wat.....breathtaking! We found thatb two days was plenty.....if you aren' bothered about seeing every single temple. After a while they all blendin to one another anyway. Angkor Wat is truly spectacular along with several of the other larger temples.

The town itself has become very Westernized but there are plenty of restaurants, markest and hotels....something for everyone. All in all is was a good couple of days despite Bon feeling rough for quite a bit of it. Next we go to Phnom Pehn the capital for a few nights.


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