Bumpiest drive EVER

Trip Start Oct 19, 2006
Trip End Apr 05, 2007

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Flag of Cambodia  ,
Monday, January 1, 2007

We took a two day tour to Kampot from Sihanoukville. To keep from backtracking too much, we decided to stay on in Kampot instead of returning to Sihanoukville at the end of the second day of the tour. The bad part about this was that we knew, and the tour seller in Sihanoukville knew, that we wouldn't be coming back to town. The tour was very unorganized and it made us crazy to have to fight with the drivers, the guides, the hotel people, about everything since it was all supposed to be included in the price we had paid in Sihanoukville. It all worked out fine, but it was lame to be so stressed out about it.
Kampot (2 hours from Sihanoukville) is the closest town to Bokor National Park where we took the absolute most crazy drive ever up the mountain on a road that was built in the 50s and has been ripped up by tanks and water running down the mountain for years. The drive was so bumpy it was almost like camel riding after a while. On the way down, I sang several albums worth of songs to myself to distract myself from the promise that the driver had made to us about how much faster he could get us down the mountain than the time it took to drive up. He made good on the promise, and safely, too.

There was one set of buildings that had been someone's royal retreat - a main building, a kitchen building, a guest villa. What seemed like the dining room in the kitchen building still had some remnants of its original marble flooring. 

The abandoned French hill station was really neat - a whole town with a church and a post office and all these huge buildings all with these beautiful sea views. It's apparently spooky sometimes in the mist of the rainier season, but it was clear and hot when we were there. There's an orange lichen that grew all over the walls and some people had even carved their graffiti into the lichen. The biggest building, the palace, was also a casino in its heyday. It's where they filmed City of Ghosts, with Matt Dillon, which we saw at the open-air movies place in Sihanoukville just a couple of days before. The palace was amazing - wing after wing of huge rooms with private bathrooms (with tiling still in some of them) and each one with a balcony. It was fun to wander around on the spiral stone staircases, too, until we saw one that had totally collapsed. After that we stayed pretty much on the ground floor.
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