Cambodia: Wat could Koh Rong?
Trip Start Apr 16, 2013
18Trip End Dec 20, 2013
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After a very straight forward border crossing (rare!) we got on a cramped mini bus and wound our way along a bumpy muddy road to Kampot – a small town in the south of Cambodia famous for it's pepper! We had a lovely guest house and enjoyed chilling out after our stressful time in the Mekong Delta. For our one full day there we hired bicycles and peddled out to Trey Koh island, home to salt fields, a beautiful pagoda and a Muslim village set among gorgeous countryside. We also chilled out at the Epic Arts Café and ate 'Cambodia’s finest ribs’ at The Rusty Keyhole - yummy!
From Kampot we took another packed minibus (5 people on a 3 person seat) to Sihanoukville to catch our boat to the island of Koh Rong
Our days on Koh Rong were spent chilling out in the restaurant, exploring the island and chatting with our new friends over a few beers. A few things that stood out for us were:
- The phosphorescent algae – paddle into the sea in the dark and as you disturb the waters you are rewarded with what looks like fluorescent fairy dust dancing around your hands/feet. It was like something out of Avatar - absolutely incredible and, as we discovered, really hard to photograph!
- Our hike across the island to 7km beach
- The wildlife – we saw hornbills, huge lizards, fish, hermit crabs and unfortunately the hugest cockroach ever (in our room).
Although amazing, 3 days of basic island living was enough for us and we were relieved that the weather held out for us to get the boat back to Sihanoukville. We pushed the boat out (haha) and had a couple of nights in a nice hotel with a pool and spent the time catching up on laundry, planning and learning Canasta (a very complicated but very addictive card game!)
We took 2 of the best buses we have used in Asia from Sihanoukville to Siem Reap with the company Giant Ibis – lots of leg room, films and free wifi!! We had 4 nights in Siem Reap so bought a 3 day temple pass to explore the Angkor temples
That evening we went to see the Battambang Circus – Phare, which is a NGO giving disadvantaged youths the chance to channel their energies into learning artistic skills. It was amazing – fantastic acrobatics and a few hairy moments as the performers are still only students but the energy and performance was incredible.
For the other 2 days of our temple pass we hired bicycles and rode out of Siem Reap (along the main hi-way eeek) to explore the Roluos temples and, on the final day, the grand circuit. We enjoyed having more space and freedom to clamber over these amazing ancient buildings and read up on some of the history of the place
Our evenings were spent eating, drinking, chatting and playing more canasta with Josh and Jess and we were sad to see them leave although are hoping to catch up again in the Thai islands!
Our final stop in Cambodia was Phnom Penh – the bustling, chaotic and more than a little dirty capital city.
Our guesthouse room was very clean but felt a little like a prison cell – tiny and looking out onto a brick wall so we got out to explore the streets. To put it mildly, Phnom Penh isn’t really pedestrian friendly and reminded us a little of India but we found refuge in some nice coffee shops and planned out our couple of days in the city.
We spent our main site seeing day visiting the Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng (S21) prison used for mass genocide under Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s
Today is our last day in Cambodia and we have thoroughly enjoyed our couple of weeks here – they have gone so fast! We’re really excited about going back to Thailand and seeing our friends and family who are coming out to visit.
Lots of love to everyone back home – keep in touch! L&J xx