Desterted town in the mountains

Trip Start Nov 08, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Cool Banana Bungalows

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Kampot had been on the cards since we had a recommendation from someone we met in Laos about 'perhaps the best guest house ever!'. She certainly wasn't wrong when we arrived at Bodhi Villa and settled into our bungalow that floated on the river. Spending the rest of the first day proping up the bar and meeting the other guests, and Hugh, the owner (a mad Australian behaving like a big kid) introduced himself by chatting to us and then all of a sudden running and jumping in the river!

Bodhi Villa is the perfect place to do nothing. It has a 'Chill Zone' with a big projector to watch films on or play the Xbox, a large balcony with a bar from which to watch the river, a pool room and the best bedrooms! Hugh later entertained us with a jamming session with a couple of other guests on his drumkit and guitar. Sadly his speedboat with an enourmous outboard wasn't working so we couldn't go on that.

The second day, we walked into town and hired out some 125cc semi-auto scooters to explore the place and ride up to the waterfall and around town. We had them for the day after also, making use of the hire-guy's kid as a guide to show us the neighbouring town -Kep, its local caves and a peppercorn plantation.

Day three and we venture up to Bokor Hill Station on a truck. It's a two hour hellish journey up a broken road to the summit of this mountain. We stopped first at the King's Black Palace which is now a bear shell after the Khmer Rouge ransacked the place; it still sports a fantastic view. Next on to thew Hill Station itself, amid a whole host of deserted buildings that once formed a remote town. Again, the Hill Station (which was also interestingly a casino) was a bear shell but it was amazingly all intact - minus its windows and pretty much every fitting imaginable. After checking out the Ranger's Station we headed back down for the journey back; finishing off the day with a sunset boat trip along the river.

Our last full day here and after teaming up with a couple of guys from Bodhi, we called up the hire place for some 250cc dirt bike action! We heard these things arriving from miles off and I was instantly petrified, especially as they brought no helmets with them! After seeing my limp attempt at clutch and throttle control, the hire guy soon agreed helmets would be a good idea and we crawled back into town with me riding. Still a bit shakey for the next couple of hours, we made our way down this dirt track stalling it at most junctions much to the locals amusement. By late afternoon we were all quite confident on them and we were doing wheelspins and generally pratting around.
One of the bikes had to be bump-started all the time, and Dave's bike was devoid of anything electric - i.e. no starter, speedo, lights, rev counter; but God did it go alright! Dave enjoyed the bikes so much that he was still burning up the tarmarc when it was dark; he ran out of petrol 20 minutes walk from our guest house and had to walk the thing back! Great fun!
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