SE Asia's City of Sin
Trip Start Nov 03, 2009
20Trip End Nov 27, 2009
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Where I stayed
We caught a taxi to the Mo Chit bus terminal at 6AM, purchased our "first class" bus tickets (the difference between classes being a bottle of water only), and embarked on a 4 hour journey to the Aranyaprathret/Poipet border crossing. The only other foreigners on our bus (Ukrainian backpackers) came back and asked "is this seriously the first class bus?" We thought it was actually pretty nice compared to the Central American chicken buses ... the AC even worked for at least 50% of the time.
Aside from spending one hour at Cambodian passport control in a non air-conditioned room while waiting our turn, the border crossing was fairly uneventful. This came as a pleasant surprise as much of the prep material we read said Poipet was akin to a toilet
Poipet is a typical shady border town. Full of casinos, regulated by Thais and Laotians on weekends because gambling is illegal in their own countries. It's like Vegas meets third world..in no man's land.
Drenched in our own sweat, we paid $30 to have a taxi take us all the way to Siem Reap. Paving of the two-lane road was just completed in May--so it was a zippy ride (~2 hours). The driving in Cambodia can only be described as insanity. The roads are packed with bicycles, scooters, cars and cows--two lanes actually means 5 or 6. When a big guy (car) approaches a little guy (bike), they just honk like a crazy person until the little guy gets out of the way. On our trip, we were the big guy so it was a full-on honk-a-thon.
We arrived in Siem Reap about 1 in the afternoon. We wandered along the main road looking for a place to stay. We were approached by a nice Australian man named Bruce who thought we looked a little worse for wear. He suggested we stop for a beer to cool down, then follow him back to his hotel to see if there was a room available there. Turns out there was. Nice spot made ever more appealing by the fact that it had a pool.
Danny and I had good intentions to go out and explore the touristy part of Siem Reap. After a dip in the pool and a nice shower, we decided to take a quick nap. Quick nap turned into epic nap--from 4pm until the next morning..