Siem Reap or better know as "Sir you want tuk tuk"

Trip Start Feb 28, 2012
Trip End Nov 22, 2012

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Where I stayed
Sok Van Guesthouse

Flag of Cambodia  ,
Wednesday, April 4, 2012

So after another hellishly long journey of about 10 hours and having unfortunately been sat next to Dorothy who doesn't like the blower fans as they give her headache meaning I basically melt and lose an ocean’s amount of sweat throughout the journey, we arrive at Siem Reap and immediately see this is way more touristy than anywhere else so far in Cambodia. We wander down some streets looking for a cheap guesthouse from the LP book being asked every 2 miliseconds if we want a tuk tuk, just like in Phnom Penh, and with the usual follow up:

"Sir, you want tuk tuk? Today and tomorrow"

Me & Steve in unison: “Da, aw kun bong” (no, thankyou)

“ You want girls?”

Me & Steve in unison: “Da, aw kun bong”

“You want blow? Opium? Heroin? You want shoot guns?!!!??

“DA!! Aw Kun bong!!!” (but laughing at how bizarre the questions often get)

But looking for the guesthouse we have a stroke of luck when I ask in one and he tells me they have 2 rooms just been made ready and we can have both for $7 a night and since Steve has already said he wants his own room for some space that leaves me and Dorothy sharing which I don’t mind and am now used to, and at $1.5/night I have no problem with at all, plus I think Dorothy is relieved Steve has his own room as he snores big time!

So we set off to try and find a tuk tuk driver for the temples of Angkor and also some food and immediately we come across “Pub Street”!!! Yes, a street of neon-clad pubs and restaurants with a huge pink/red neon sign saying Pub Street in huge letters! Welcome to Siem Reap…

There’s loads of tourists here, and whats bizarre, and I am not just talking about here, is the number of people, westerners, eating in European food places and eating burgers, chips even pizza! And later we even find there is a KFC here too! Everyone has there own agenda and taste but why come to Cambodia if you after something like pub street and western junk food? I don’t get it.

Anyway, we discuss the Angkor Temples plan, or rather we let Dorothy tell me and Steve what her plan is as, as usual, she has meticulously planned the whole excursion out, temple by temple and minute by minute and unfortunately, and very lazily, me and Steve have come to understand this and just let her do it, listen and only then research ourselves if there’s anything we aren’t happy with! Works for me..!

So the plan is to do a 3 day ticket costing $40 dollars with a $15 tuk tuk the first day, bicycles the 2nd day and a $20 tuk tuk the last day, so about $32 dollars each which initially I am a little reluctant to as id prefer 2 days on bikes and maybe just do one day of temples in total but I admit that the LP guide says you do need atleast 3 days and so as we are a group, and the others are OK, I go with it. It turns out to be worth the money but were could easily have done one day and also taken bicycles both days but overall it was an amazing trip and worth the money anyway, but ill come to that in the seperate Angkor Temples 3 days post.

The rest of our time in Siem Reap was spent in the evenings and inadvertadly on pub street as there really was nothing else… there was a night market but It was the same old tourist tat. What we did find, however, was the central market, the typical local market with everything from fresh (ish), fly covered meat and fish, to fruit and veg and clothing stalls but what they also always have is food stands, and these were pretty clean and introduced me and Steve to the wonder of Koot Chai!!!

Koot Chai (unsure of that spelling) is a rice patty, like a burger shape with the outer being sticky rice which has a vegetable filling and is fried to give a crispy outer. This is served with Looksa, pretty much fried noodles, but oh so tasty, and this is all topped off with a fried egg and when eaten, we put on this amazing chilli sauce which is the equivalent to our tomato sauce but this is a mild chill version halfway between chilli and sweet chilli sauce…bliss… me and Steve had it atleast twice a day for the 5 or 6 days we were there..! It seems its only found in Siem Reap too as I haven’t had it since and I miss it dearly…!

--- I have just moved down a few bars to a chillout bar as I was get bitten to death at my place and there was no plug there or in my room and the laptop battery was dying…. This beach area is cool, and nice to be able to sit on the beach front with good music and people having a good time but its expensive here, I just ordered a mega toastie and chips and $4.50!! its all western here and mega expensive, that meal plus drink is half my usual days budget! So I am considering one more day in the dorm to maybe meet a few people or just go back to the Rainbow lodge I found which is only $3 a room with a shared bathroom but only shared with one other room, plus the food locally will be cheaper, just $1 and I can get a bicycle for $1 and just bike to the beach in the days, it will save me atleast $10/day so will decide in the morning.

OK, back to Siem Reap, well after the Angkor temples tour it was jointly decided to go on to Battambong where there is some beautiful countryside and the famous Bamboo Train which is one of those small cart type carriages which have a big handle you pull down alternatively to take you down the track which apparently kids work and you can do a 14km round trip for only $5 ish and go on a public one with locals transporteing goods and things too. Now we can either take another dreaded but for about 5-6 hours or take a boat ride up the Mekong finally so, as we missed out last time, we decide to go for the boat which only costs $15 and takes about 8 hours and is meant to be a beautiful journey so we decide to do it and go next day.

Oh; things I forgot about Siem Reap, and how could I forget one inparticular! Cambodia’s finest cover band on pub Street!! Most nights we went to pub street and usually Dororthy tagged along but since she didn’t drink or generally ever really seem to enjoy herself it was a real drag and style cramper for me and Steve!! But on the first night we heard a live band playing and went up to see and loved them! And went to watch pretty much the same set every night but they were a cross between the 5,6,7,8’s from Kill Bill and, well, a Cambodian cover band and playing songs by Madonna, Wham, Radiohead and I have a couple of videos of some of them.

The other things was this argument I had with this kid in the street. Basically, around pub street and the main eatery there are loads of tuk tuks and also some people begging, either kids selling books or people with limbs missing from the Pol Pot Khymer Rouge era but the kids are the worst, they never leave  you alone, and our first meeting was with two who spoke great English, literally new the slang and could answer quick as a bullet… they were selling books and trying to impress with their English so we’d buy a book but he had one I wanted which was $6 in the shops, the story of Pol Pot, so in the end I got it for $3 (only later at Angkor Temple did on kid then offer it at $1..!! Just when I thought I’d haggled a bargain!), anyway these kids knew everything about England & Canada, current prime ministers, back dated prime ministers, for England right back past Callaghan (who I hear most of you say!! Ha ha!! – that’s what I was like, he knew more than me!) anyway, he kept saying the money was to live, for school and clothes etc so I was chuffed getting the book and they got $3 but then 20 minutes later another kid comes up and I make the stupid mistake of asking if he knew the prime ministers of England, and of course, like the script everyone seemingly worked from, he listed them too so I said thanks but I didn’t want anything…. But oh no, I should know by now that if you show the slightest bit of interest and don’t buy anything they go mental and sometimes get nasty if you don’t buy and this kid did, asking why I asked him a question but then didn’t buy anything, so I explained I was just talking to him but as we got up to leave he got a bit tasty and I had had a few drinks so I had a real ding dong with him, my finger in his face but calm and relaxed but firmly telling him a few things and by the end he shut up until we left and then came a torrent off swear words even I didn’t know but either way I am pretty sure half the street must half been watching and for me it was lesson learnt on showing simply no interest with touts like these in the first place to avoid things like this. Steve had one in the Angkor Temples when foolishly when  walking past some stalls and getting reprimanded he said he would have a look o the way back which he did on the way back after getting his big waiting reminder but when he didn’t buy anything this woman went crazy, really crazy, she lost it and the last thing we heard was her telling Steve he was the worst man in Canada, something we still laugh at now and if he ever does anything wrong that’s the first thing I always tell him!!

--OK, I have to end this by telling you I just had my meal brought over, toastie and chips and…holy moly, that was…AMAZING! Real, homemade deep fried crinkle cut chips and a great toastie with cheese, onion and tomato and they even brought over HP brown sauce!! This place is run by Scottish guys who have obviously brought over some home cooking…. I am starting to see how people can do this kind of beach bumming holiday; beer, sun, junk food etc but for me it’s a definite treat as I have been eating noodles and rice based meals for brekkie, lunch and dinner every day for 7 weeks now and haven’t had anything western since the dish and chips and heathrow airport but this meal now really was amazing!!

There are a few meals I haven’t mentioned so far which I have images for so ill upload and mention them in the image caption but there is one I first tried at the Angkor temples which I think is gonna freak some of you out but I will save that and the photo for the next post..!! ha ha!!

Love to all…Lee…x
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Carrie on

Hey, there's ALWAYS a Pub Street everywhere isn't there lol! Sounds like you enjoyed a bit of westernised culture, especially the food ..... I have to say the pic of the Pootshy looked disgusting - you won't find that in Jamie Oliver's cookbook. I can see you are growing more fond of Dotty with each exciting new day , what an organised gal she sounds. Wiping the crockery with the serviettes sounds a good idea, just make sure the serviettes are clean to start with though.

Love and miss you lots n pots xxx

Delly on

Dotty Dorothy sounds like a pain in the derier - let her tag along and do research on plans, but dont let her put a dampener on your time/nights out, she needs to let her hair down!

Love you lee leeeee x

Ashleigh on

Hahahahhaaa you picked a fight with a kid!!!!!!!!! Hilarious!!!xxx

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