Travelling around South East Asia
Continued from Vietnam
Entering Cambodia on the Mekong is a delightful way to meander your way along this amazing reddish brown body of water where you will see so much wildlife, and village life right on the gentle slopes by the river's edge, where children play, and adults work their land or fish the mighty river..
This is a long trip by boat but worth every second and keeping your eyes off the happenings around you is very difficult indeed.
Arriving in Phnom Penh you'd be forgiven for thinking you hadn't changed countries at all and City life is very similar to many Asian countries.
Accommodation was still quite inexpensive and plentiful. I managed to get a room very central and roamed the streets to get my barings.
S-21, Choeung Ek Killing Fields and a trip North West to Siem Reap was high on my list and I also needed at some point to get my visa for Laos here in the city centre.
I was located within walking distance of the S-21 school/prison and headed off for an hour for a quick look to see what it was all about. 4 Hours later I was still mesmerised by the atrocities that had happened there as recent as 1978.
I could have spent a week here in the city alone but after a couple of days I headed up to Siem Reap
Tip 0342 Key visiting areas
So excited and one of my key visiting areas not to be missed, I wasn't disappointed.
I Have to say though a 2 day pass to the ruins of Angkor is all you need, unless you really want some perfect shots and you really are a geek when it comes to ruins.
Top tip here is to hire yourself a driver for the time you are there. This will save your legs and make it more enjoyable.
Nothing can prepare you for the enormity of it all and getting there early for the morning sunrise is another must.
Planning for Sunrise and Full moon rises can accentuate the whole experience.
We talk more about timings and phases of the moon within this website.
I will also mention here and like many places around the world. Unless you enjoy local cooked food like me, allow to bring a pack lunch or snacks to keep you going throughout the day. It will be a long day.
The city of Siem Reap is beautiful also and there are lots of eateries there for you to explore local foods and wears.
I spent 4 days here all in and was keen to head west to see the wonderful beaches at Krong Preah Sihanouk.
Krong Preah Sihanouk
This would be my last journey to the beach for three weeks at least and wanting to make the most of it, I set off with eager anticipation. I had heard about the beaches of Occheuteal and couldn't wait for some R &R from my travelling so far.
Sadly as it was off season, most places where closed down and the weather was pre tropical storm, even so I have to say it was quite lovely there and could imagine having an awesome time there when busier.
I stayed two nights right near the beach and chilled out ready for the next part of my adventure.
The roads had flooded and getting out was a challenge which bring me nicely to our next tip.
We go into this within the tip but basically I had two choices. One, stay a few more days/week and then carry on. Two, change my route and go west into Thailand and clockwise round to Laos.
Fortunately, I managed to get out and away from the flooding over the course of an exhausting day and set off back to Phnom Phen and onward East to Mondulkiri.
The road to Mondulkiri is far better than it used to be and distance travelled in days can now be travelled in hours.
Many people might give the far East of Cambodia a miss but I can honestly say, I learnt far more here than in the west.
On arriving in town, I found a great little place to stay and found time to eat and chat with the locals.
I befriended a guide who took me places I felt no one had been before. Day trips to wonderful waterfalls and places unspoilt by tourism.
Ending up at Tree lodge, a place I had heard well of through the grapevine of fellow traveller along the trail, I was not disappointed. I continued to enjoy the glorious countryside culminating in a 2/3day trek deep into the jungle.
Tip 0343 Make up a group.
The longer you spend somewhere the more detail you find out and this helps enormously with excursions.
There are plenty of companies that lay on organised trips but if your get friendly with the local, you will not only get a better deal but a more personal experience.
I found a couple of friends wanting to share a unique experience and at half the cost we was off in the depths of the jungle with a guide and one other.
We simply had the best time and could nearly write a book just on the trek alone. Email us more for further information.
It was time to leave Cambodia and with a sad heart but excited mind, I headed of north up to Laos.