Our Final Week in the Kingdom
After our elephant adventure we headed to Kratie, a town on the Mekong river where you can see the rare irawaddy dolphins. We spent 2 days here where we hired a motorbike for a day to drive out of town, boarded a small wooden boat and taken out into the middle of the Mekong river for about an hour. As the driver knew where to look for them, he had a keen eye for spotting them even from a distance. They never got that close and we could tell they were pretty shy creatures, not like the dolphins you get at sea, who swim alongside your boat. Even though they never came right up to us, we were still able to see what made these mammals so unique. As they occasionally surfaced we were able to see their bulbous foreheads. Though we didnt get a great show from the dolphins, we still felt priveledged to see an animal so rare and close to extinction, we were at 1 of only 2 places that you can see them.
From Kratie we headed back to Phnom Penh where we were meeting Page, a friend from England and the first person both of us had seen from home since we left the UK in Feb! Our final few days with Page were spent relaxing, drinking, eating, visiting markets and the national museum. We had to organise our Vietnam visas in advance, which took 2 days as our passports had to be sent off. Page was keen to cross the border with us and spend a few more days with us... who wouldn't? We are amazing people to be with as you well know ;)
Me and Fay had strong feelings toward Cambodia. A nation of smiles and such strong spirited people despite their tragic histories, which many bare the scars from and have to live with such traumatic memories. Since our travels we haven't developed such strong feelings for a race or culture as much as we have for the Khmer people. We loved that we were able to help out in some small way but would have loved to have been in the country longer so that we could have volunteered our time more as well as travelling around the country.
Seeing as much of Asia as we have already we feel that it is a very strong possibility that we will visit again one day, to have the opportunity to come back and visit parts of the country that we didn't get to see would be incredible. Lot's of travellers use Cambodia as a pathway between Vietnam and Thailand, and usually only spend a week or so stopping off only at Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. We felt so pleased with ourselves for venturing out into the countryside and witnessing how Cambodia is coping outside of the Cities. The children of Cambodia were always amazing and wherever you went they would always shout 'hello', even some as young as 2 or 3 years old. Of course hello would be the only English they knew, but it always made us smile to see these happy children politely saying hello to us odd looking foreigners.
Vietnam was always the country we were most excited to visit, and from hearing other traveller's tales we were confident it would be our favourite country. However, after our experiences in Cambodia we were questioning whether Vietnam could meet its high expectations and if we could fall in love with Vietnam as much as we fell in love with Cambodia.