Hello from Cambodia. We got the bus from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Phen on Thursday morning and arrived there early afternoon. I had been warned about the poverty in Cambodia before travelling here and it was soon evident. As the bus boarded a ferry to cross the river the windows were being knocked on by children asking for money. Also as the bus stopped not much further on for a toilet break most people decided to remain on the bus as the door was soon crowded by people begging.
When we arrived in Phnom Phen we got a tuk-tuk to take us to hotel, however when we arrived there they had no recognition of our booking. We were used to this by now and usually a quick phone call rectified the problem, not this time. The number we had been given was a deadline. The other numbers we had were all for Bangkok so we had to buy a phonecard and call them ourselves. One of the hotel staff was trying to help us work the phone and non of us could get a call to connect then finally after about 15 minutes of trying there was a phone ringing on the other end! And most importantly someone answered. I explained our situation and was told he would ring the hotel. I asked if he needed our names or any details, at this point he hung up, obviously a man of many words! After waiting nervously for about half an hour we were called over and it ws sorted. I spoke to someone else on the phone who explained our bus tickets for the following day would be dropped at our hotel that night as we were travelling to Siem Reap thye following day and everything seemed to be sorted.
We wanted to make the most of our time in Phnom Phen so went out to see the Grand Palace. Outside there were several people begging or children selling water, tour books and postcards. We bought some water from 2 young boys and when they discovered we were english they suddenly transformed into Dick Van Dyke 'lovely jubbly'they shouted at us with a little giggle then continued to try and sell us more things in a brilliant cockney accent. It was very funny and cute. The problem is they dont take no for an answer and will follow you up the road and continue to ask you. It makes you realise how lucky you are.
The next morning we had another enjoyable bus journey to Siem Reap. We were entertained by several (loud) Vietnamese musicals and a dodgey Vietnamese Karaoke dvd which had on it a couple of versions of Sean Kingston's Beautiful Girl. Oh the joys. When we arrived we were very surprised to see our names printed on some paper with the name of our hotel on it. So off we went in the tuk-tuk to our next hotel where more confusion awaited. It turned out he didn't have enough room for us so we were having to stay one night in a hotel across the road. Its never simple.
The following day we went off to see Angkor Wat. But i'm bored of typing now so will tell you about the fun we had there soon. Bye xx
Hello again, Im up early as someone in our room is snoring arghh. Oh but its not Louise. We're in Singapore now and having our first experience of dorms. Anyway, more about that later.
When in Siem Reap we went to see Angkor Wat, the worlds largest religious site. As it turns out its a lot bigger than me and Lou realised. The tuk-tuk driver who picked us up from the bus station asked if we were going there and could he take us. So it was all arranged that he would pick us up at 8am. His brother was also with him, who could speak better english and he spent the next 10 minutes talking to us and confusing us, which to be fair is easily done, about which tour we were taking. We couldn't understand why he wanted to know. We dropped the brother off on route and went up to the site. Once we had paid for our tickets we told our driver he could go, but he wanted to know when we would be done. Well we didn't know how long it took and we wanted to watch the sunset so we would be there all day! We explained to him to pick us up at 6pm, paid him and off he went. We walked around Angkor Wat for about an hour and then we were done so wanted to find the next place Angkor Thom. We sat and had a drink whilst watching the couple next to us get pestered by kids to buy things (it was nice for it not to be us being pestered for once). It was when reading the lonely planet guide again that it slowly began to all make sense as to why we couldn't find Angkor Thom. You needed a driver to take you from site to site to see all the Wats. But we had sent our driver home. Idiots! So we went to walk out of Angkor Wat and were debating whether our driver would be there or not. He wasn't. Luckily another driver who witnessed us being idiots earlier in the morning told us that he had gone would we like him to take us, yes please! It actually worked out for the better as he could speak good english and was a bit of a tour guide too explaining what things were, stopping for us to take photos and most importantly explaining where he would wait for us to move to the next place.
We drove to Angkor Thom. This is a walled city containing other Wats. We had to drive through the gated entrance where we saw elephants and Louise nearly wet herself with excitement. Bless. The first Wat in Angkor Thom that we saw was the Bayon Temple. This temple had many faces carved into it and a great opportunity for any kids to play hide and seek. We didn't opt to play hide and seek but just mess around taking stupid photos. We decided at the end of the day that was probably our favourite temple. We also went to Baphuon Temple and Ta Prohm Temple an many smaller temples too. There was one temple in particular which had lots of steep steps which weren't in the best condition. So obviously we decided to climb to the top. Compared to our other days in Cambodia it wasn't too hot, but it was still very very hot! Not great climbing weather. Once at the top a Cambodian man started to talk to us and explain about the temple. He also took quite a few photos for us (which we were much ore interested in). After about 10 minute he told us he had to go on his bike to get to school now to continue his English lesson. Ok bye. But there was an ulterior motive, he wanted some money, isn't that always the way! It turned out that getting up to the top wasn't too bad, it was getting down where we had a problem. At one point going down the last set of steps we got stuck! I was leading the way and could not figure out how to get down to the next step. I would start to step down then get scared and stop where I was. Luckily there was a kid at the bottom and he showed us how to climb down the big rocks at the side rather than the steps. Phew. We would have been there for days waiting for a helecopter to come and rescue us! Ta Phrohm Temple was also interesting. The whole site was set in the 'jungle' and surrounded by green and trees. At Ta Phrohm Temple the trees were reclaiming their land and had started to grow in and through the temple. It was really interesting to see. Once again we got lost. We couldn't find our way out and at one point we were walking around in circles! We retraced our steps and finally got out the way we got in. We decided to give the sunset a miss as we weren't if there would be one with the weather as it was and we were in desperate need of a shower. So our driver took us home and then ripped us off. We're convinced we paid well over what we should have done. Damn it.
We spent the following day in Siem Reap centre and enjoyed and couple of well deserved drinks after the climbing and the confussion of the previous day. We then had to pack and get ready to move back to Phnom Pehn the following morning.