So we are now in Cambodia, and whatÂ a bumpy ride (literally) it has been!
We left Bangkok on 27th May to get the bus to Cambodia.Â We were asked to arrive at the office at 7.15, someone eventually turned up at 8.00 to get us!!Â We finally started the bus journey at 9.15 - could've had an extra 2 hours in bed!Â The bus was good fun, there was only about 10 of us on there, 4 of us headed to Siem Reap so we are now travelling with an Aussie guy called Will and an English girl called Janine.Â The journey to the border was pretty uneventful, the bus was in good condition etc.Â When we got just outside the border we stopped to get our visas.Â We were then transferred on to a little minibus (which was boiling hot!) to the border.Â Once at the border, we had to walk over to Cambodia, about 2km with our backpacks on in the middle of the day!
Once over the other side of the border, the transformation is unbelievable.Â In Thailand all the roads are sealed, nice buses etc - the minute you step over the border there is just dirt tracks.Â We were told by the tour guide that the ATM's were playing up in Siem Reap because of the rain, so we should get some money out now and change it to Cambodian Riel.Â Because we were all a bit suspicious, but didnt want to risk too much, we changed up 1000 baht (about 15pounds) and received 70,000 riel (about 10pounds!)Â So we lost 5quid eachÂ we'll learn from our mistakes!Â
The journey from the border of Poipet to Siem Reap is 14km - it took us 7 hours to do 140km because the roads are so atrocious!!Â You are literally bouncing up and down in your seat for 7 hours while watching traffic coming head on because they are trying to avoid the potholes!!Â Anyway, we ended up in Siem Reap about 9.00pm (as soon as you enter the town it turns to lovely tarmack road!).Â We were taken to a guesthouse where the bus drivers obviously get comission for bringing you there.Â We decided to stay one night because we were shattered, but we all left the next day - the guesthouse was in the middle of nowhere (even though he told us it was in the centre) I checked my map in the guidebook, and told him we were nowhere near the centre.Â Since he'd lied to us twice and had the cheek to show us 24 hour ATM's when we got there, we all felt better moving somewhere else.Â We are now in a lovely guesthouse in the town, walking distance to everything and it has free fruit, tea coffe and snacks all day (score!).
We've had a wander around the town, it's pretty small but very busy.Â The begging and poverty is very evident, and a lot of people selling things on the street.Â We've been eating at local restaurants to help the economy as we've heard that many westerners buy large outlets and take jobs from the Cambodians.Â Yesterday it started raining in the afternoon and didnt stop for hours - we were in a cafe for ages waiting for it to stop, but we decided we'd have to make a break for it back to the hostel.Â We got absolutely drenched, the roads were flooded (haven't seen any drains....) and we waded back in shin deep water - I lost my flip flop about 3 times!!
This morning, we arranged for a tuk tuk to collect us at 5.00am to go the Angkor Wat to see the sunrise - there was supposed to be the four of us going, but it ended up just me and Janine - Jack and Will stayed in bed, but are going tomorrow afternoon so they dont have to get up early!
Sunrise was spectacular, it came up just behind Angkor Wat, and i have taken about 100 odd pics - i'll try and narrow it down for the site!Â We spent 6 hours walking around the Angkor temples, and climbing up some very steep stairs to the top!Â We also saw Angkor Thom, The Terrace of Elephants, Terrace of the Leper King, and Preah Khan where tomb raider was filmed.Â Some of the buildings there actually have fully grown treesÂ trees growing from the roof.
The day after tomorrow we will be heading to Phnom Penh, which is the capital city.
I'll be able to put some pics up in a few days but my camera is out of battery just now!
Jack and Linsey
p.s. thanks for the commentsÂ - we thought we were doing all this hard work for nothing!