After a 5.30 start and breakfast at the hotel we were picked up by tuk tuk and taken to the bus office, only minutes away. We had to be at least 20 mins early and sure enough, we boarded the bus just prior to 7.30, the planned departure time. We sat on the bus for an hour then everyone had to disembark, the bus apparently was not working! Welcome back to Asia! So we all got on another bus, waited for it to be reloaded, then left about 75 mins later than scheduled. So all in it was a 7.5 hour trip instead of a 6 hour one.
The journey was nondescript really, very flat and agricultural once out of the city with lots of similar stilted houses and small settlements. Also plenty of road building or renewal going on, which added to slowing the journey down.
Finally we arrived at the bus stop and hopped straight into the waiting tuk tuk sent from the accommodation booked last night. The short final trip into Siem Reap had a more interesting vibe to it and soon we were at the Angkor Friendship Inn. We were checked in and given some water, the receptionist was great but the room was somewhat lacking, nothing special, so we decided to just stay the one night instead of the planned three.
We went for a walk to get our bearings and grab some lunch; everything is to hand and there's a great buzz about the place. Definitely nicer than Phnom Penh in my opinion. We checked out some more places to stay and were spoiled for choice, in the end we decided on the hotel next door and will stay there 4 nights from tomorrow, $18 a night including breakfast, wifi, fridge, etc. The AFI is $15 but next door has much bigger and newer-looking rooms.
After some downtime at the AFI we went back out and headed for the night market. We had a very cold beer there at the Island Bar, wandered round the market fir a while then found a good place to eat, Angkor Herb. We shared a Khmer set meal and some morning glory and noodles with pork. The set meal was $6 and consisted of a papaya and dried fish salad (highly recommended), chicken with ginger and rice (very nice) and a selection of four desserts - banana in coconut, something that had the consistency of baked rice, something fruity that tasted of custard but wasn't a custard apple and a sago-like pudding. They were all really pleasant.
After the meal we had a beer on pub street and walked round some more. We saw a few cooking schools do will check those out tomorrow, we even saw a sushi bar! All in all a great intro to Seam Reap.
Back at the hotel I crushed a few crawling things before chancing the shower. Now I'm under the mosquito net but as it has holes in I'm not optimistic that I'll get a bite-free sleep tonight! We'll see. There's more things crawling in this room tonight than I've seen in all the time we've been here! Glad to be moving on tomorrow.