After a 10 hour and extremely bumpy ride from Siem Reap to Sihanoukville on a sleeper bus we arrived sleepless in Silanoukville at 5.30am. We jumped in a taxi and went to the Victory beach location and stayed in the Salak bugalows and we passed out for a sleep. When we woke we headed for the quiet and peaceful beaches where we sunbathed and chilled out. We met some lovely girls who were doing beauty treatments on the beach. Aimee treated herself to a manicure and pedicure and I treated myself to a french pedicure, well for $4 who would complain?? These were carried out by Allie a really sweet 23 yr old girl who told us about her life and family. She told us to go to school they had to be sponsored $400 a year for an hour a week. She spoke and understood brilliant English which puts me to shame with my sad excuse of broken Spanish :)
Later that night we went out to eat at the Mealy Chandi which did a lush red chicken curry. Honestly at this rate I will come back a chubber!! We headed to the little street with all the bars and it was so quiet. The rain a few weeks earlier had forced the tourists away. The people that were about were the locals, us and some older white guys. We ended up going into a bar called Upstairs which was a lapdancing bar and there were about 10 young girls playing snooker so we propped up at the bar. Whenever any guys would come up they would leave straight away. We were obviously bad for business but on a serious note its really sad to see that going on. We got talking to Pete from NZ who owned the bar and some other guy who was from England who lived over there. They told us the busiest parts were on another side with all the westerners but it was quite nice just chilling with the locals. We thought we would head there the next day.
The next morning we picked up our Vietnamese visas for $45 and headed for the beach but the rain started to come down and boy did it come down. Over the course of the day it rained on and off but we managed to get 2 hours of hot sunshine. When it rained we sat on our loungers under the umbrella and it was pretty cool just watching the rain. These kids walked past carrying two bags and the other two played in the water and got amusement from the pipe from the beach huts water drainage system. It was really cute to watch.
Sihanoukville was really calm and peaceful just like the people.
The next morning we headed off on the 4 hour bus ride to Phonm Peng and arrived there about 1.30pm. We went to the Diamond hostel and dropped our bags off and headed with our tuk tuk driver called David/Sara to the S21 school and then the killing fields. This was understandably really sad and whats worse is the people responsible never really got punished for what they did and died of their own causes. There were 3 kids outside begging which was sad. Thats one thing about Cambodia there are loads of young children selling stuff and pleading with you to buy it and its damn hard to resist. On the way back our poor tuk tuk driver got drenched in a downpour. Later on we went to the Wat Phonm when it was getting dark but even then it was pretty amazing. We hid from a guard who was offering to show us around for $2 even though he could not speak any English :) Once bitten twice not so shy! We headed back for some food and then headed for a look around the night market. On the way around we met a couple from England who were a bit scared and asked for an ATM, we were heading to the bars so walked with them. Body guards or just blended with the locals- who knows haha.They were really nice and were really the first westerners we met. We ended up in the Irish Bar, I know such a cliche and had a few drinks before we headed back to get some sleep for another early morning start.
The next morning we headed off on a tuk tuk then a minibus, then a coach and finally a river boat to go down the Mekong River. The boat was an hour and a half and we were subjected to watching rabid dogs mate. It was REVOLTING. However the trip on the boat was lovely and we soaked up the sights around us. There were webs just in the middle of the river and this was my first understanding that water spiders exist- YUCK! We enjoyed a bit of the rose and had the light lunch they provided, a pot noodle. We passed and got stamped at Cambodian and Vietnamese boarders and headed on further down the river. There were kids washing themselves in the river and waving to us so it was a friendly welcome to Vietnam. We watched the sunset over the Mekong so it was a nice way to end the day. We ended up in Chau Doc about 6 and decided to get a bus to Hoi Chin Min City so we hopped on a cyclo- Google it. Its a bike with a little cart and me and Aimee squeezed our asses in it with 2 massive backpacks (bloody hilarious) We had a really friendly driver and he took us to pick up the 7pm bus to HCMC.
There we paid $8 for a mini bus drive with the locals and a chicken (in the boot I might add) We were a bit concerned about the chicken because after driving down an extremely bumpy road he stopped clucking. After about an hour he regained consciousness so we were happy haha. We crossed a river on some boat thing, not sure what you would call it. But it carried a few cars, tons of people and even more bikes and motorbikes. Over here they are mad about the motorbikes but thats a story in a little while.. We stopped off at a food place and we emerged from the car to be stared at like we were stars, ok ok maybe not. Clearly they don't see many of our kind in this spot. Trust me and Aimee to venture from the beaten track.
We ended up in HCMC at about 1am then jumped in a cab to the backpacker spot. The first hostel we checked out we did not realise it was a shared accomodation. We were greeted by a NAKED arse when we opened the door. Not for us, so we moved on and were met by a local women who ropped us into 'teaching' English at the local school for 2 hours on the Sunday morning for free board. So after traveling for 16 hours, barely any food and had as much brain activity as a zombie we agreed to it. We knew it would be brilliant to do it. 4 hours later and a quick shower we headed off. We were taken on motorbikes, I know I know f****ing stupid idea and I won't make a habit of it. But I did love it and I never thought I would get on the back of a motorbike let alone in the CRAZY Ass streets of Vietnam but I guess its another life experience off my list :)
We were greeted at the school which has been opened for 7 years and has kids from 4-13. It was a lovely place and we really enjoyed it. Aimee in particular was in her element. I was testing some of the students on their listening and speaking and they were all pretty good. P.S They are so CUTE. We met 3 other people from England, only 19 and doing a 6 week trip and they also did some teaching. We had seen them on an earlier bus so got chatting to them. We headed back to the room and passed out for a few hours. We then woke up and got some pizza and wandered about.
Tonight we headed to a bar across the road from our hostel and had a few cocktails and some food and met a lovely girl called Laura and a guy called Hugo who were on a trip and just chilled out. We are not long back ready to get a good sleep, hopefully..
Tomorrow we are heading off at 1pm to Dalat for a 7 hour journey, got to love these journeys. We have an open ticket to Dalat-Nha Trang- Hoi Ani-Hue- Hanoi- Halong Bay before Aimee heads off and leaves me on the 3rd September :( I will try and update when I can. Facebook is banned here in Vietnam so if you want to contact me in the next 14 days then best to use [email protected]
I will also add some pictures :)