BANGKOK - POIPET - SIEM REAP
''WELL HOW LONG HAVE WE BEEN IN THIS STORM...''
Yesterday we woke up at 3.30am - probably too anxious about the journey ahead to sleep any longer. We decided to just get up and make an early start on our epic bus journey. After checking out we got a taxi to the bus station and bought a ticket for our 4 hour bus journey to Aranyaprathet. We got on the bus at 6am which was ridiculously overly airconditioned! We were so cold we sat wrapped in blankets even though it was 30 degrees outside. Once on the road we saw some very strange sights: people washing in dirty rivers, a family of 5 on one moped, chickens bobbing about on the side of the road and our favourite a park filled with sparkley cockeral statues (very tempting to leave it as sparkely c*** statues). Odd can only be the word to describe it.
When we finally arrived, we got a tuk tuk to the border- the scariest 10 minutes of our lives so far! Both of us in one tuk tuk with our huge suitcases and bulging backpacks weaving around trying to avoid people mulling around a smelly market - terrifying! Once at the border, we successfully navigated our way through and avoided being scammed - we are VERY proud of ourselves. After having our passports stamped we got a sweaty bus to the transport station. A Cambodian man spent the entire time talking to us about football - as everybody does when they hear we are from Manchester.
At the transport station we met two fellow travellers heading to Siem Reap and decided to share a taxi with them, halving the cost of our journey. Brief introduction to our fellow travellers: Nick an Argentinian and Chris a German, both now living in Montreal. They know each other as Chris used to date Nicks sister - not awkward at all! We started our trip trying to fit our cases in the small boot along with their backpacks. Where we got teased and asked how many months we were staying in Cambodia for - only essentials were packed of course. During the trip we were also asked about our travel sickness bands and mosquito repellant strap - we didnt look high maintainance at all. We stopped off at what looked like a wooden shack at the side of the street which turned out to be a petrol station with a 12 year old boy pumping the gas while the engine was still running. Safety conscious these Cambodians.
Once we got to Siem Reap we had to change into a tuk tuk which then took us to our hotel. Squeezing ourselves and our cases into the small tuk tuk in the rain and on the phone to Dan was tricky!! Once we got to our hotel we were welcommed with a glass of fresh orange juice and a cold flannel to dab our faces - freshest feeling ever! Once we got into our hotel room we had the longest nap EVER - it was incredible!
When we finally woke up we headed out for a walk into town to explore. Siem Reap is not what we expected, it is a lot smaller than we thought. We went for tea at one of the nearby restaurants and came back to the hotel and watched CSI:Miami till we fell asleep.
We woke up this morning and had some awesome pancakes for breakfast and headed out into town again which took us a whole 30 minutes to see everything. We stopped for a drink to cool down as it was hot hot hot and then we went back to the hotel and jumped straight into the pool and relaxed our muscles in the jacuzzi.
Later we went to do a Cambodian cooking class at one of the local restaurants. It was awesome! We went to the market with our instructor and then went back to the restaurant where we began our preparation. We made fresh and fried spring rolls, chicken lok lak, khmer chicken with pak choi and banana tapioca. We met an awesome Irish guy called John and 2 Dutch girls - we dont remeber their names. The cooking was incredible and the food turned out really good apart from the banana tapioca which was disgusting- however Sam ate half of hers. It stormed the whole time we were cooking. Once we had finished eating the fruits of our labour we walked back to the hotel getting completely drenched!! Once we got back to the hotel we were so drenched we decided that we should go for a nice swim. It was awesome - we had some crazy Korean guy talking to us and laughing at Daisy Duck who joined us for our swim.
Bed time now as we have to be up at 4am to see the sunrise over Angkor Wat!