Sorry it has been so long since we last wrote a blog! We did write one in Cambodia but the internet was crappy and what we thought had loaded and had been on there was not put on at all! We have been busy bees since we last wrote and have done the whole of Cambodia and are steadily working our way up the coast of Vietnam at the moment. Cambodia was amazing and we both had a brilliant time there, though it was on a slightly tight schedule so that we could meet up with Amy and Justin again in Ho Chi Minh City to do Vietnam together, we say everything we wanted to do!
Siem Reap was incredible and the temples of Angkor by far the most amazing thing we have seen on our travels. We had a three day pass so we took full advantage of getting our moneys worth out of the tickets and went to some of the temples more than once! There are so many temples which are all together in the same place, its so strange when you are going from one amazing temple to another. Whilst Angkor Wat has clearly got centre stage, alot of the other temples namely Bayon and Ta Prohmn up stage it completely and Angkor Wat is only icon from the view it creates on the horizon. We got up at 4:30 am to get at tuk tuk at 5 am in order to see the sunrise around Angkor Wat, thinking that barely anyone else would be doing this only to find hundereds of people all milling around the temple in the early hours of the morning! The sunrise was slightly disappointing as well - it wasn't as amazing as we had expected and I think the amount of people around us took away some of the mystic that was meant to be there as well!
From Siem Reap we headed to Battambang which was slightly disappointing so we only stayed 24 hours but enough to enjoy the Bamboo Railway which is a sheet of wood on top of two sets of wheels which hurtles along a rickety old track and when another train is coming along you have to get off and dismantle our 'cart' to let them pass! It was good fun though despite the fact it was over priced! From there we headed to Sihanoukville, which wasn't originally on our agenda but we needed to get our VISA's for Vietnam and this was the place to get them quickly! Spent a day travelling to get there, but we were pretty much travelling the whole of Cambodia and unfortunately stayed in a horrific hotel which found me and Joe covered in grease in the mornings when we woke up! Beggars couldn't be choosers though as beause it was new year all the nice place were taken and everywhere had put their prices up by vast amounts! Out VISA's were issued in about 5 mins the next day so it made it worth the visit! Spent two nights here making friends with some other travellers who had been in Sihnaoukville for ages - I think its the Cambodian version of Goa and travellers who go there rarely want to leave because it is cheap and has beautiful beaches! Ended up on an exclusive resort beach called Sokha beach which me and Joe found through clambouring over rocks by the sea to get to which ended up with Joe being injuryed (not badly!) and us scuttling into the hills so we both didn't die by climing the massive rocks! It was worth it though as I have never seen sand so white and a sea so clear! Even though it was for exclusive resort members only we plocked ourselves in front of the sign which said 'Only guests past this point' and enjoyed the beauty of the beach for free!
From here we headed to Kampot for one day which was a very nice place based around a river and the only good thing to see (a waterfall) was rubbish as in the hot season so we soon moved onto Kep. Kep was like a beautiful quite French seaside resort, full of French holiday makers and the Cambodian people spoke French better than English as well! We both had a lovely time here and hired bikes to get around as we stayed in a hotel which was miles away from anything and seemed to be completely dead! The only strange thing about here was that at night the place was slightly eeiree with hardly anyone around because everything was so spread out! We got back to our hotel at 9 pm and everything was in darkness and we had to use a tourch to find our room.... slightly spooky I think! We had picked this place for New Year which now seemed like an error due to the lack of activity at night and the fact we were miles away from anything! However this was soon sorted for us after we both got food poisioning from the seafood and were stuck in the room all of new years eve! Went out on a day trip to Rabbit Island whilst we were here which was really lovely and sat in hammocks pretty much on the waters edge.
Phnom Penh was our last port of call were we went to the Killing Fields and S-21 security prision from the time of the Khmer Rouge. Very sad places to go round, especially S-21 which just contained hundereds and hundereds of pictures of all the people who had been tourtered and killed by the Khmer Rouge from women, men, children, babies and old people - it was a very harrowing place and difficult to see. The Killing Fields had a monument of all the bones of the people who has been murdered there which is very surreal as looking at all the skulls it is difficult to realise that they are real human bones. Despite this, it is a tranquil place and the main indication of the horrors that went on here are the craters in the ground and pieces of clothing that are poking up through the grass. It was not long before we moved on again, and this time changing countries and heading to Vietnam. We got a direct bus to Ho Chi Minh city which was not without its complications when our bus picking us up was very late (meant to arrive at 6 am but turned up at 6:45 am the time our bus was leaving!) and me and Joe we split up on the back of separate motobikes to chase after the bus which has already left which our rucksacks on holding on for dear life! The only different was I was on the bike with the Cambodian driver and a random Italian man!
Cambodia was an amazing place and we both love our time there, The people are so nice and friendly and the kids are so cute! Everywhere you go the kids are waving and shouting out 'Hello!' to you and everyone is just very smiley! Completely different to India in this sense! We saw some very strange food though, namely deep fried massive tarantulas which apparently everyone loves and whole cooked turtles, shell in tact and all with their own eggs! Slighly rank to say the least! The tarantula are the most scarey thing to see as the plates are stacked high with them and they are as big as a grown mans hand!!
Arrived in Ho Chi Minh city safely and on time and met up with Amy and Justin again! We were both very excited to see them again and really made up that we are doing Vietnam together (as well as Thailand now as we have had a slight change of plan!). Vietnam is different again and food, drink etc is extremely cheap compared to Cambodia! Ho Chi Minh city was a buzzing place but 95% of the traffic is motor bikes so you are trying not to die everytime you cross the road! Sat dranking with locals one night on a street side bar and we have discovered that the crappier the seat is the cheaper the beer is and have found a large bottle of beer for as cheap at 8,000 VND which is about 25 p! Went on a day trip to the Mekong Delta and the Cu Chi Trails whilst we were here. The Cu Chi trails were amazing! Joe went down one of the original tunnels and I went to follow him but freaked out when I saw how tiny they were and completely pitched black! I don't know how the Viet Cong lived down them for 7 years! Went down some tourist tunnels which we really good but still a little bit clastrophobic for me! From there heading to Mui Ne, a beach area which was alot quiter but full of kite surfers on the beach as it was so windy! We tried to sit out but we just got battered by the wind as it was like sitting in a sand storm! Stayed in a really nice hotel here and was lovely to be in a chilled out place and not to be rushing about like we had been in Cambodia! Currently in Nha Trang which is so beautiful! Amazing bay which is about 5 miles long and is surrounded by Island when you look out from the sea and when you look back it is surrounded by lush mountains! The drive here was magnificent as well and Vietnam has got the most incredible coast libe we have ever seen! Went to go to their version of Disney land today call Vin Pearl Island only to walk away after it was 10 quid each to get in, disappointing after a 6km walk there!
Hope that has updated you all and you all had a very good Christmas and New Year!
Lots of Love
Rachel and Joe xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx