Must have only got about 4 hours sleep last night but at least we had chance to get showered and rest, ready for the travel across the border, instead of staying in the bus station. We got up nice and early and headed straight off to the bus station, although Nath thought he might not make it as he had a bad belly! We flagged a taxi just around the corner and didn't get stuck in as much traffic as expected, so got to the station with an hour and half to spare. It was only in the taxi on the way that we realised why it took so long to get to the mall last night- we went to the wrong one and walked miles past it!!
We grabbed some breakfast from the 7/11 at the station and chilled out until we got on the bus. Nath was suppose to be sat on the seat infront of me on the bus as that was the only one left, but luckily the bus driver moved the guy who suppose to be next me to Naths seat without even saying anything. The guy didn't notice a thing to be fair!
The bus was pretty shabby and a little worn but at least it wasn't a mini bus and the seats were pretty comfy. We got some cookies, juice and an iced coffee for breakfast too. We stopped at lunch time for a break and to grab some food and then headed for the border!
The guy on the bus asked us to fill in our visa applications and he would take them and our passports to the border to be processed, for an extra price obviously. We said we would do our own at the border and there was no pressure from him which was good.
When we got closer to the border they brought us some lunch around, which was a microwave meal from the 7/11- just what we were used to!
We got off the bus at the Thailand border and went into the immigration to have our passport stamped to state that we were leaving the country. We then had to fill in a health declaration form and head through to another section to fill in our visa application form, with a photo attached and $30 for a tourist visa. When you went up to the desk to hand it in, there were two police men either side of you who you handed your forms and money to. One of the men showed us a piece of paper on the sly that said $30 plus 100 baht. Nath pointed to the sign of the wall that said $30 and the guy was not impressed at all. He just pointed at the piece of paper and said you pay in dollars and you come from Thailand you pay Thailand. Luckily we already knew this was going to happen and had the 100 baht each put aside, but Nath just wanted to try his luck. I didn't know until we got out but when Nath pointed at the sign one of the guys grabbed him really hard by the shoulder! It was such a scam for tourists as there is nothing you could do! We saw them turning people away who said they didn't have the money. We also saw them covering the paper up when local people came over! Just glad to have our visa and be done with it now!
After getting the visa we then had to join another massive queue in a tiny box room to get stamped into the country and to have our photo and finger prints taken. After this, it was eventually all done with and we could get back on the bus and into Cambodia we went! Hope the people are nicer than at the border!
When we got into Cambodia, it looked a lot like Thailand- very green, pretty poor with little built up area, houses with tin roofs, everybody on scooters. Once we got a bit further inland we passed areas of what I thought Cambodia would look like. There were miles and miles of farmland and crops- all a light brown colour with some animals in some fields. It was hardly built up apart from every so often there would be little groups of very poor looking communities with tin/make shift houses. Little children playing bare foot with footballs and football posts. Most of the houses/ living areas were open to some extent with missing walls. There were some houses made of brick, that looked much posher in comparison. Some of the field areas had been burnt and some parts of them were on fire when we passed- we guess that this is purposely, but don't know why yet. It looked like the Cambodia I imagined here where we passed and it was lovely to pass the local communities, even though there was so much poverty.
We arrived in Siem Reap around 6.30pm and were dropped off at the office of the bus company. They said that they provided free tuk tuk's to bring us to our accommodation. When we set off, the driver said that as the tuk tuk was free, he would be our driver tomorrow for a trip to the temples. We told him that we wasn't going on the trip then and we didn't know when we would be going so we didn't want him to be our driver. He didn't seem too happy, but it was tough really. We felt a bit sorry for him giving us a free ride so we gave him $2 and he was so happy and you could tell it meant a lot!
When we got to the hotel it looked lovely! The pool was all lit up on a night and there was a restaurant overlooking the pool. The staff came and greeted us straight away and told us to sit down on these comfy seats whilst they checked us in. They brought us a drink, some nuts, some fruit, a cold flannel and some sticky rice to have while they scanned our passports etc. There were quite a lot of staff all trying to help us and welcome us. One of the men brought our bags to our room for when we got up there and two women kept checking we were okay and had everything we needed. The polite greeting here was to put your hands together, like in prayer and bow your head, so every member of staff did that to us.
One of the women brought us up to our room and showed us how everything worked. There was a box that had buttons to control every light in the room, which was cool. The room was massive and had a huge bed, a dressing table, wardrobe, sofa, table and big flat screen TV with a sound bar in it. The bathroom was massive too and had a lovely big shower in it. It had a balcony which was quite small but nice, that overlooked the back of the hotel where peoples houses were. It was pretty sad really as we were staying in this lovely posh hotel and looking out of the balcony we could see the poverty that Cambodian people lived it and their houses made of mental and tin. The hotel worker told us that it is only hotels that are big and nice in Cambodia but that all the houses are small, just like her house.
The hotel looked so nice and the staff seemed great! We were very excited about staying here after dossing it for 3 weeks! Included in the price of the room we got vouchers for an hour free massage each, a 4 course dinner for one night and buffet breakfast every morning. We booked the massage and dinner for the next day, my birthday, and then headed out for something to eat!
The streets looked pretty lively on the night and there was a night market just up the road. The market was just clothes though and souvenirs, and it didn't really seem like there were any street venders which we were gutted about! We walked up to pub street, which was a lively street with bars and restaurants on. The bottom of the street there were loads of tuk tuk's, with every one asking if we wanted one. We were so starving, we took a walk up the street and just stopped at any restaurant. We decided to play it safe tonight as we hadn't tried any Khmer food yet, so we got chicken and pork with chips. It was nice though to be fair.
After the meal we found a bar with an upstairs level overlooking the street and with a live band and singer and sat there for the rest of the night having some drinks. We didn't want to get too drunk though as I didn't want to be hungover on my birthday so we headed back about 11pm and laid down in our amazingly comfy bed! We have never felt a pillow as comfy before!!