Sihanoukville & Siem Reap

Seems like ages ago we were in Cambodia. Nowadays, we’re back home and we’re full time in the rat race again.  So here we go, our last blog about Cambodia.

Sihanoukville

After a few days on our little paradise island Koh Rong Sanloem, it was time to move to Sihanoukville. Same ritual for the way back: very small boat, wait a little, speedboat ferry and wait again for the ancient old-timer bus, and last but not least a Khmer tuk tuk to get to our hotel in Otres, near Sihanoukville. During the entire drive to our hotel there we were pretty happy with our decision to stay longer on the island and only to go for Sihanoukville for one night. Construction works were ongoing everywhere and the roads were heavily damaged by big lorries and rubbish was basically everywhere, horrible. The muddy roads were in such a bad condition, that our Khmer tuk tuk driver just could not reach our small hotel. No problems, only solutions, so our driver carried our heavy luggage on his shoulder, and we walked with our slippers through the red brownish mud for the last couple of hundred meters. We really should have made pictures of our feet, because the mud spatters came up to our knees. But once we arrived, our super friendly Italian hosts warmly welcomed us. As we were flying the next day, we only had time for a cool down swim and an amazing Italian dinner accompanied by a nice bottle of red wine. Once in a while you have to do something crazy 🙂

Siem Reap

Our tuk-tuk drive of the day before still fresh in our minds, next morning we ordered a 4×4 to get us to the airport. But even for the 4×4 driver it wasn’t easy to get us out of our mud hole. The flight went nice and easy, only 1,5 hour or so. Our hotel in Siem Reap offered us a free tuk-tuk transfer to their hotel and before we knew it we were settled again, ready for Siem Reap and the temples of Angkor.

Siem Reap is nothing like Phnom Pehn; it is really only a small city with obviously a lot of tourists. Our hotel was just a 5 minutes walk from the restaurant and pub street so perfect for lunch or dinner. Our room although not expensive at all, was massively spacious and it had even a small balcony. The hotel had a small outdoors swimming pool as well, which was very welcome because it was hot, very hot.

Siem Reap is by far the most developed of all cities we visited in Cambodia, which makes it maybe less authentic but it’s relaxed and easy which is also nice from time to time.

After reading and discussing a lot about the Angkor temples we decided to just go for a one-day tour. We booked the same tuk-tuk driver that took us from the airport to drive us around through the temples.  We left very early in the morning like 4am, to see the sunrise at the main Angkor Wat complex.   We clearly were not the only ones with that  ‘brilliant’ idea. It was busy, crowded actually, and not so easy to get some good shots of the complex without too many photo bombers. Angkor What is one of those spots visible from the space station, and we can understand why now, it’s simply out of this world, it’s so big. We visited the 5 or 6 main temples and left the site at 4pm. Luckily our driver was carrying cold bottles of water in the tuk-tuk at all times, we really needed it. When you want to go there, take a lot of water and an umbrella, for the rain or for the sunJ

The temples of Angkor were high on our bucket list, we were happy we’re able to experience it and be part of it, although it was only for a day. Together with the pyramids in Cairo it’s one of the world greatest wonders.

Six weeks had passed since we left Egypt; we had a great journey trough Vietnam and Cambodia but is was time to get our diving stuff in Bangkok and go diving in Sulawesi and Bali, time for new adventures.

Recommendations

  • Angkor Wat: Doesn’t need too much explanation I guess. Just prepare yourselves. Take water or cold drinks, an umbrella and find yourself a nice and friendly tuk-tuk driver that speaks a little bit of English and go for it. Entrance fees are not cheap ($37 pp for one day), so try to see as much temples as you can in one day.
  • The Red Piano: Belgian beers and Belgian dishes like beefstew or vol au vent. We had the most amazing mashed potatos with vol au vent and a fresh Belgian beer.
  • Bopha Residence: Nice boutique hotel with only 14 rooms, quite and yet within walking distance from the city center where you can find plenty of restaurants and pubs.  The rooms are quite big and the hotel has a small swimming pool, which is perfect for refreshment on hot and humid days.

 

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