Last post was already 4 days ago so time to catch up!After an epic trip to kampong Cham (5h30 from Siem Reap, tire explosion included, although on the largest road of the country), we’ve decided to spend a full day around the town. The simple solution in Cambodia is to hire a moto-remork (or tuktuk) for the day: it doesn’t cost much and drivers are pretty much everywhere around the city. It’s been our day on Friday: first a ride through the backcountry to silk weaving villages, then some culture with the only remaining wooden pagoda in Cambodia (all the others having been destroyed by the Khmer rouges) and to finish some holistic with a special Buddhism worship complex (that somehow looked like an abandoned soviet amusement park with fruit statues.) Back in town with a Mekong river festival – basically rural Cambodians discovering consumerism and folk fests – and for us some good Thai dishes!
Next day, direction Kratie in northern Cambodia with the surprise to get a 5h30 bus ride although the ticket purchased was expressly asked for a fast van…the town is only 120km north from Kampong Cham. This time the bus luckily doesn’t break down (50% rate so far) but the ride is so slow that it makes me nuts (especially knowing that the express takes 2h). We arrived in the afternoon and headed to our home stay accommodation on the island of koh trung. A different planet, quiet and clean, rural farmland and pagodas surrounded by the mekong. Some kind of remote postcard community. And we will spend two days here enjoying a great host, traditional home and our best meals so far.Saturday is to explore the region of Kratie by scooter. A road follows the Mekong all the way to Laos, and the first part is going through some traditional agricultural country, rapids on the river, (rare endangered) river dolphins, more temples…and tasty street food (I’ll come back to that). We are really far from Germany in here!
We’re now writing from Phnom Penh were we have spent the last two days after an early departure and for the first time having managed to get a reliable fast and almost comfortable (18 people in a four row minivan) ride. Phnom Penh is a booming city, but still comparatively small and “walkable” (important criterion for me to decide if I like a city). Unfortunately Cassie’s digestive system has not quite enjoyed yesterday’s street food from kratie – even kept over 40c by the sun for likely a few days – and Phnom Penh has mostly been from the hotel for her. Luckily we had decided to go “crazy” and almost double our night budget, cheap city hotels usually been also neither the safest nor the most shining. Cassie thus now knows all BBC news from around the world, and between supplying her medicine, food and forcing her to drink, I have rambled around the royal family palaces, the numerous pagodas and markets.
This morning we’ve made an attempt to both go around, and see some Khmer rouges terror sites, some very deranging visits of this recent troubled past. While Cassie had to come back to the hotel to finish recovering, I went for another walk around the center and in the national museum (lots of Buddhism or Hinduism or in between or something else statues!).
We are now getting ready to leave early tomorrow morning back to Vietnam in the Mekong delta for a few days- first stop, Chau Doc!
Cheers, Cedric and Cassie