Battambang: Track 3 - Tuk-Tuks and Temples
Feb 25, 2012
Had a busy couple of weeks since I last updated you all!\
We really enjoyed the rest of our stay on Ko Tao. We spent a day snorkling, and found a beach bar where these awesome Burmese guys did fire poi all night. I think we could have happily stayed there a few more nights! However on the Monday we got the boat back over to the mainland, and the sleeper train overnight back up to Bangkok (much nicer way to travel than the bus!). We then flew to Phnom Penh.
The first thing we noticed about Cambodia was the INSANE roads. We had read in the guide book before we got there that Cambodians 'theoretically' drive on the right. This pretty much sums it up! There are just mopeds and tuk-tuks everywhere, and everyone just drives where they want to drive. Yet somehow, it just works! We got a tuk-tuk to the guesthouse we had decided to stay at (by recommendataion of the guidebook), which was supposed to be on the side of a big lake. Unfortunately the lake was bought by Chinese developers a couple of years ago, and has now been filled in! Luckily the guesthouse was still really lively and fun, and there were always plenty of people to chat with in the cafe.
One night we were having some drinks with a few other travellers and a few locals, who introduced us to a local drinking game. The game was essentially spin the bottle, but using a chicken head! As I have a bit of a phobia of dead things, it wasn't really ideal, but I joined in anyway!
We spent five nights in Phnom Penh in total. We visited the killing fields just outside the city and the genoside museum. It was very interesting, but so sad to see what this country has been through so recently. We also visited the royal palace, and a few of the markets and bits around the city.
Last Sunday we got the bus up to Siem Reap. This was an interesting experience... tanksfully it was air conditioned, but even Laura had no legroom, and we subjected to extremely loud cambodian music channels for the whole 7 hours. On the rare occasion you became immune to the music and almost drifted off to sleep, the bus would beep really loudly, which it did everytime it needed to overtake something! I'm sure we will experience far worse buses than this later in the trip though!
We had been recommended a guesthouse in Siem Reap, but unfortunately it was full when we arrived. we went to a place just down the road which looked ok, but the room turned out to be damp due to the shower thing by the toilet (bum-gun as we have heard it called!) leaking all night. We left as soon as we could! When we finally managed to check into the guesthouse we wanted to be in we had a little bit of a surprise, as the 'dorms'that we had been recommended were actually just matresses on a concrete floor on a balcony, with mosquito nets over them! Laura was very brave (as she really hates bugs) and agreed to sleep outside, as the beds cost just $1 (about 60p) a night, and there was a good bar upstairs where beer was only 50c (about 35p)!
We spent 3 days looking round the temples around Angkor, including (quite amazingly for us) a trip to Angkor Wat at sunrise! Each of the temples is so different. One has lots of giant faces all over it, and one has huge trees growing into it and was where the Toomb Raider films were shot. We wouldn't have wanted more than 3 days there though, as we were very templed-out by the end, and glad to spend a while chilling with a beer at a pool we found!
One night we did a cooking course, which was great, but we were so full we didn't really get to each too much of what we made!
One night Laura dragged me to get a massage (not generally my kind of thing at all). It was really scary, as they sort of climb all over you on a matress on the floor. apparently it wasn't as relaxing as the ones Laura has had before as she looked horrified at the end, and I actally came out with some bruises! Not sure it is something I will be doing again!
Yesterday we got the bus from Siem Reap to Battambang (not quite such an awful journey as the tv broke half way, but unfortunately the air con wasn't up to much, and it seems to have got a lot hotter here over the last few days! We were very glad to get back into a room with a fan last night, having spent so long sleeping outside!
Today a Tuk-tuk driver took us to see the sights around Battambang (there isn't much in the city it's self). The first stop was the bamboo railway. This is literally some bamboo laid on wheels with a motor attached, which you can sit on and go for a little trip to a nearby village. If you meet someone along the tracks, the carrage with the lease passangers has to be completely dismantled to let the other pass (and if there are the same number of passengers they resort to rock, paper, scissors!). It was so much fun, and some children at the other end made us jewellery from grass, and took us to a rice factory!
We then went wine tasting at a local vinyard... it reminded me somewhat of Grandad's homemade wine! We saw a few temples and stuff, but mainly just enjoyed a nice tuk-tuk ride through the villages!
Tomorrow we are getting the bus (11 hours!) to Sihanoukville, which is a seaside resort type-place, but we are hopeing to get over to some of the islands on the south coast, which are supposed to be beautiful!
I have tried to upload some photos, but it didn't like lots of them, so will put some up asap!
I hope everyone is really well and 1967 weekend has been a success!
Lots of love and hugs to everyone.