|Enroute to Ban Lung I was a bit worried about finding accommodations. I knew it was a small city in a remote province and it was the New Year holidays. I had been able to find only two guesthouses online and both were booked. My host family assured me, however, that I would be ok. When the bus broke down I was even more concerned; afraid we would arrive to rows of locked buildings in the middle of the night.
I needn't have worried.
As I stepped off the bus at 8:00 pm a crush of moto taxi drivers surrounded me. I quickly scanned the crowd for an honest-looking face and, as it turns out, I chose well. I told the driver I needed to find a guesthouse and asked if he had a recommendation. I expected bare bones accommodations but instead he dropped me at the door a a nice place. The desk clerk spoke excellent English, the lobby offered all sorts of tourist information and the rooms turned out to have air-conditioning and satellite TV. All for $10 per night. The bathroom could have used a good cleaning and, as is typical in Cambodian guesthouses, there was no toilet paper. I was already aware of the need to provide your own TP, however, and had brought a roll along.
Ban Lung was by no means shut down for the night. The main street may have been unpaved but it was bustling with a night market. The air was filled with delicious smells as street vendors hawked all kinds of cooked foods and fresh fruits.
In the coming days I would occasionally sit on the 2nd story balcony of the guesthouse and look down on the street. For the duration of my stay it remained buzzing with the endless activity of the vendors and their customers. I had the impression that I was in a "Wild West" town because Ban Lung is indeed a sort of outpost in the surrounding jungles and hills. The comings and goings of the vendors and occasional Western backpacker on their motos reminded me of cowboys riding into a dusty town on their trusty steeds.