13 September, 2014

We go to Cambodia: Catchup #2

Late in the day at Angkor Wat
Viking Man and I had talked for a long time about going to Vietnam, and in March 2012 we finally had a chance to go. I spent months meticulously researching the trip. I came up with a grand scheme that consisted of going from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi and all the stops in between by boat, bus, and rail. It was a dream trip that would take at least two weeks.

Then we changed our minds and went to Cambodia. I didn't do any meticulous research, I made no reservations, there was no grand scheme. We flew to Phnom Penh with backpacks and a Lonely Planet.

'Can you take us here?' we asked a taxi driver at the airport, pointing to a hotel from the guide book. He took us there.

It was fully booked. Another place had one night available, and one night available at a sister hotel. So we stayed two nights in Phnom Penh. We spent our time at the National Museum, the S21 Genocide Museum, and some local markets. We skipped the Royal Palace for lack of appropriate attire.

'Can you get us bus tickets to Siem Reap?' we asked our hotel. They got us bus tickets, so we went to Siem Reap.

'Can you take us here?' we asked a tuk tuk driver, pointing to a hotel from the guide book. The hotel had availability for two nights. So we stayed two nights in Siem Reap and went to Angkor Wat, of course.

'Maybe we should go to the beach now,' we said to each other. So we booked a local flight to Sihanoukville and took a very bumpy tuk tuk ride out to the end of Otres Beach where we stayed for two nights in a bungalow.

'Can you get us bus tickets to Phnom Penh?' we asked our hotel. They got us bus tickets, and we returned to Phnom Penh. We stayed one more night before our return flight to Singapore.

I have nothing but good things to say about Cambodia. The people were gracious and friendly, the food was fantastic, the sights were remarkable. I loved this trip.

Tips for traveling in Cambodia:
  • In Phnom Penh, stay at the Blue Lime or one of it's sister properties.
  • The Genocide Museum is absolutely chilling but worth the visit.
  • Unless you really love temples, one day at Angkor Wat is suitably mind-blowing.
  • Do not charge excitedly into Bayon Temple and lose track of your partner's whereabouts! 
  • When traveling by bus, do not put your backpack in the baggage hold next to a moped and an ancient styrofoam cooler box full of fish on ice. 
  • Go with the flow and travel around--Cambodia has a lot to offer.

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