Posts Tagged With: Sihanoukville

Bus from Hell to BKK

Customs

The last bus ride of my journey was also one of the most memorable!  As in – it was a fresh hell.

Agh!  The first part of the ride was nothing new – uneven roads and potholes that took up half

the bumpy highway.  I was used to the roads, and luckily I met up with some Sihanoukville

friends on the bus, who made the trip much more bearable.

As we neared the border, the trip got worse.  The usual scam artists were hanging out by the

customs office, ready to accept bribes in the form of “fees” to skip the line, but it was silly since

everyone eventually got through the line and to the other side.

BorderCrossing

Once we walked across the bridge and were back in Thailand, it seemed as though our bus operators had abandoned us in this border town.  We waited several hours in the sweltering heat for anther bus to show up, and when it did there was only room for about half of the people, and I wasn’t part of the lucky group that got to cram into the minibus.  We waited for what felt like another hour or so, half the remaining people chartered their own bus back to Bangkok, as it seemed like we weren’t ever going to leave the border town.

FINALLY the bus showed up after what seemed like an eternity and we all squished in with our luggage to this tiny van, and I thought we would make short work of the trip to BKK.

No.

After about three hours we had to transfer yet AGAIN to a new minibus, with an even surlier driver with a death wish.  I saw the name of the City and looked it up on my map – we still had three or four more hours to go until we reached our destination!  It was nearing dark and we had been on the road since 7am, so you can imagine how anxious I was to get there.

We all piled in again and I was lucky enough to sit beside my cute friend Phil who produced a splitter for his iPod with two sets of headphones, and the final leg of the trip sharing music and giggling while crammed together in the cargo hold with my new friend.

We arrived in BKK where we were unceremoniously dropped onto a street, which thankfully I recognized as nearby to Khao San Road.  I navigated our group to the road where we said some teary goodbyes and took off into the night.  There were still two more nights in Bangkok to enjoy!!

 khao-San-Road

And that is how I ended my journey to Cambodia and started to say goodbye after nearly two months travelling in SE Asia.

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Categories: Cambodia, Thailand | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Beachy Beachy Sihanoukville

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I loved Sihanoukville!! It was such a perfect place to end my journey.  I had been travelling for two months at this point, and was only days away from starting my journey home again…  I knew I needed to make the most of this place and really soak up Cambodian culture while I had the chance.

We stayed on Otres Beach, a sandy stretch about 15 minutes from the main hustle and bustle of town.  It made for one expensive tuk tuk rides back and forth to town, but was totally worth it in the long run because of the secluded feel of the beach and the castaway atmosphere.  The weather was not great – we had a daily afternoon rainstorm, but it made for some fun rainy afternoons with friends so we didn’t mind too much.

Our guesthouse was called Mushroom Point, coined obviously because it was a giant mushroom shaped-structure! We stayed in the mushroom dorm and two friends stayed in the little mushroom huts that dotted the property.  It was all soo cute! The place was  charming, the food was really delicious and the beach was right across the street.  We even had our own “mushroom bar” on the beach that served up food right on the beachfront.  We met some cool Brits, more Canadians and even some Americans (Hi Joshua!) during our stay, and had some wild party nights in the cozy laid back bars on the beachfront.

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There was lots of time to take in the scenery, walk down the shore and see the untouched, unspoiled land that was all around us (although an ominous -looking development seems like it’s going in right down the road.  there goes the neighbourhood). We spent a lot of time reading, hanging out in the sanctuary at Mushroom Point, and searching for the cheapest beers at happy hour (50 cents!) on the beach.  We also make it into town to check out Serendipity Beach, but got seriously rained out and had to while away an afternoon indoors drinking beers and playing pool (poor us!).

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My beautiful Brits and I parted ways after three fun-filled days, I was so sad to see them go and so jealous of their travels to Vietnam, Singapore, Bali, NZ, Aus and China that they had planned.  Keep me posted ladies!  I was so happy to have found some free spirited, like-minded souls to travel with through this excellent country.  It made my trip way more entertaining and they were just about the best travel companions i could have hoped for!

 


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My time in Sihanoukville included one more night where I visited some friends who were working in a local bar – they were staying on Serendipity beach with free food, accommodation and booze for one week, doing promo for a bar called the Dolphin Shack.  I wanted to party until the wee hours again, but was afraid of missing my bus trip back to BKK which would leave at 7am and last 14 disgusting hours.  Euugh.

Categories: Cambodia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

A Sad Day in Phnom Penh

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Our night bus was supposed to come with fully reclining bed-chairs to make the best of what we were told was an uncomfortable and bumpy trip to Phnom Penh. Instead of the “luxury” bus we had been promised, we got switched at the last-minute to a rickety old bus with hard leather sets that reclined thismuch and were impossible to sleep in.  The air-con was blasting all night, leaving us shivery and cramped as we tried to sleep for a very long and incredibly turbulent 7 hours on our trip to the capital.  Needless to say, we were rethinking our plans to stop in PP only for the day and then catch the bus to Sihanoukville later on in the day.  But we decided to press on and do what we had planned for the day, booking our bus tickets for another five-hour bus journey later on in the day to the beach town of Sihanoukville.  Super Travellers, unite!

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It was a sobering and sad day as we took the time to look at the sites commemorating the genocide of the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia in the 1970’s – only 40 years ago!  The country s still recovering majorly from the events of this period in its history, everywhere there is evidence of commemoration and rebuilding from the tragedy that occurred here.  If you want to learn more about the genocide that happened in Cambodia, I’d start here. http://www.ppu.org.uk/genocide/g_cambodia.html

We visited the Choueng Ek Killing Fields in the morning, a mass grave site that served as a burial ground for many of the prisoners in the Toul Sleng Prison that we visited later in the day.  Both sites made a huge impression on us, including my travel partners who weren’t as aware of what happened in Cambodia before they visited.  It was an eye-opening experience to visit the places where these atrocities happened so recently, and inspiring to see how far the country had come in so little time.  The dead were honoured here in memory and spirit, many people I saw were visibly accepted by the horror of these sites, and I think having these places open and available to the public is good: is educates us about how these things can happen and what we can do in the future to prevent genocide from happening again.

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Our day was reaching critical mass by that point.  We literally had ten minutes to rest after lunch before boarding the bus to Sihanoukville and our beach retreat.  Our bus was magnificent!  Fuzzy seats and lots of space to spread (squish) out.  I was an expert at sleeping on buses by this point. I used my sarong as a blanket, cuddled up with my trusty travel pillow and settled in for a five-hour nap.

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