A Travellerspoint blog


Siem Reap, Cambodia (10th - 14th November)

Our guesthouse in Siem Reap sent a tuk tuk to collect us from the bus station. It was a really bumpy journey to start with but thankfully the roads smoothed out a bit as we got closer to the town centre.

We stayed at Jasmine Gardens. It was an ok place, though I wouldn't recommend it specifically. The room and bathroom were a bit rough and scummy in places. Not hugely, but enough to warrant mentioning. Plus we had problems with the toilet, which has happened far too often on this trip. We did get breakfast included though, even if the coffee was gross again.

One good thing about the guesthouse was that they arranged a tuk tuk driver to take us around the temples at Angkor the following day. We set off fairly early so that we could fit in as much as possible. Entry tickets aren't cheap but you do get your photo put on them, which is quite novel.

Our driver was really good - he'd drop us off in different areas, tell us roughly how long to spend there, then specify a collection point to meet us and drive us on to the next place.

Angkor Wat's the temple that everyone's heard of, but there are lots of others too. We started off at Angkor Thom, which is really impressive. It's hard to find the words to describe it, so here's a photo:


Another really impressive one (though they were all pretty impressive) was Ta Prohm. The main draw of that was the trees that were entwined with it:


As well as all the beautiful structures, we saw quite an array of animals on that day too. Elephants, pigs, monkeys, tiny tiny frogs... Plus we bumped into the Australian couple that we'd met in Mui Ne. That's happened a lot on this trip too.

Angkor Wat was the penultimate place we went and it is incredibly beautiful. Walking around inside it isn't as impressive as the other temples I've mentioned above, but looking at the outside from a bit of a distance is pretty stunning:


After that our driver took us to a place with a good lookout point, so we could watch the sun set over Angkor. It was incredibly busy, as you can possibly imagine, but it was a nice way to end the day.


We had initially considered spending two days at Angkor, but it was such a long and tiring day, we didn't really have the stamina for another. There was stuff we didn't get to see but we'd squeezed in a decent amount. It was a hugely enjoyable and memorable day. Easily one of the best days we've had on this trip. But like I said, incredibly tiring. Although not so much from the walking around; it was mostly due to the weather. It wasn't hugely sunny, but it was very unpleasantly humid, which is probably worse.

Anyway, on our second day in Siem Reap, we had a much more relaxing day. I can't really remember what we did, to be honest, but I think it involved a jug of beer at about midday.

Originally we were only going to spend the 3 nights in Siem Reap, so that's all we booked at Jasmine Garden. However, as we were then going on to Bangkok, where we'd need to spend quite a few days anyway (as had a friend joining us), but didn't want to arrive there too long before her (as we'd only get a 15 day visa), we decided to spend one more day in Siem Reap. It wasn't to do anything particular, but it was a nice place to just chill out.

We didn't want to stay in Jasmine Gardens so we moved to a nearby place called Bunlinda. It was about the same price but turned out to be quite a bit nicer. It even had a pool, so we made some use of that. Plus the owner was really sweet and friendly and sat with us for ages, asking us where we'd been to on this trip and drawing his own map of our route. It was quite an abstract map, it has to be said, but it made our stay there extra memorable.

On the day that we did leave, we took a bus to Bangkok. The bus and the journey were fine, as far as I remember. We had a border crossing, of course, which seemed to take place in the most fishy-smelling town in the world. But aside from that, it was fine. Infact it was better than fine - we were only meant to get 15 day visas, as we were entering by land, but we were given 30 day visas for some reason. Not that we needed them, but they were still nice to have.

Posted by chantalpatton 19:38 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

Phnom Penh, Cambodia (7th - 10th November)

We arrived at an incredibly busy bus station / market and fought our way through all the offers of transportation in order to walk to our guesthouse.

Cambodia felt quite similar to Vietnam, just with slightly less bikes and slightly more cars. You still couldn't walk on the pavement, so in amongst the melee it was.

It was a decent walk to the guesthouse, though not too bad. We stayed at Velkommen Guesthouse, which I really liked. The staff were friendly and the rooms were nice and clean. When we were looking for somewhere to stay, we narrowed it down to Velkommen and one other place. Both sounded good but not outstanding. It ended up being the rave reviews of cleanliness at Velkommen that swung it for me. Especially as one of the reviews for the other place mentioned cockroaches, which are apparently common in Cambodia, but still. We happily didn't have any cockroaches at Velkommen. We did have a teeny tiny lizard at one point but he was a welcome guest.

On our first full day in Phnom Penh we paid for a tuk tuk driver for the day (which isn’t much), to take us to the Killing Fields and also the Genocide Museum (which is the old prison). For anyone who doesn’t know, a tuk tuk’s a cart thing that’s attached to a motorbike.

The journey was partly fun and partly scary. You’re in amongst the crazy traffic, plus the road’s really bumpy in places. I also realized why so many people on bikes will wear the dust guard things over their mouths, as you do get covered in a lot of dust and grit from the roads.


The Killing Fields were really interesting. You get an audio tour thing included in the ticket price. The fact that you can still see some teeth and other bits of remains under the ground in certain places is really eerie and gives you an idea of the extent of the genocide that took place there. It was pretty hard going though, as I’m sure you can imagine.

We went to the prison after that. That’s good to see, but it got a bit too much for me when we were there. To be walking around amongst so much evidence of death, so soon after my Dad’s passing, was just really upsetting. I’d been fine at The Killing Fields, as I could separate it in my head and just concentrate on the audio guide, but there was too much chance for thinking and reflection at the prison and I had to leave. We still saw a decent amount of it though and it was a good day, just not the easiest time to be doing it.

Our second day in Phnom Penh was more laid back. We just walked around and took in a few sights, then went to a sports bar in the evening to watch the rugby.

We left Phnom Penh for Siem Reap by bus. We travelled with Giant Ibis, who were decent. The roads are pretty bad quality though, so it was quite a bumpy journey and took about 2 hours longer than it was meant to. Plus the wi-fi on board only worked for a really brief period. They’d have been better off having a toilet on the bus instead. I had a pretty uncomfortable hour of waiting for the next toilet stop! Still, we got there safely.

Posted by chantalpatton 01:17 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

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