Journey Finished

For those who like to follow my travels and those who travelled with me recently in Southeast Asia, I have now completed my journal for my time there.  I have tried to remember everything we did during our time together and I have included many photographs, I’m sure I missed out many things and memories and I’m willing to add anything that my fellow travellers remind me of.

You can read all about our travels here.

As usual, during my trip I also took some street art photographs, I will add them to a separate page at a later date.


Leaving Cambodia

I last posted when I arrived in Siem Reap, this final post from Cambodia is also coming from Siem Reap, as this is where I get my bus back to Bangkok tomorrow morning.  Since my last post, I’ve visited many places, we left Siem Reap for Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, I didn’t think much of the city, too busy and very messy, I did a 16 km trek searching for some non-existent street art, which gave me a new set of blisters!

Before leaving Phnom Penh, we visited the infamous Khmer Rouge prison, S21 and the nearby Killing Fields, which seemed strange to find it in a peaceful lakeside location, both of them were very sobering visits and gave me an insight into the terrible events of the Khmer Rouge regime. This certainly was a different part of Cambodian history that should be remembered and never repeated.

We then made our way South to Kampot, a sleepy little riverside town, we arrived in time to board a riverboat for a sunset cruise,  as usual we didn’t get to see a sunset but the cruise was very nice and relaxing.  Fortunately the next day was a free day, which gave me the chance to have a bit of a lie in before a leisurely breakfast.  Kampot is not too large, I wandered about to see what sights it had to offer. I eventually found some paint on walls in the town, most of it pretty basic , but there was a couple of really good pieces.Our final visit in the Kampot area was to the Kep Gardens on the outskirts of Kampot,  this was a great visit, it was to a community education project, set up and run by an elderly Australian couple, we were shown round by Janiine and we then spent the next few hours teaching English to 6 and 7 year old kids, it really was great fun, I don’t know who enjoyed it most, the kids or us, I was blown away by how clever some of the kids were and how well they responded to us.

Following our visit to Kampot, we returned Phnom Penh, as we had a bit of a late night, there were a few sore heads first thing, mine included, I had a wee wander around the area in the afternoon as I didn’t really like the city much, my second visit didn’t change my mind.  As I was leaving the group in the morning,  we all gathered for our final dinner together,  we chose Friends the Restaurant, a collective project restaurant where all the profits are returned to the community, it was a nice way to finish off our trip together.

As I said, I did however discover little pockets of good street art, only one or two in each place, but it was good to see that some are trying, despite the local government crackdown.

I was picked up in the morning and taken to the bus station, where Tra Tra and I boarded our Mekong Express Limousine coach to Siem Reap,  my final destination in Cambodia.  I’ve enjoyed my time here, it’s a country full of happy friendly people, despite the visible poverty, the only time we felt threatened was in Phnom Penh as we had been told there were bag snatchers about.  The countryside and history is fascinating, it really good to spend some time amongst the villagers and normal expletive not jus the ones in the tourist pots.

Welcome to Cambodia

We said goodbye to Laos, by getting back on a boa to the mainland then taking a relatively short bus run to the border post to leave Laos,  we all then trudged across no-mans-land to the Cambodian version to pass through immigration.  A new bus then took us to a border town where we had a brunch before the long bus run to Siem Reap.

On arrival, we checked into our hotel, the Lub.d, which is by far the best hotel on our trip, the rooms are very modern and well fitted, a great shower all with a swimming pool and bar facilities. That night La took us to Pub Street, a sort of mini Kaosan Road, where we had dinner in a nice restaurant with live music played by local musicians, we managed to convince Adam, one of our group,  to join them in a rendition of Oasis’s Wonderwall, it was great fun.  We then tried out a few other bars but they were too noisy for many of us so we retuned to the hotel to finish off the night and to bid farewell to Oggy who was returning home the next day.

The following morning, we went to Angkor Wat, it really is a special place, we toured two of the temples, guided by Marri, a local guide who was very knowledgable about the temples and their surroundings.  We had lunch before being taken to Angkor Wat itself, again it was a place that gave you good vibes, we went for a Buddhist Blessing, which really enlightened us.

We finished off the day by visiting a Cambodian community circus, it was really more of an acrobatic performance but it was very good and entertaining

The next morning we met Tra Tra,  our new Cambodian Guide, and we boarded to bus to take us to Battenberg for our Homestay. We travelled to the city, and had lunch before visiting the local fish market and whiskey distillers and, possibly the strangest visit of all, was to a stall selling barbequed rat, snake and stingray amongst the delicacies on offer.

We then went to the village where we were to spend the night, after meeting our hosts, we took a stroll around the village,  again the locals were very friendly and welcoming, especially the children.  As it was nearly night time, we ventured out to one of the paddy fields to see the sunset before returning to the house for a lesson on how to make spring rolls and our evening meal.  Our bed for the night was in the long house upstairs, and it was a little strange at first until everyone settled down. The cockerels of the village made sure we didn’t stay in bed too long, so we had a reasonably early start back to Siem Reap, stopping again in Battenberg to visit the market, I even managed to take a photograph of a nice Chinese mural.   We then had a great time on the bamboo railway,  this was great fun, the trucks were essentially little bamboo pallets on wheels with a little petrol engine driving the wheels by a vee belt and a stick.  We then returned to Siem Reap, where we had a free day ahead and time to recharge my batteries.