You last joined us as we were ready to depart Thailand for the Kingdom of Cambodia. Over the last few days we’ve had few experiences that suggest we maybe should have stayed put in Thailand!
At the border, our minibus was greeted by many Thai men who swiftly removed our bags before we could even get off and put them into a cart. As we reached the Cambodian checkpoint, they of course asked for money. After a short protest, we begrudgingly gave them a small amount of money and made our way onto our next set of obstacles.
At the visa window, we were promptly told that we needed two copies of our visas, which was music to the ears of the swarming vultures… sorry conmen! Over the next fifteen minutes we placed our trust in a man to drive to get us copies of our visas, which naturally incurred the usual premium. During this time, to ease the anxiety, we befriended a Canadian man, who was as thoroughly hacked off at the constant attention of these conmen as us.
Our trusted associate returned and we entered Cambodia also known as the Wild West and from this point onwards we would become famous. As we walked around the town of Koh Kong, a short distance from the border, we received stares from everyone. It wasn’t as if we were the only westerners but we soon realised no one walks around here, it is all motorbikes.
After one night in Koh Kong with our key left, soberly, in the outside of our door we made the 4 hour bus ride to Sihanoukville to head to the island of Koh Rong. On arrival we got a taxi with a Czech couple who insisted on stopping for bread or precisely 10 baguettes, which we amusingly allowed as they helped us get a cheaper ride. However, the driver also wanted to stop at his Auntie’s nephew’s wife’s dog’s house to get us “cheaper” speedboat tickets but tired of this constant charade we stayed firm.
Fourty minutes later and I’d enjoyed my first speedboat journey to the island of Koh Rong. On the island, we stayed in a shack in the trees with a fantastic view overlooking the main area of the island but also meant we had to get closer to nature, which we would discover later.
Following some beach time, we had a disappointing dinner and proceeded to sample some lovely Klang beer, which came with 6% proof. At one particular bar, we sat down on a table with five ice cold cans staring tantalizing at us. We couldn’t, could we? We drank our paid for happy hour Klangs and tried to avoid the advances of our new chilled friends. Thirty minutes later no one had paid any attention to the cans, so we in no under certain terms cracked on! Klang hasn’t tasted as good since to be honest!
Many hours later we’d made friends with a guy from Leeds, guy from Canada and a couple from Iceland, who I had to shockingly inform that Birkir Bjarnason had signed for Aston Villa from FC Basel. Thought they’d be football experts now?
At 10pm + 5 we returned home to our hut to find our lizard friends and potentially a rat, which ran around the edge of the roof. Some sources, including me, claim that it was in fact the big lizard we found in our room the next morning.
Limited sleep was followed by a fortunately forgiving hangover and we set about getting some food. Stopping at the first of many restaurants, we decided to share a beef burger and chips. Francesca decided to give the questionable burger a miss but I battled on as best I could. However, throughout I had the nagging suspicion this might have been cat, particularly as I had just witnessed a woman put an at best drowsy cat into a black bag in a nearby shop only minutes before.
Anyway, the next day with unaffected bowels we set sail back to the mainland and it was a good job as it was a very bumpy journey. As a person, who has never been at one with the ocean, I spent the next fourty minutes smiling and laughing as the rest of the passengers hung on! In fact, for one passenger it all got a bit much and we had the fun game of working out what he’d had for breakfast.
On the pier, we all thanked our respective gods and got on with the day. A short tuk tuk ride in Sihanoukville down to Otres Beach followed. On the beach, we were greeted by more harassment from many beauty sellers, including one particular woman who firstly called Francesca a sexy girl before rudely implying that she had hairy legs and proceeded to stroke them in an attempt to thread them. Francesca wants to make it clear she doesn’t have hairy legs!!
Eventually, she put it behind her and we enjoyed an at best modest sunset made more memorable by what we assumed were multiple coach loads of Japanese tourists coming to take photos of each family member ‘holding the sun’.
On return, to our new hut I was met by screams from the shower. Francesca had spotted a rat! After more screams at rats and cockroaches (just screams at rats for me), we were left with a broken bum gun (a toilet utensil if you will) and two laughing staff members who came to fix the water that now wouldn’t turn off.
After drinking until gone 2am nowhere else was open and following a good thirty minutes with our legs up on bar stools we made the 20 yard dash to our hut avoiding the many rats on route. Four hours later after no sleep two rats completed their life’s work and got into our room itself. We were off!
From 6am until 11am we laid on the beach before checking out a day early and thankfully got our second nights’ money back and headed to Backpacker Heaven Hostel with a pool, a free drink and lovely food. All we can say is Phnom Penh and Siem Reap we’re ready for you!