As promised, the stories of our travels through Southeast Asia continue. This blogpost will be all about our time in Cambodia, the second country we visited in Asia.
After our time in Thailand we decided to travel to Cambodia through the border checkpoint Poipet in the South. We were excited to go to Siem Reap first, mostly because of Angkor Wat. We booked the journey over the border on Koh Chang. We travelled by minibus and ferry but unfortunately we got badly scammed at the border. So our biggest advise is to check out how the money situation is in the country you go to! Be informed so you’ll not be insecure about how and where to withdraw money, how to pay and exchange money etc. and people cannot scam you.
This start in Cambodia was really frustrating and we did not feel welcomed to this country at all. We realised more and more, that Cambodia was less developed and poorer than Thailand, and many of the first people we met there were really only focused on money.
However, we had booked very nice but cheap hotel rooms at “Villa Um Theara” and met a very kind tuck tuck driver who told us some facts about the city while he brought us to the hotel 🙂
Siem Reap wasn’t our favourite city. It was very chaotic and not so beautiful, at least not the places we saw. However, we found some really nice vegan restaurants and there was a similar “pub street” like Khao San Road in Bangkok.
On our first whole day in Siem Reap we visited a floating village which was so cool to see! We enjoyed the trip so much and had a very friendly tour guide. I would definitely recommend visting a floating village if you ever have the chance to!
On our second day then it was time to finally visit Angkor Wat, the biggest temple complex in the whole world. We talked to the nice receptionist at our hotel and he organized a tour with a tuck tuck driver who drove us around for the whole trip and showed us the best places. This way we were very flexible and could move quicker between the different buildings, which are scattered in a 162 hectar big area. We started very early in the morning and watched the sunrise over the main Angkor complex which was so beautiful! All the temples were so impressive and much bigger than I had imagined them, with beautiful sculptures and ornaments everywhere. It was definitely worth the 37$ we paid for the day pass.
On the same day, we booked an over night sleeping bus (it was called “Olympic Express Limousine Tour” and the reviews were very bad) to a small town called Kampot, even further South in Cambodia. It was a cool experience to travel with a night bus! We’ve been traveling with long distance busses a lot now, but never before with one that had beds instead of seats. I slept better than I thought I would. The only problem was that we arrived in Kampot in the middle of the night around 4 am (they told us we would arrive around 7 am), and we didn’t book a hostel before, so we had no place to stay 😀
In the morning we checked into a very nice hippie hostel called “Karma Traders”. It had a beautiful pool, garden and rooftop bar. We liked Kampot and this hostel so much that we ended up staying for three instead of only two nights! We rented some scooters for 4$ per day to explore the city and drove to a near town called Kep, where we went to a beautiful local beach and to a crab market. Locals mostly sold fish and other dead marine animals there, but we also found some delicious fresh fruit and tried sugarcane juice for the first time!
On the next day we decided to visit “La Plantation”, a local but world known all organic pepper plantation. After a long ride over a very bumpy and very sandy road we found the plantation and let me tell you, it was sooo beautiful! The main builduing had a wonderful terrace from where we could see a nearby lake, the pepper plants, water buffalos and many beautiful fruit trees. We joined a (free!) presentation and tour over the plantation, where the friendly guide explained a lot about how they grow pepper there and why it is used all over the world by chefs! We could even try the different sorts of pepper and there was a small shop to buy some too. We loved the visit and also learned a lot on this day 🙂
All in all we liked Cambodia, despite of the not so nice start in this country. Especially Kampot was a great place to stay, where we also got to know more of Cambodian culture, went to a holiday celebration in the streets, drank lots of iced coffees and ate some very delicious food like coconut Amok (typical Cambodian curry served in a coconut bowl) and banana-flower burgers.
If there’s anything you would like to know more about our travels or some tips or anything, just let us know and we will gladly try to help as good as we can 🙂
The next blog post of this series will then be about Vietnam, our last stop we made in Asia.
Anouk & Ken