Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A long ride home...

As I had long weekend from last Saturday to Monday, 3 days! Let's go somewhere! Cambodia, Angkor Wat sounds good! Let's Go!

Waking up at 4.30 am to catch the 7.00 am flight by Air Asia to Phnom Penh, the flight was 1 hour and 10 minutes. Having visa on arrival for 20 US$ and one ID photo, you can enter Cambodia within 20 mins!

Once we got off the airport and ran away from eager taxi drivers, we got one taxi for 5 US$ to go in town to Capitol Tour where we can ride the bus from Phnom to Siem reap. It costs 4 US$ for A/C bus and takes about 6 hours. We left Phnom Penh at 10.30 with other Cambodian passengers. The bus was full, the road was ok, paved but dusty.

With a few stops all the way, we arrived Siem reap safe and sound at 16.00. At the bus station, it's a small chaos going on. Many taxi and moto drivers are trying to get their customers, I had to push them away from the bus's door to get out. I was lucky, I called hotel to send someone to pick me up and I saw the sign written my name Jane in red waved hopelessly among the crazy crowd. The hotel hired a cyclo (A motorbike with seat attached in the back) for us and our driver is Mr. Chamnan, sounds like Thai name but he can't speak Thai. He can speak English so we don't have problem to communicate with him as we also hired him for tomorrow temples tour.

Not far from bus station, we arrived at Sydney Angkor hotel, located on the east side of the river. Our room has 1 double bed, private bathroom (they do have a bath tub), fridge, A/C and towels and 2 bottles of drinking water, all for 15 US$ per night and that's a really good deal! With the A/C on and the long journey on the bus, it's time for a quick nap before dinner. On the way to old market or Psar Chaa where there are restaurants and pubs for tourists to hang out, there are many kids trying to sell souvenirs or books to every tourist who walks by. One tip! Ignore them! Say No, sometimes doesn't help! and don't even try to be nice telling them you don't want it as once you talk to them, many more will approch to you and follow you all the way. We did make mistake as we were too nice people, we told them friendly that we don't need to buy anything, Thank you. Big mistake!!! We couldn't get rid of them all night!!! And they also said bad words (in Khmer) to us and cursed us after following us for awhile and got nothing from their aggressive attempt.

"Hello You"
"Where you from?"
"Please buy this book"
"We need money to go to school"
"Give me one dollar"
"You not buy today, tomorrow you buy, ok?"
"blah blah blah"

Tell yourself, ignore them, no one is talking to you, you hear nothing and no kid around you! Oh! and be careful with your wallet, check your pocket all the time as if they can't sell, they try to pickpocket!!!
".................." say nothing and walk away
You're safe! and your wallet too!

We're craving for real Cambodian food, so we had our dinner at a restaurant near the river, I had orange and coconut rice cooked in Khmer style with shrimp and chicken. It tasted ok with the smell of orange and coconut in the rice, strange but ok. Jeremy had Khmer curry with vegetables and steamed rice, he enjoyed his food, so I think it's good too! We also share vegetarian springrolls and 2 bottles of Angkor beer and this meal costed us 10 US$.

After dinner, we walked around the market looking for nothing but Jeremy got his Angkor T shirt for 2 US$, I got one scoop of lemon icecream. Everyone was happy and we decided to go back to the hotel and rest as we will start our day very early to catch the sunrise at Angkor Wat, better sleep early!

At 4.30 am, the alarm on mobile phone was ringing... What is that annoying sound?? Oh! alarm! Oh! Gotta get up! At 4.50 am. walking down to hotel lobby, the security guy was sleeping and they locked the door!! How can we get out of this hotel???? Ahhh... security guy woke up, opened the door and called the driver for us. After hopping on our cyclo that we hired for all day 12 US$ (I think I can get cheaper cyclo but we liked our driver so it's ok) and we were heading to Angkor Wat! Hoorayyy! The admission fee is 20 US$ for one day pass, covering most of the temples except the other 2 far far away temples that I don't remember the name when the staff told me.

That day we're not lucky, it was raining... not too hard but showering with overcast sky all morning. That's why I don't have any nice photos from this trip...blame it on the weather!! We spent about 9 hours walking, climbing up and down the temples, it's so tired but great to see one of the world's seven wonders. It's really wonderful... it's really worth visiting and I totally agree that Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom is one of 100 things you must see before you die.

Exhausted and hungry, I couldn't decide what to do between taking a nap or having lunch. I felt like taking a shower and taking a nap before going out for lunch but when I walked into the cool room with A/C on... I changed my mind and jumped on the bed... food can come later! Woke up again around 17.00, took a shower and got ready for dinner (forgot about lunch, it's too late for that!). We picked the restaurant that we walked pass yesterday and saw that they have interesting Khmer dishes. I ordered spicy stir fried beef with peanut with steam rice, Jeremy had sour soup with fish and vegetables with steam rice and we ordered Khmer style green papaya salad, the taste is a little bit strange, different from Thai style and I like the Thai style more but the one we had was good too. We paid 11 US$ for this meal and 2 coconut shakes, not bad isn't it?

It's time for shopping!! I bought a nice bag for my mom and another one for my sister as they both have birthday in this month, so this is like their birthday present. I bought an Angkor Wat t-shirt for myself, it's green...really green and I planned to wear it the next day as I didn't have any clean shirt left (it was too hot and I sweated a lot and used all my clean shirts). I spent 26 US$ for all souvenirs and that's the most expensive things I bought in Cambodia!!

On the last day, we know it'd be our long long day. We bought a bus ticket back to Bangkok and it costs 12 US$ each. The bus leaves from Siem reap to Bangkok at 7.30 am everyday, we got on the bus around 7.15 am and after they picked up all passengers from other guesthouses and hotels, it's time to leave! We've got a warning about the bumpy road to border and old and bad quality bus. Yes! the warning is true! No A/C and very very old bus (I saw one bus had to be fixed on the way with passangers on the bus waiting!!!) with too many passangers on the bus and the bumpy and dusty road. They told us that the whole journey will be about 10 hours... this is NOT true!

We left Siem reap around 8.30 am and reached the border at 14.00 pm, 5 hours and 30 minutes on a hard seat, bumping almost all the time (the only time that it's not bumping was when the bus stopped for lunch or toilet), but I can say that the road is not that bad. I expected it would be worse, so I was quite surprised that it's not much bumpy as I thought!

Then we're at the border in Poipet, and it's my area! I've been there many times for the visa extension, so we didn't spend too much time on the visa procedure. You know what? The feeling when I walked back to Thailand this time... I felt so good and so glad to be home!! Cambodia is not that bad but I don't know why I really felt good to be back to Thailand... I'm home! finally!

Oh..well.... I'm not actually home yet as it took me another 4 and a half hours on the better bus to Bangkok. This bus is totally different from the bus we took in Cambodia. It's big and it has A/C... but the only problem is... the A/C they have is too cold!!! Really really cold!!! and with the hard raining outside made the bus colder!!! brrrr... I saw many passengers brought their jacket out and put them on. They're well prepared for this but we weren't!! We had to sit in this freezing bus for a couple hours before we found the way to stop the A/C (The driver won't turn it off even many passengers asking him to). The two Japanese guys sitting behind us showed us how to use the bus curtain to clog the A/C holes.... Whoo Hoo... we're safe!! Not freezing anymore!!

About 21.00 the bus arrived Khaosarn road... we're so hungry and we just took the first taxi that passed by!! Going Home!!

I love traveling... why? One of the reasons is the feeling when you get back home after the journey and you feel how much you missed your home.

It's always good to be home...


Jeremy said...

I had a great time traveling with you Jane, I'm sure there will be many more long bus rides to come. Where should we go next? ;-)

L B said...


Adrian Roberts said...

you must have been tired after you long bus ride home

simple american said...

What a nice trip. Still want pictures. Even if they are not the best. OK?

may said...

that's one long, looong journey indeed!

J said...

hahhaah.. what bus company did u take? i spent 9usd on my bus from siem reap to phnom penh!!!!! and the a/c wasn't working too well!!! i almost died in the bus...

Jane said...

@Jeremy: Gotta wait for awhile now... I'm broke...really broke!!!

@L B: Which part made you feel "OMG"?? huh??

@Adrian: Yeah... so tired...but feel better now..

@simple american: Pictures coming..coming soon!!

@may: absolutely...

@J: I took Capitol bus and it's only 4 US$ for me from Phnom penh to Siem reap...and the bus was pretty ok... Don't tell me you took Mekong Express!!!! It's too expensive... as it's double price!!

J said...

hmm.. i am not sure, did i manage to post a comment? or u just didnt approve my comment yet..

J said...

YES i did take mekong express!!! because someone recommended it! a friend of mine went there through mekong express!! and he said mekong express was the cleanest, and the most comfortable one!! was the a/c working well in Capitol bus??! well on the plus side, they did give a free mineral water, with bread and cakes, and a scented wet towel to freshen up.. actually it was all ok aside from the a/c!! how's Capitol? i would recommend it to others if its better than Mekong!

Jane said...

@J: Well... Someone told me that Mekong express is the best as it's the most expensive... but he also told me that Capitol is good too for its 4 US$ fee... and the bus I took, A/C was good... just no drinking water or cake or wet towel.. but it's half price!!! I don't know... I think you're just unlucky with your bus... hehehe only your bus that its A/C didn't work!!! oi!!!

J said...

tell me about it!! i think so too..the a/c almost killed me even before it was halfway to phnom penh!!

david wren said...

it sounds like you guys had fun, (sorry, I was reading jeremy's blog and it refered me to yours, I am one of his friends from the U.S.)
I would love to come visit some time, I have heard stories of how beautiful it is there

Jane said...

@J: I'm glad it didn't kill you though! hehe..

@david: Thanks for visiting... and you're always welcome here..