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Showing posts from October, 2009

15th to 22nd October - Sihanoukville, Cambodia

Sihanoukville was a welcome relief from the constant ream of cities we'd found ourselves in. It was a beach resort, a little touristy but with enough local flavour to make it a pleasant experience.

We had a long journey, we'd already booked a ticket on the crap bus from Siem Reap back to Phnom Penh so we had to get another bus from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville. We chose a different and much better bus company called Paramount. All in all it was a 12 hour trip.

We got to Sihanoukville and stayed at a hotel called Beach Road. It was lovely and had a great pool. The hotels we've stayed at in Cambodia have all been really good. We were pretty tired that night and went across to a place called Monkey Republic for dinner. Low and Behold..... I bumped into Simon again. We also met up with some of Lena's friends that night went off to a place called Utopia for a few drinks. It was good fun.

The next day was spent having a dip in the pool and then we explored the town. It's ve…

12th to 15th October - Siem Reap

We travelled up to Siem Reap, the roads were sketchy and there were obsvious signs of the floods that had impacted Cambodia the weeks before we arrived. I was very excited to see Angkor Thom and Angkor Wat. It completed what has been a memorable time for me in terms of seeing some of the worlds most important monuments and sites. I've now seen The Grand Canyon, Osorno Volcano, Black Glacier at Bariloche, Statue of Christ in Rio, Machu Pichu, Dead Sea, Petra, Taj Mahal and the Ganges River and now Angkor Wat.

We stayed at a place called Mekong Palace Hotel and the best news was that it had a swimming pool. It was pretty warm in Siem Reap and we really appreciated having a pool at our disposal. That night we went out for a very nice meal at a posh restaurant near our hotel. Exactly what was needed.

The next day we relaxed and took a lazy stroll around Siem Reap after a swim. The main road of Siem Reap is literally a dirt track full of holes. It's terrible. But somehow, Siem Reap …

10th to 12th October - Phnom Penh

We got the bus up to Phnom Penh and the bus was awful. Certainly the worst bus I have been on in South East Asia. We travelled with a company called PhnomPenhSorya... if you ever go to Cambodia, don't travel with them... it's a local bus disguised as a tour bus...

The bus was pretty average and it had an area that they claimed was a toilet... looked a bit more like a dump site to me. They had the air con on super freezing so for a fair few hours we sat there shivering until I figured out I could stuff the curtain up into the a/c vent and block it off... That was fine until my seat broke. All in all, a terrible experience. We got to the border after a few hours and had to go through the motions of having our bags checked.

It was so lacks that I could have taken anything through.... Still I managed to complete my SE Asia stamps with one for Cambodia in my now very well inked passport...

We finally arrived in Phnom Penh and checked into one of the best places I've stayed in SE…

5th to 10th October - Mekong Delta and Ho Chi Minh City

The flight to Mekong Delta was a little bumpy to say the least. We were sad to leave Phu Quoc behind but it's always exciting going to somewhere new.

We got to Rach Gia airport and looked for transport to take us to Can Tho. One of the taxi drivers offered us the two hour journey for something like $50 but we'd heard there was a bus that could get us there for much less so we declined. We got to the bus station and there was this very packed mini bus about to head off. It turned out this was the bus to Can Tho... We just about squeezed on and the ticket guy tried to con us out of money. We argued our case and got it for the price we should have. I hate that about SE Asia. Just because we're Western doesn't mean we're all rich.... grrr

Anyway, our bags were packed on the roof with no visible sign of rope securing it. That coupled with the bumpy road and the low lying clouds threatening rain made for an interesting journey. Dennis and I took on the role of bag watcher…

2nd to 5th October - Phu Quoc

What a haven Phu Quoc island was. After the turmoil of the last few days, we so needed to escape. I travelled there with Tal, Lena, Dennis and Nadia. Again the usual hawkers were willing us into their beach resorts as we left the airport.

We grabbed flyers and compared notes before deciding to go to the Tropicana Resort on Long Beach. I couldn't and still can't get the song Club Tropicana by Wham out of my head.... Unfortunately at this Tropicana, the drinks weren't free although there was fun for everyone...

The bonus was that the hotel had a pool as well as a beach front. It was ideal for what we wanted. I shared a beach bungalow with Tal and Lena. The first day we pretty much chilled by the hotel and went for a swim. We met an interesting dutch guy called Leslie who was full of opinions and claimed to be a professional showjumper...

He also recommended a place for dinner and as he'd been on the island for a few months we thought we trust his advice. We got ready and …

27th to 1st October - Hue, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City

So, we arrived in Hue a little jaded and in need of rest. The usual greeters were at the bus station waiting for us when we got off. We squinted into the bright early morning sunshine that was an all too distant friend for the remainder of our stay there.

"Mr... you need hotel.... mine best in Hue..."

"Mr, $20 double room... very nice..." etc etc...

We surveyed our options and found someone who agreed to transport us to the hotel area without a guarantee we would stay in his hotel. We spent the morning walking between two hotels until we got them down to something ridiculous like $8 a room....

We then had a kip before heading out into the big bad world that is Hue...

From Hue and Hoi An

From Hue and Hoi An

From Hue and Hoi An

From Hue and Hoi An

It was a cool place but rained too much for us to really enjoy it. We spent the day walking around the old quarter and I saw a woman with a bag full of scorpions...

From Hue and Hoi An

From Hue and Hoi An

From Hue and Hoi An

From Hue…