Phnom Penh, Sihnoukville, Kampot & Kep
01.04.2012 - 03.04.2012 33 °C
Another long bus ride to Phnom Penh from Bangkok. Booked our killing fields tour and prison at our hostel (Sunday - nice hostel, but location would have been better nearer the water, bit busier). So 9am and we were off to the infamous killing fields. The roads are still crazy with scooters, tuk tuks, lorries, cars all driving in whatever direction they please, amazing how placid everyone is, no road rage, although bus journeys have a continual beeping going and rather erratic driving, best just to close your eyes and put the ipod on :-)
The killing fields were really well done. You get a set of headphones in english with the history, stories and music that really gives you an insight to what occurred on this site! You walk around these mass graves where up to 450 people were killed, and a tree that next to a mass grave full of just babies and women, where the tree was found with bits of brain and blood on where the soldiers smashed them against the tree to kill them. There are bones and clothes appearing on the surface, as the ground is weathered and there was a mass grave of headless bodies. This visit was then followed by a visit to the prison, S21, where a school was converted into a prison and a place of torture! Here there was still evidence of blood splattered on the ceiling, torture methods were described and pictures of all the prisoners were displayed in the rooms. Overall it was a pretty harrowing day, and rather puts your issues into perspective, as does the book "first they killed my father." A visit to the palace was aimed to lighten the day. The palace was beautiful, but the gardens, which take up a large area of the palace, were shut leaving not a lot more to see for an expensive (by Cambodian standards) $6.50. In the eve there are a number of charity restaurants, so we visited r.... for a starter (very nicely done, reasonably priced and great atmosphere) and Friends for our main (brighter, cheerier, but prob would have stayed at the first place retrospectively).
Next more off to Sihnoukville, on the south coast of Cambodia. Stayed at New Sea View Villa which was perfect location, cheap and nice room! The beach is nice, water is cool and all along the water front are cafes and bars. Having found a spot to lie down on the beach we had sooo many kids come up to us, trying to sell bracelets, begging and collecting plastic, quite sad really. They also had ladies coming around with lobster, this is a must! we got 10 lobsters for $4 plus 3 free extra the first day and 20 for $6 the next haha, and they are scrummy!! Covered in kampot black pepper and drizzles with lime they are divine! Sihnoukville is a lively town at night, with fire shows and cheap drink offers.
The next day we had booked a 3 island tour..our particular tour was terrible haha, our guide got off after about 10mins saying he'd forgotten his phone and would meet us there...never did, then we went snorkeling, which would imply swimming around with a mask and SNORKEL, but no the masks were so old and scratch that when you go under you see nothing then get them flooded with water, then there was no snorkel so you had to be good at holding your breath. There was no promised jungle walk, but the area is pretty nice so we were quite content actually just floating around in the water, chilling on the island and splashing in the clear waters. That eve i spend 2hrs!! Trying to sort our Mekong tour and a tour to Bokor National Park in Kampot.
DO NOT under any circumstance do the Bokor NP tour, this is no NP! its a development site in primary rainforest, where they have build a wooping casino on the top of this mountain, and are building a luxury town with golf courses! Its disgusting and i don’t even understand why a tour goes here, other than you try and advertise and sell property to tourist!?! Our guide was very informative about the history of Cambodia but the sights on this tour were dumb! At least the day finished with a sunset cruise, passing local country Cambodian life, lined with water coconuts, and enjoying a backdrop of rice paddy field, palm trees, mountains and a reddening sun. Need to research more the Bokor NP development, cant understand how this kind of development is allowed!?!
Kampot actually looked quite a nice town, would stay a night on the water if we had more time, but instead it was a tuktuk to Kep, a very small coastal town, but famous for its crab, which we tried and loved - get the peppered crab, make it a big or medium one too, easier to get the meat out. Its a $4 return tuk tuk from kep.
Next Country Vietnam..