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So long Siem Reap, bienvenue Battambang

sunny 32 °C

I'm on the bus heading for Battambang. The other option was to take the boat but at $25 a head versus $3.50 for the bus the bus won out. The real clincher was that the bus also takes less than half the time - 3 hours versus 7 on the boat. Siem Reap was nice but like Phnom Penh it didn't really feel like Cambodia. The two cities seem to cater to the western palate and as a result you could really just be in any big town in the world. Unlike in Laos our first couple of weeks has been frontloaded with visits to bigger towns or cities. In Laos we had a gradual introduction to the country, firstly seeing the Northern part before eventually making our way to the larger towns and cities. Here in Cambodia its like we spent only a few days in the provinces before hitting Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. That said this country is geographically a much smaller area and with obvious less ethnic diversity - besides some local tribes in the Mondulkiri province the bulk of the population is made up of Khmer and some Vietnamese and Chinese as always.

Our visit to the temples was pretty amazing. We got to see Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom and Ta Prohm in one day before the ennui set in. After a few temples you start to lose the bigger picture. Its like going to visit several cathedrals or several passage tombs one after the other. If I were an archaeologist, sociollgist or historian I'm sure I could spend weeks there but I'm not so therefore I can't. Throw four kids into the mix and that sorts that out. On top of that Rosie wasn't feeling well so we thought the best thing was to get back to the hotel by late afternoon and take things easy. A quick dip in the pool is always welcome respite for the kids as its been hitting 35 degrees here for the last few days.

Yesteday was spent resting and recuperating, buying postcards and stamps and generally tying up some loose ends. It also gave me time to finish reading 'Survival in the Killing Fields' by Haing Ngor. Its the story of his experiences under the Khmer Rouge regime and gives a thorough insight into the brutality instituted against both him and the wider Cambodian population. Its also interesting as the author played the part of Dith Pran in the movie 'The Killing Fields' and won an Oscar for the role. Recommended reading for anyone interested in that short part of Cambodian history. I've a few other books to read on the same subject and that's one interesting feature of the cities here. On every corner they are hawking photocopied versions of books on Cambodia and from wider popular cultute - think Mr Nice by Howard Marks. The best thing is the books are as cheap as chips. The worst thing is they have the odd page missing - usually a very interesting part or key event. Ah well, you get what you pay for.

After entertaining thoughts of getting visas for Vietnam we've knocked that idea on the head. We'd read about some amazing beaches just over the Cambodian border but as it would be at the end of our journey we'd have to fly back to Bangkok. After being quoted over €300 a head for the flights and the cost of the visas on top of that we've opted to head along the south coast of Cambodia back towards the Thai border. Hopefully we can find a nice beach in Thailand for the last few days of our trip. Countdown is already progressing with only 27 days until we return home. For some of the family I reckon it can't come too soon, for me I reckon I could go for a bit longer as I'm getting used to it now.

Posted by goldenmaverick 03:41 Archived in Cambodia

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Spalding Gray wrote a book called "Swimming to Cambodia" which reference the US bombing the shit out of Laos, which they denied of course.

Spalding was a bit of a mentalist and was recently enough pulled out of a river in the States after an apparent suicide.

You'll like the pic Nugget


by paulmulligan

Nice picture.

Got through all the Preacher comics and was ploughing through The Punisher until Garth Ennis stopped writing them. The other writer ain't half as good.

by goldenmaverick

if your crossing back to Thailand at the Ko Kong/Hat Lek crossing your very close to Ko Chang which has loads of lovely beaches to kick back on for a few days.

by finto

Agree about Siem Riep not a great place but OK. I hope you like Battanbung, we did, find out if the Bamboo train still exits and if so, do it...
Never been to Koh Chang but have heard good things about it, 27 days is still plenty of time to find a good beach. Enjoy

by Richie

Richie - it was the first thing i asked when we got here, thankfully its still running and we're going on it this morning. Choo choo bamboo.

by goldenmaverick

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