So we were taking a 14hour bus from Ho Chi Minh to Siem Reap as its was $13.50 each with Virak Buntham Express. However the journey ended up taking 17hrs and was 3 hours late getting into Siem Reap which meant moving our quad bike tour that evening. The bus was not modern and the man who was in charge was very rude and wouldn’t allow us to have separate beds to each other even though more than half the bus was empty. It did the job but I think perhaps next time I would fork out and fly.
We got a recommendation off one of the guys we were in the Homestay in Sapa with to saty at a new hostel called Lub D and he was right. For £5 a night we stayed in a brand new hostel with a gorgeous pool, fantastic food/drink menu, super clean and spacious rooms and shared showers/toilets. We stayed in a 10 bed female dorm where there were actually only 5 of us in there at one time. I would hugely recommend staying here. We got to Siem Reap in the afternoon and chilled by the pool and then headed to Pub Street about a 15 min walk from the hostel. We went to Cambodian BBQ restaurant where Ala ordered the mix meat/fish BBQ which was pretty mammoth and I had the Tom Yam prawn soup which was delicious. We then walked around the night market were I bought myself some fun pants for $5. In Cambodia unlike Vietnam as the ATMs you get USD so all your exchanges are pretty much in USD only although you get small change back in Cambodian Riel.
The next day we got up late (story of our lives) after a non stop trip in Vietnam and then went for a Sunset quad bike tour. It was $20 usd for an hour and our guide was really friendly and took loads of cool photos. Honestly to all the instagrammers out there he was a photo taking dream haha. Unfortunately our sunset tour didn’t have much of a sunset but hey the quad biking itself through the countryside was worth it regardless. That night we went back to Pub Street and went to the Khmer Family Restaurant which I have to say was a bit disappointing.
The thing I was most excited for in Siem Reap was Angkor Wat. The largest Temple in the world and another UNESCO Heritage site. It was originally built as a Hindu temple and then later turned into a Buddhist temple. Angkor Wat is the main temple however there are many other temples within the city complex. We went for sunrise where yet again there wasn’t much sun to see rise but the beauty of the temple speaks for itself whatever the weather. We spent about 8 hours altogether visiting Ankor Wat, Angkor Thom, Bayon and Banteay Srei which is about 20km from Angkor Wat. When thinking that Angkor Wat was built in the 12th Century where the machinery we have today was not in place, the heat of the city and the intricate details of every carving and statue is just mind blowing. Please do not miss this site of absolute beauty.
We flew from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh which took about 35mins. We were staying in Mad Monkey hostel in Phnom Penh. It’s a well known backpackers party hostel, so rather than choose a dorm we went for a private room which was the best decision for us. The room was ok but not to the same standard as Lub D oh and there was no window! It was $15 for two night pp so still cheap and did the job. We went to a yoga class about a 5 min walk from a hostel called Nataraj Yoga, there was only 3 of us in the class and it was so good to stretch out as I had been slacking on the yoga front a bit. We went to a Mexican restaurant of all the places on the first night our first Western meal since we had been away. The food was good and the frozen margaritas were even better.
On the Sunday we went to Tuol Sleng genocide Museum. Tuol Sleng known as s-21 was a prison for interrogation duirng the Khmer Rouge regime. Around 12,000-20,000 people where interrogated and tortured here and there are are only 12 known survivors. Although it is an incredibly sad place to go to I think places like this are some important to visit to understand the history of a country and educating people that atrocities like this should never be repeated.
Sunday night we went to Eleven One restaurant which had a great menu and I finally had Amok Fish Curry a famous Khmer dish. The following day was also our last day in Cambodia we had a very short 3/4 day trip in Cambodia. We went to Choeung Ek also known as the Killing Fields. This is where the Khmer Rouge took the prisons from Tuol Sleng and executed them. Over 1 million people were executed here and left in mass graves. This sorts of acts are just incomprehensible but should not be forgotten.