So there we were, all five of us off on an adventure around Cambodia. After two extremely long bus journeys and one horrific border crossing, we arrived at our first destination. Siem Reep is home to the Angkor Wat Temples, famous across the world for their magnitude and having one of the most beautiful sunrises possible. It is also famous due to one of the temples being used for Tomb Raider, a film your mum will no doubt show you when you’re a bit older. The first day we all arranged a Tuk-Tuk to show us around the temples, starting just before dawn. Leaving our hotel the next morning it was still pitch black. The only lights to be seen were of that of other Tuk Tuks or small glimmers of torches from the odd, lone pedestrian. Nearing the temples the crowd of Tuk Tuks became larger and larger. Sunrise at Angkor Wat is the biggest attraction in Siem Reep. Arriving at the first temple, we sat and watched the sun rise. Although it was a fairly cloudy day, the sunshine sparked through the clouds to dance in the reflection of the lake below.
We explored the grounds before moving on to the other temples situated on this vast holy site. In total that day we saw around ten different temples. My favourite? The last temple which was built by an Indian King, a long time ago, for his mother. The building took so long that unfortunately his mother never saw it completed. It was used by the locals however since then it has been left to ruin. Nature has made it what it has become today, an almost lost temple covered in tree roots.
After our expedition we were exhausted so relaxed the rest of the afternoon before our bus to Sihunakville in the South of the country. We arrived bright and early the next morning and boarded a boat to an island of the coast, known as Koh Rong. Koh Rong was an idyllic island, long sandy beaches, beautiful blue seas and scattered with beach bars and bungalows. Before long we found our accommodation and settled in. Originally, the plan was to stay in Koh Rong for a few nights to celebrate Steph’s birthday party, however this was then extended to a whole week. Everywhere we went it was easy to meet new people as well as seeing old friends again too. The staff on Koh Rong were mostly western and especially welcoming to all newcomers. They all take great pride in the island, and each person leaves their stamp behind them as they go.
The night of Steph’s birthday we were leaving our hostel to go to another bar when I accidentally fell into three guys. Lucky for me they laughed it off but when I looked up I realised it was three guys I had met back in Koh Phi Phi nearly three months ago. Gareth, Rob and Rory had just arrived in Cambodia from Australia. Coincidently, they were now following the same tourist trail as the girlband was. Both groups stayed on Koh Rong for the full moon party, another excuse to dance the night away on the beach, before going back to mainland and planning new our next destination. In ways I wish I could of stayed longer as I was love being by the sea again, however, we needed to move on.
Both groups had heard about Arcadia, a medium sized hostel situated on a river bank, complete with inflatables to play on and more outdoor activities, such as tubing and kayaking.
Both groups arrived within a day of each other. It was great to see the guys again after so long and we all got along well. Arcadia was a hostel made for fun. Whether it was a water attraction or one of the many indoor games, there was always something to do, or even a hammock to lay in if you wanted to do nothing. Our three days flew by and before long we parted ways with the guys for good. Them staying in Kampot, whereas we moved on to Kratie in the North.
A short overnight stay in the capital and we were in Kratie the following day. Kratie is a small, fairly un-touristic town. Mainly famous for being able to see river Dolphins and its relaxed atmosphere. We spent two nights exploring this quaint town before returning to the capital Phnom Penh.
Phnom Penh was always going to be a sad stop as it was where we all knew we’d have to say goodbye. First we had two days exploring the city. We spent our time rummaging through the markets and visiting some of Cambodia’s most recent historical places. The Killing Fields and The Museum are two tourist attractions designed to shock a person into believing the unbelievable. Not long ago there was an evil man who became the leader of Cambodia, called Pol Potts. Pol Potts was the leader of a huge organisation, which ended up changing the whole of Cambodia as it was known. Under his rule, the Cambodian people were instructed to work long tiring hours on farms with little or no food or sleep. Anyone who tried to go against his rules, or even that persons family members, would end up in prison before being passed over to camp to be silenced. Both of these places still have original memorabilia scatted everywhere, a constant reminded of the pain and suffering that Pol Potts made the Cambodians endure. Truth be told, any Cambodia over the age of 40 may remember part of this horrific time.
For our final event together, we arranged a few drinks to celebrate. Going around the bars in Phnom Penh it was only in the morning that we realised we were out in the “working ladies” part of town. We had an amazing time anyway though.
When the time came the next morning to say goodbye to Milly and Steph, everyone was a bit emotional. We travelled so long and so far together however it was time for them to carry on their adventures to Vietnam, myself to Australia and Maddie to Vietnam (once her visa got approved).
Roselina and I had a spare few days before our flight to Australia so we went back to Arcadia for a relax and rewind session with Maddie. Something which was well needed before the hustle and bustle of normal day-to-day life. Well I say we, up but Roselina had an accident with a shampoo bottle meaning she was a very bubbly bunny for a while. Luckily, one of the hostel owners in Phnom Penh took her in and looked after Roselina for me whilst I was away.
By the time Roselina and I were reunited, nearly a week later, she was smelling sweet and had loved her time living with a Cambodian family. If anything I was slightly jealous, she sounded like she had a cracking time!
Within the space of four months, Roselina and I have travelled three countries and currently jetting towards our fourth. Truth be told, Australia and the idea of going back to work are making Roselina a bit nervous, however, I’m sure we can find her a lovely job in a farm chasing birds or something similar. Truth is, I’m unsure where we’re going to end up, I just know we’re going to have one heck of a ride getting there.
Roselina and Sarah