267 Kms from Prey Veng
As we stepped off the plane at Siem Reap International Airport the excitement took over. We were hit by the familiar hot, humid air and the smell of South East Asia. I think this unique smell is a combination of close, muggy air infused with incense, spices, cooking, gasoline, and in the rainy season, wet grass, leaves and mud. Andy and I are now nearing the end of our first month in Siem Reap. Therefore I wanted to update you on our roller-coaster of an integration and assimilation to expat life here. Just a pre-warning...this is a lengthy post - I'll try to keep future posts on the little but often basis. Integration and assimilation is normally over in a day or two after arriving in a new place. It involves finding our bearings, discovering how things work and generally getting into the swing of things. This time it's been different. I think this is partly because we've both been to Cambodia and Siem Reap several times before. It's also because we're not just travelling here, but living and working too. As a result this post is about our 4 week stint house and pet-sitting, and running our friends guesthouse ( Rosy Guesthouse). Welcome Back A friendly tuk-tuk driver from Rosy Guesthouse met us at the airport as usual. He whisked us straight there where we were welcomed by our friends and partook in several obligatory Cambodia draft beers, before getting settled into our favourite room for a few nights. We then spent an enjoyable evening at our friend's house, where we had dinner and a good catch-up. We also got a tour of the house we'd be living in for the next 4 weeks and met the pets we'd be looking after. The following day we were given a thorough handover of the day to day running of the guesthouse. We also got a grand tour of the important places in town that we might need such as the bank, money exchange, wholesalers, markets, malls, petrol station etc. A Tourist Mecca As we drove around town it soon became clear that Siem Reap has changed alot since our last visit 4 years ago. It's tourism industry has boomed since we first visited 8 or 9 years ago, which was inevitable given the proximity to the famous Angkor Temple complex. During our first visit the roads were mainly dirt tracks, with a distinct lack of pavements and just a smattering of guesthouses. Now there are guesthouses, hostels, and hotels everywhere you look.
136 Kms from Prey Veng
Our next stop was 124 kms away. It is a small town in northeastern Cambodia. It is relatively remote and you won’t usually find tourists here. Our sole purpose to come here was to ride through the countryside and discover the many remote roads. We spent the entire day cycling around remote villages along the sides of Mekong River. You can ask for directions from the locals to catch up on some musical performance. It is a very quiet town and I surely enjoy a day travelling across this tiny town.
168 Kms from Prey Veng
Can Tho is a place where traditional Vietnamese food and street foods are available in plenty and with English language meagerly seen or heard in these parts, experience the ecstatic adventure of trying to figure out the food on the menu, enjoy playing volleyball and conversing in English with the students at Can Tho University and simply wandering around the streets and market place relaxed.
210 Kms from Prey Veng
Stayed at the Moon Resort in my own private bungalow, but it rained the entire time. Met up with a guy that I had met waiting at the airport and we rode around in the rain on a motorbike. We found this amazing waterfall where all of the locals swim and hang out which I would recommend finding for sure. The night market is okay, seemed like a pretty relaxing atmosphere. We grabbed some beers and sat on a bench up on a rock near the lighthouse and hung out. Unfortunately it only stopped raining at night, so I would go off of someone else's opinion of this place. I'm sure it's lovely but we didn't really get to experience too much.
91 Kms from Prey Veng
Chau Doc, on the Cambodian border is a hodgepodge of markets, boats and shacks lining the Bassac River. We jumped at the chance to stay in a funky room right on the shore. From our windows above we watched the beehive of activity and listened to the variety of motors powering boats along the river. We even put up with the occasional speed boats, making so much noise that we had to pause our conversation.