Cambodia 2013 – Not in Troopy!

16 Jan

During our drive through South East Asia in 2011 and the first half January 2012 we missed Cambodia. Maybe it was something to do with the number of border crossing that we had done through the six months and the fact that we were getting close to our destination. Like the horse smelling the stables …. we seemed to be drawn towards Port Klang in Malaysia, not wanting to deviate too far. In any case, for whatever reason, we missed what most people agree is one of the most rewarding countries to visit in the world. Our flights into South East Asia are in and out of Bangkok and so we will have a day or so there each way. We are following Cambodia with a trip to New Zealand for a month (sort of on the way home!), where again we will not have Troopy, but will buy an old car, van or camper. Our backpacks are a bit overweight as we have all our camping and cooking gear as well as clothes for hiking. On the way back we are stopping off in Sydney for aweek to visit friends and family.

So the next posts will be us travelling without our own transport, storage, fridge, ccoking facilities, bed and everything else we love about overlanding. It will give us a good opportunity to compare the two ways of travelling.

13th January 2013

We arrived in Bangkok at aroud 5.00 pm and headed to the hotel Villa Cha Cha in Rambuttri Rd (not far from the Grand Palace). This takes about an hour and costs 400 Bht. Its a great area to wander around in the evening, with plenty of bars and restaurants to keep us occupied and awake. Great to be back in Thailand. The Thai flag looks great against a clear blue sky!

Thai Flag

14th January 2013

Today we visited the Grand Palace.

Grand Palace Bangkok

 Inside Palace grounds

 Ornate detailing

Sparrow enjoying offering

Wall painting Palace

It is a beautiful place with amazing detail. You will never be there on your own, but certainly worth a visit.

15th January 2013 – Crossing into Cambodia

The minivan picked at us at 7.30 in the morning for drive to the border at Poipot (Cambodian side). It is difficult not to get caught up in the scam issue on this border. At every turn there is an attempt to rip you off. We won’t go into the details here, but read the guide books (eg lonely planet). Nastiest bit is where they get vulnerable non English speaking tourists to change money at the ‘tourist terminal’ at an exchange rate about 30% worse than the rate in Siem Reap. Lots of stories about change being a problem in town …. dont believe any of it. We tried to intervene with a Japanese man who was about to change 10.000 Bht at that rate. We managed to get him to half this, but still a real shame. It is a horrible crossing, but if you tough it out and go through the visa process yourself, it is OK. If you can go a different way.

Cambodian Border Poipet 

Eventually we arrived at Siem Reap at 9.00pm and took a moto (like a Tuk Tuk) to our guest house which was right near the old market and pub street. It had taken us 14hrs from Bangkok. It is called Our Best Western and is run jointly by Australians and Cambodians. Really friendly, with nice staff and service.

Our Best Western Gueshouse in Siem Reap 

Tomorrow we plan a relaxed day walking around the area. Hope to book transport around Angkor Wat and the other temples.

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