To Down Under and Back Over travel blog

Royal Palace in Phnom Penh

Paul with our bus to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh "Bus Station"

Sophy buying water at Phnom Penh "Bus Station"

MMMmmmmm - delicious Tarantula!

Traditional Cambodian Dance with all you can eat Cambodian Buffet! (first night...

A 7am flight to Phnom Penh meant a REAL early wake up at 3.45am to get to the airport, ouch! The new airport in BKK is absolutely huge but also ultra modern and clean as well, so we had a real nice brekky to keep us going for our journey and did some window shopping. Arrived at Phnom Penh (South Cambodia and capital) airport around 8.30am and parted with 20$ for our visa, then off into the city to sort out our transport to get to Siem Reap (North Cambodia) asap. Our taxi driver was an avid Man Utd fan and gave me the great news that we had beaten Everton 3-0 which made the heat and early start more bearable. We had missed the only daily boat to Siem Reap, so opted for the bus at 12.30 which was going to take 6 hours but was only $7 intead of $25 for the boat (so seemed like a good idea....(at the time).... and meant we could stick to plan and get to Siem Reap that day!). As we had a few hours to kill before the bus we went off to the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda for an hour or so (as was near bus station at the Riverside area) which is where the king resides. Impressive and the Silver Pagoda with its floor made of 5000 silver floor tiles and a solid gold Buddha which weighs 90kg and has over 2000 diamonds encrusted. WOW!

After boarding at a very basic bus station (see photos) we realised very quickly the journey was going to be a long, hot, and bumpy affair but was also real interesting to be mixed in with local passengers and see the passing villages and how the Cambodians live outside the cities. The Cambodian films on the bus were a type of "Carry On..." film crossed with Bruce Lee which had a lot of the passengers in fits of laughter. On one toilet stop, there were a couple of stalls selling fruit, water and ....oh yes.... Deep Fried Tarantulas!!! We were so amazed that a local man was buying a bag of the aforesaid sipders for the girlfriend which he assured us she would love!! (Probably not heard of say it with flowers but don't think it'll catch on in the UK....sure the brits would still prefer a dozen red roses to a dozen dead tarantulas!). Paul being curious decided to try one (see photo, urgh!) and finally demolished the whole lot on the bus including it's head!! (Sophy purely took a wee nibble of its leg and was sure it tasted like KFC...hhmmmm....). Couldn't believe the guy in front eating a whole bag of spiders like a bag of crisps...... Mad!! On the next toilet stop we realised they wer also selling Rats, Cockroaches and other such bugs, weren't tempted this time....Got to Siem Reap at around 6pm and were mobbed by about 8/9 tuk tuk drivers all wanting us to ride with them and book into their hotel. We choose a nice Tuk-Tuk man called "Pan" (not sure if with the French influence his name was meant to mean "bread"?) and off to a real nice quality hotel he sorted (only US$10 for the night!!). As Pan's English was so good we decided to book him to take us to Angkor Wat the next day instead of booking through a travel agents. Conveniently located across the road was an all you can eat Cambodian Buffet for US$5 each with traditional Cambodian Dance being shown at the same time. Just the trick after a REAL long day travelling......

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