From Bangkok to Cambodia's Coast
I realise the title of this blog is no longer relevent due to sadly no longer being in India - but I'm keepig it open, I'll get back there soon enough! For now, think of it as South East Asia Calling (doesn't quite have the same ring to it though does it?) ......
We arrived in Bangkok at the end of October for a couple of hectic days until we headed straight to Cambodia. We met up with the lovely Belgian guy Jeroen from the Nepali rafting trip and treated ourselves to a couple of nights at the posh (in backpacker terms) D&D Inn.
I LOVE Bangkok, always have. We ate street food, drank beer, swam in the pool, bought pointless stuff on the Khao San Road, and the biggest treat - went to an actual Boots store to stock up on toiletries!!! It was VERY exciting and I wanted to buy every Soap & Glory product there was!! It was amazing to be somewhere as modern as Bangkok after the past three months - it was a bit weird. To go to the 7-11 and buy anything at any time, to sit in air conditioned bars, to not see cows wandering around, to see McDonalds and the like, bizarre!
Poor Jeroen had been waiting for us in Bangkok for six days already though and as much as I love it, that amount of time in the city would've killed me also (and rapidly depleted the funds), so we got packed up and headed for Cambodia!!
Cambodia was my absolute favourite place the last time I was in SE Asia so I was super excited to get back and see more. The journey to the border went well, Lauren and Jeroen were introduced to the Thai Songtaew (sp) which is basically a pick up truck with a couple of benches,the visa and border crossing itself went well (apart from the inevitable downpour that occurred as we were loaded with bags crossing the line - of course!) but the dude on the Cambodian side with the taxis was a BASTARD!!!! He tried to charge us a stupid amount of money which of course we protested against, but then a very nice tuk tuk driver offered to take us but this BASTARD wouldn't let him?! I don't quite know what power he had, he looked like a little rat, but we had to start walking anyway. The tuk tuk driver using his head followed a little while after to pick us up and we thought we'd made it so had a celebratory cheer. But no. Next thing this little BASTRD has put-put-putted up on his little bike shouting the odds resulting in us having to once again get out of the tuk tuk and walk. Ridiculous! Luckily by this point the rain had ceased and we were just faced with the minor issue of a hill and a 9km walk with our packs. Fun!! However we were in luck as a nice guy with a car far too posh for us stopped to give us a lift. We did say we'd keep a look out for the rat faced bastard and if we were to see him to hit him, but he was lucky, he wasn't around.
So we arrived in Koh Kong township and the driver found us a nice guesthouse right on the water with some of the best food I've ever eaten. Fish amok is the best dish in the world and I could eat it all the time! The guesthouse owner, Mr 42, was a total character. He was this hyped up Cambodian, really friendly, trying to ensure everyone was getting enough $1 beers and would be going on to karaoke later in the evening. Both nights! He was hilarious, and spoke so fast that most of the time the three of us had to discuss what he'd said after he left. He was a good guy.
We spent the next day on Koh Kong Island which was beautiful. Clear blue water, white sand, not many people around, heaven! Unfortunately you can't stay on the island yet, (which actually is maybe a good thing to keep it unspoilt) but it would've been nice to spend the night right there on the water. I do think this place will be hit big time by tourism soon enough though. It's so close to the Thai border it's amazing it hasn't been developed and ruined yet. I think sadly it's only a matter of time before this haven is hugely deforested and covered in hotels due to Cambodias national park laws being practically non existent at the moment.
We spent the evening trying to work out a loose plan of where in the country to go (over he $1 beers of course) and when and decided to leave the following morning as although the island is beautiful and the guesthouse nice, the town doesn't really have all that much going on. So on to Sihanoukville we planned - for some real beach time!
Unfortunately this wasn't to be the case. While on Koh Kong we got bitten by sandflies whose bites then proceeded to make things pretty miserable for me in the heat! And Sihanoukville turned out to be gross. It was full of horrible beer drinking Brits and the like, NOT a place I really wanted to hang around. We walked along the beach which was covered in trash to the nicer area of Otres Beach which was pretty, but I definitely won't be rushing back to this part of the country. Luckily we again had a nice guesthouse for the couple of nights we were there and I kept my itching skin permanently under the fans! We'd planned on at least a week at the beach but decided instead to just get out. We were thinking of heading further along the coast to Kampot and Kep but the weather had still been quite stormy so we thought we'd head inland for now and if we can, come south again after Phnom Penh in a few weeks. Hopefully by that point my skin will be better and the weather beautiful! Fingers crossed!