Posted by Cool Your Jets IV on May 21, 2011
Having the opportunity of sharing a taxi (and therefore cheaper) sadly, we left Kampot yesterday to begin our journey north with our initial plan being to overnight in Phnom Penh before setting off for Siem Reap the next day. As we arrived in Phnom Penh Shelley suggested we check with the bus company to see if we could get an overnight bus that night rather than waiting to do the same journey the next day.
We got one – it left from the night-market just after midnight which meant we had a few hours to kill which we did by going for dinner (Frog-legs fried in ginger and garlic, superb) and several games of pool near the bus-stop. Amusingly, there were several young ladies in said bar all of whom were pool sharks and were very adept at ‘knocking’ guys off the table!
Joining the bus, we were the only ‘travellers’ aboard – apparently many travel sites advise against taking the night bus anywhere though we had no issues, apart from the locking mechanism on my seat not working though using gravity and leaning back, I was fine! It was a sweat box mind – 3o odd passengers suffering dodgy air-con and plastic seats certainly added to the aroma though the on-board toilet was the worst, after an hour into the journey it was stinking. Located on the lower deck (you have to crouch through to reach it) the door of said toilet states ‘…Piss only please…’ some comedian had also removed the light and what with the bus bouncing all over the road you literally had to wedge yourself in, if possible gaining 10 points of contacts before taking a wazz. Alas, as soon as you started the bus would hit a bump and you’d end up pissing all over the toilet, yourself and the walls!
Pulling into the bus station a little after 5am, we grabbed a tuk-tuk to our hotel – the Angkor Pearl Hotel, thankfully they put us into a spare room, they obviously recognised the ‘smell of bus’ and were keen to get us out the way before breakfast and other guests thinking they were staying with the homeless!
Posted in Cambodia, South East Asia | Tagged: angkor pearl hotel, angkor wat, Bus, kampot, phnom penh, pool shark, siem reap | 2 Comments »
Posted by Cool Your Jets IV on May 17, 2011
Four days in Phnom Penh is enough for anyone, too many people hassling you, all auto-tuktuks are $3US regardless of whether you’re going around the corner or 2km down the road, the drinks were expensive and we found very few places for good food.
We had to get out and fast.
We’d been told about a sleepy little town, 160km south west of the city though we were in two minds whether to head south as we hook up with VD and Katie in about a week though this is in Siem Reap, about 6 hours north of Phnom Penh!
We decided to go for it!
We’re so pleased we made the effort to get here – Kampot is the perfect place to get away from the city. Everything we’ve heard is true. It really is sleepy, the people are very friendly and we’re yet to be hassled. There’s a couple of very relaxed bars along the river – the Rusty Keyhole is one such bar, we were in there drinking rum with the owner and a guy we’d met a few days previous in Phnom Penh – we got the lowdown on the town and had a great night. The Rusty Keyhole is famous for its pork ribs – they’re really good, we were ‘advised’ to go for the Dino – a full KG, it was too much!
Kampot is also famous for it’s pepper (and less so it’s salt) which is regarded as the best in the World and has recently been granted a ‘Protected Graphical Indication’ or PGI – we’ve tried it, it’s peppery and full of flavour(!) we’ll be bringing some back with us.
We’ve hired a little scooter so that we can spend the next few days seeing the countryside which is stunning and we’re just back from having lunch in Kep – there’s a great crab market there (Kep is famous for its crabs) and it’s even more sleepy than Kampot, this whole province is very chilled.
On the way to Kep we took a small detour as we’d been told about some caves that were worth seeing, inside was also a Buddhist shrine – the original temple was destroyed by the Khmer Rouge. We were advised to follow a dirt-track for about 10kms and once some kids start chasing you on their pushbikes, you’ve arrived! Bartering with kids for a guided tour (we didn’t feel that we needed them but they were cheeky and at the end of the day, what’s a dollar?) they took us into the caves.
Initially I wasn’t that impressed but then we were shown a narrow tunnel which involved crawling through, almost on our bellies into a big cavern – we carried on in this vein for a good twenty minutes, up and down, squeezing through narrow walls, it really was fun and pleased we had the guys with us to show us all of this, it was well worth the few dollars we’d paid.
There’s really not a great deal to do other than take it easy – we’re thinking of visiting Bokor Mountain as there’s a deserted colonial French resort atop the hill which has been empty since 1972 though soon to be ‘redeveloped,’ hopefully we can get up there to check it out.
Posted in Cambodia, South East Asia | Tagged: angkor wat, bokor mountain, buddhist temple, cambodia, caves, kampot, kampot pepper, kep, khmer rouge, pgi, phnom penh, Protected Graphical Indication, ribs, salt-n-pepa, scooter, siem reap, the rusty keyhole | 5 Comments »
Posted by Cool Your Jets IV on May 14, 2011
On entering Tuol Sleng Genocide museum or as it was previously known, Security Prison 21 or S21, you’re greeted by a white board containing the rules of the prison, these were the rules that were in operation during 1975 – 79, with number 6 being the title of this blog post.
Formerly a school, it was converted into an interrogation and torture centre four months after the Khmer Rouge came to power in ’75. Up to 20,000 were interned there – from all walks of life and were systematically tortured into making confessions, naming friends and family before being taken away and killed or indeed being tortured to death.
Having arrived in Cambodia last night, it was a sobering experience to go and see the prison first this morning. It was all a little surreal as whilst stood in the former classrooms/cells/torture rooms you could hear children playing in the streets around the complex and birds singing.
Only 7 people survived S21.
Posted in Cambodia, South East Asia | Tagged: cambodia, genocide, interrogation, khmer, khmer rouge, phnom penh, pol pot, political, prison, prisoners, s21, special prison 21, torture, Tuol Sleng genocide museum | 4 Comments »