A Whistle-stop tour of Cambodia

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On landing in Siem Reap my driver offered to take me on a dawn tour of the Angkor Wat temples the next day for a reasonable price. Unfortunately I forgot to set my alarm clock and overslept so the tour started at 7 o’clock instead. I won’t go into the temples as it’s all been said before, the hawkers were out in force and interestingly my guide told me that the company that runs the tourism for the temples is Vietnamese and they don’t invest in their upkeep; this seems to be done voluntarily by various archaeological expeditions. That evening I went with some of the hotel staff to a local dog restaurant to try their specialty, I tried a few pieces but while the meat is tasty, I found it tough and didn’t like the sauce that went with it.

The next morning I took the boat to Battambang, which is an incredible experience. The boat itself isn’t very comfortable, but you have to remember that it is also the local transport for the local river villagers, so we glided through many floating villages and were joined by most of our journey by a couple of monks. The boat broke down a couple of times but the driver managed to get it going again while the locals kept us from getting tangled in the reeds. At over 7 hours the whole trip takes a long time though.

Battambang itself is a large fishing town with an enormous market and plenty of French colonial architecture once I had spent a bit of time wandering around the town I hired a motorbike and headed up to the top of the hill for evening views of the rice paddies and to watch the sun set. After that, it was back into town for dinner and the night bus to Phnom Penh.

We arrived in Phnom Penh at around 5.30 in the morning and I sat down to wait for the booking office to open for my next boat trip. This time down the Mekong river to Chau Doc (Vietnam), the first part of which is through Cambodia cruising uncomfortably down the middle of the Mekong where we can see practically nothing.

Rush Hour in Phnom Penh

Rosko recommends: The boat trip from Siem Reap to Battambang is amazing but very, very long.

Food of the stay: Dog is definitely an acquired taste