Kep - Rabbit Island - Kratie - Seim Reap
27.01.2012 - 19.02.2012 37 °C
About 25 km away from Kampot is a small sea side town called kep. unsure if we wanted to stay there or not but set against doing a tour we took off to try and achieve the trip on our own. How pleased we were to do so as well! when you arrive in Kep there's lots of resorts leading up to the sea but no real beaches or town as relaxing as Kampot. so we decided to travel light with only an overnight bag and head on our own boat to a small island near by called Koh Tonsay which roughly translates as 'Rabbit Island' - not really sure why as we couldn't see the resemblance at all. When you arrive after a 20 minute boat ride you think you've arrived in a local village on the beach. except it is just for tourists. several beach/bungalow huts align the beach front. 8$ a night for bed mosquito net and a toilet/shower of soughts or 5$ for a hut with a bed. again we were very grateful to be able to cool off in water (though this time still warm ridiculously shallow), at one point i thought i was going to be able to walk back to mainland i had walked so far out to sea! The next day we returned to kampot and it was our last night so we finally gave in to temptation and tried out the rustykeyholes famous award winning BBQ ribs. they were quite spectacular and the most amount of meat we have eaten since leaving the UK. They came recommended to us and we leave certainly recommending them to others. right enough talk next stop KRATIE.
After thouroughly enjoying everything about southern Cambodia we started to make our way north. From Kampot we had to get a bus back to Phnom Phen for 1 night and the next day headed to Kratie. Kratie is a town 7 hours north of PP, our bus journey was so long. 7 hours turned into 10 by the end our trip and we were exhausted. Kratie was tiny. The main strip where most of the restaurants /guesthouses are is on the Mekong river, a great setting. Other than a few markets there isn't too much going on in Kratie town but once again the atmosphere was very laidback and most people were happy just sitting watching the river and the locals go by their day to day lives. Kratie is famous as a viewing point to see the Irrawaddy river dolphins, apparently only 100 left in the world the dolphins have lived in the Mekong for thousands of years. So we hired a tuk tuk and spent the rest of our time travelling through the countryside making our way to the river. As soon as we arrived at the small port we saw the dolphins. It was amazing! our little boat took us out into the Mekong where we sat and watched the dolphins swim and play for an hour, as hard as it was Mike managed to get some great photos! It was a massive highlight being able to see these amazing animals in their natural habitat.. although their not as "pretty" as the dolphins you find in the ocean they are still extremely cute! ( in a massive kind of way!) After that our driver took us to a place called Sombok mountain. Its a Buddist meditation village at the top of a hill in the countryside.... the most peaceful place we'd seen in a while. And that was Kratie! a great little town, somewhere you can really expereince Cambodia's countryside life, miles and miles away from what we are used to back home. Fantastic experience.
Our next and final bus trip for a while was from Kratie to Siem Reap. Totally prepared for a 12 hour total time from a to b we were pleasantly surprised when it was actually what it said on its cover. Eugh 7 am on a bus - 4 hours to Kampong Cham 11.20 change bus's for bus from phnom penh to siem reap 8 hours later pull into siem reap very tired and usual story look for a guesthouse. luckily it was for 1 night but we found a room that claimed to have hot water shower cable tv and you might laugh but a toilet in with that at no extra charge! grand total 7 $ ... what actually came with that price tag was a shower not connected to the heating unit, a tv with no arial and yup you guest it a broken toilet! smashing stuff. we found some average food but really cheap 1$ a meal no arguing about that!
The next day we checked into a better guesthouse and spent the day looking ahead of our trip and tried to start applying for jobs/houseshares in Perth, Australia for the middle of march. Not an easy process but better to attempt it earlier than later we thought. In the evening we found a delicious Khmer BBQ street kitchen offering decent sized BBQ meats at an affordable price - it certainly satisfied my (mike) appetite!
430 am wake up. the alarm goes, we roll out of bed into the quickest shower you've ever had and stumble down the 3 flights of stairs still half asleep we left our guesthouse to get in a Tuk-Tuk. 5 am turn up at ticket booth get stung with a 40$ each 3 day ticket fare ( after previously agreeing to our Tuk-Tuk 3 days hire all inclusive would be 60$ .. hes laughing all the way to the bank / were thinking omg we have to buy tickets on top of that?! clearly sometimes things get lost in translation ( quite important things may i add!), never mind its only a minor detail!!! !) 5:03 am shoved in front of a camera (like the ones you get when you enter the USA) picture more like the sketchiest image youll see of us is taken (see photos) not one for the mantle piece. 5:06 back in the tuk tuk, its pitch black, you sense there's lots of activity going on but your in an out of the moon light that manages to filter through the jungle trees.. then suddenely a break in the trees you see reflections from a long stretch of water. 5:20 am you stop, you have arrived at your first destination. ANGKOR WHAT?! surrounded by torch lights and not much else we walked through and waited for the sun to rise. quite an amazing experience watching the sunrise but watching it over angkor wat was something that wont be matched in a while. when the sky turns from black to pink the 5 peaks of the temple appear as silhouettes. we checked it out for about 2 hours before moving onto the next temple angkor thom. anyways ill save the descriptive malarky for when we get back! we had a couple of days around the temple sites including going to some pretty big temples far far away on the second day. i think the pictures will give you a pretty good idea of how much we enjoyed it.
Today is our last proper day in cambodia, a few last souvenirs and just time to post this blog before flying out of phnom penh tomorrow. yes you did hear correctly right now were in siem reap and we had planned our whole trip as we had thought we were flying out of siem reap - but we got that wrong (luckily about a week ago we realised and checked our tickets) tomorrow were getting up at 7 am and leaving for phnom penh and tomorrow evning we will be back in thailand. we have both LOVED cambodia and are really sad to leave it behind.
Hope there are more pictures for you this time and that your all well
lots of love
Char and Mike xxxxxx