(… This post has no photos, because I had forgotten to take any for a while. After unpacking my bags tourist mode almost evaporated completely!)
After a relaxing few days in Southern Cambodia had come to a close, it was time to make way for Siem Reap; a place that we are calling home for a couple of months. With a 12+ hour jourey ahead of us from Sihaoukville, we knew the journey would be far from glamorous – it involved a 6 hour bus to Phnom Penh followed by an hour or so wait in the midday heat, and last but not least another 6 hour bus (which actually turned into 8 hours). Add in the fact that the road from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap is the bumpiest ‘highway’ i’ve experienced, and a jam-packed and boiling hot bus mean the journey was not the most enjoyable way to spend a day. Then you’ve got the constant stops to mill around wishing you could just get a move on or to let more and more people on board (seat availability not important, little red stools or failing that your bum, make do in the aisle). Despite this, the scenery on the last leg from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap was quite something and was host to, I must say, one of the best and most vibrant sunsets I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately my phone camera was all I had to hand and with a moving bus there was no way I could do it justice.
Arriving in Siem Reap and at our guesthouse – Hak’s House, we were finally able to take our bags off properly… and unpack them. After living out of a backpack for almost three months prior, being able to put my belongings out and hide my backpack away out of sight was a feeling of pure bliss.
A long sleep later and we were ready to explore Siem Reap. With just over a week until we were due to start volunteering, we spent our time with our friends we met in Mongolia on the trans-siberian (not the aussies this time!) which was so lovely and, as usual when with friends, we followed the strict theme of eating and drinking, drinking and eating. We went to the circus; which I originally had my reservations about. The word ‘circus’ conjures up the disturbing images of tutu-clad dancing bears and mistreated elephants. In reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The circus is made up of a young troupe from a school for disadvantaged children in nearby Battambang. The show was energetic, endearing, exciting and simply wonderful. The troupe were exceptionally fit and were throwing some bloody brilliant moves. At $15 a ticket, for the budget backpacker like myself, it may seem a little steep, but, it was completely and utterly worth it. An absolute ‘must-see’ for all ages when in Siem Reap.
Add in some more eating, more drinking and a spot of cycling, swimming, massages and a few more cocktails, we had a wonderful week to welcome us back to Siem Reap.