Cambodia

Kampot the sleepy riverside town of Cambodia

Kampot known for being a sleepy riverside town, its also home to some of the best pepper in the world.

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Experiencing our shortest bus journey from Sihanoukville, we reached this town within a couple of hours. This is where we spent our final days in Cambodia. With much to offer it was a perfect base to explore the Bokor National park and pepper fields.

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We booked ourselves into a simple guest house for the 4 nights. With free washing and breakfast it was hard no to say to these perks.

It was also a good place for myself to recover from being unwell.

Kampot is pretty in a rundown kind of way, along the riverside its still rich with character, with its old trading shops , cute markets  and provides a  stunning backdrop of the Boker national park.

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We had decided to hire a scooter for several days, giving us the freedom to explore. With the weather being fairly decent we decided to travel to the Bokor national park. Established by the French as a hill station in 1925, Bokor has been abandoned twice, during World War II and the Khmer Rouge period. It was a perfect place to explore old buildings.

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The view on top of Bokor is spectacular, being one kilometre above sea level you have views across the ocean, even views of Phu Quoc island.

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Kampot being one of the smaller tourist towns in Cambodia, it surpisingly has a lot of Expats mostly from the USA. Bringing in there slice of culture to this sleepy riverside town. We were spoilt for choice when it came to eating out, but usually came down to the prices of the meals.

Kampot is slowly becoming more touristic, especially with the amount of Foreigners residing there and generally the amount of travellers who stop here either as the starting or ending point in Cambodia.

After many days relaxing, exploring the local area, we were finally making plans to cross the border into Vietnam.

Cambodia

Koh Rong home to some of the best beaches

Leaving the busy city of Sihanoukville we waited beside the ferry port for our boat to Koh Rong, this is where we planned to see the new year in.

The speedboat takes around 45 minutes to get to Koh Rong. Saving us an extra taxi ferry the boat dropped us at the Natural Beach resort which is located further south on the island.

This was where we had booked to spend the next 5 nights in a high up tent. I really didn’t know what we were in for.

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The resort was quiet and tucked away from all the other accommodation. But meant we were far away from any shops and restaurants.

The resort has its own dining area but for high prices.

The accommodation was definitely a dispointment, we had one massive ant nest underneath our tent aswell as being mouldy. I tried to not be so negative and put aside and enjoy the fact we were on an island.

Koh Rong has some beautiful white sandy beaches and some of the clearest waters I have seen in South East Asia.

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This island is more known for being a bit more lively than Koh Rong Samloem.

The main beach front town has many bungalows and a bigger range of accommodation spread around. With lots of resturants and food places to choose from.

Being on an island things are higher in price but you will always find what your needs desire.

We spent a day walking through a forest to be welcomed by beautiful beaches which were often empty of people.

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Complete paradise!

4k beach was definitely my favourite, a widely stretch of white sand with no infrastructure or people on it.

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It was perfect. my type of beach.

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Unfortunately I became very ill so the enjoyment of appreciating this place soon disappeared. After a few days of feeling very poorly we decided to leave the island on new years eve. It was a bummer as accommodation for this date proved very hard to find.

After catching a ferry back to the main land, which was one terrifying experience, the water was very rough, combination of being ill I had one very bad panic attack. markus however was amazing. he really helped me get through this ordeal.

I spent the evening in hospital, I’ll save all the drama. But I felt like I could of just died!

Koh Rong is definitely a place I would recommend to travellers, especially if you want to get away from the main crowded beaches on the mainland. You will no doubt find paradise.

It offers some beautiful accommodation with some breathtaking scenery. A great place to escape from life.

Cambodia

Otres beach paradise for christmas

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Otres beach is another world, it has a hippy feel to the place. So laid back, rural and not so built up. Its divided up between several beaches Otres 1 and Otres 2 , with a range of accommodation to meet everyones needs.

Heading directly from Siem Reap on a mini bus, we arrived into Sihanoukville in the evening. This is on the south west side of Cambodia, known for being the gateway for exploring the islands and home to some of the best beaches I have experienced.

Thankfully still in one piece after one very crazy journey. I learnt undertaking on dirt roads is a common way to drive whilst using the horn constantly.

My heart was in my throat many times.

From the centre of Sihanoukville we caught a tuk tuk for 5 dollars to take us to Otres beach which is 8km outside of Sihanoukville.

Known for its beautiful white sandy beaches. This was where we planned to spend Christmas.

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Withing minutes we were outside the noisy city and zooming down a dusty Road in complete darkness. It felt quite scary, as you can imagine many thoughts were crossing our minds.

Arriving into what looked like a very busy beach front town, we were dropped at Chez Paou our accommodation which I had booked 6 months before. The only part of the trip I had booked.

Being the Christmas period, accommodation is harder to find and always a higher price, so I thought I was being prepared, however we were informed there had been a mess up and our booking no longer existed

Very annoyed and disappointed the owner accommodated us in another hotel and we managed to be relocated the following day at the one we had booked.

Otres beach is one long busy but beautiful beach front, with warm crystal clear water and white sand it was paradise.

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Relaxing in some of the clearest water Shot with the Drone Phantom 3 Pro

Despite the crowded sun loungers and restaurants spread down the beach along with many Cambodians constantly asking you for a massage, manicure, sun glasses and other things you could say it was tranquil.

Over the Christmas period we just spent our days relaxing on the beach and going for swims in the ocean.

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The temperature during December was pretty warm reaching 32+. This was hot and also didn’t do anything for my pale skin, I managed to burn and look like a lobster.

The food of course being slightly more pricy also. We did indulge quite often, and not really kept things to a budget. We found a nice place where they did a great breakfast, serving tea, fruit juice, bread with butter and jam and tea or coffee for 3 dollars.

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It was our first time to do nothing but just relax. I motivated myself to go for a few morning runs along the beach, this felt so good.

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Otres beach offers some good day trips to various islands close by, kayak and jet ski hire is also available.

We didn’t really travel far and spent pretty much the whole time in this area.

After our many lazy days chilling and eating we decided to head for the island of Koh Rong to see the new year but things don’t always go like you plan do they?

Cambodia

Angkor, a wonder of Cambodia

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Angkor is a must see once in your life, UNESCO World Heritage Site is full with beautiful historic temples, structures and ancient highways. Angkor Wat is the iconic temple and at the heart of the park, most reconise with its lotus-like towers.

Crossing the border on foot into Cambodia was extremely straightforward. Reading many horror stories of people being scammed before hand. We decided to be independent and cross ourselves instead of going via a bus company where it was higher in price.

Catching a tuk tuk from the town he drove us just before the border. It felt so undercover, he didn’t want to be seen as we found out later a few people which own most places on Don Det ran this town and the bus companies.

Once we crossed the border we had arranged a pick up with a mini van straight to Siem Reap. Costing around 19 dollars each. The journey was quite a crazy one with a driver who loved using his horn.

Siem Reap being only 5 km away from Angkor National Park. We booked to stay here for three nights in Adan World Hostel. It was more like a hotel but provided us with everything we needed.

Siem Reap being the capital of Siem Reap Province is fastly growing, with a wide choice of resturants to choose from at low to high prices you wont be stuck for choice. Being the gateway to the Angkor ruins it is very touristic in the main center.

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Passes to the park cost 20USD for a day, 40USD for 3 days and a weeks pass is 60USD.

Transport being relatively easy, we found hiring a mountain bike the best way to explore Angkor Wat. Tuk tuks cost between 15-25 dollars for the day depending on your plans. A mountain bike cost us 4USD for a day.

It was on my bucket list to witness the sunrising over Angkor Wat. This involved us getting up at 4am to cycle in the dark for 6 km. Arriving in complete darkness we walked up to the lake where we were met by hundreds of our people waiting for the sunrise.

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It felt so surreal to be finally standing on the site of Angkor Wat, dating back to the 12th century this has blossomed into the most significant religious site in Southeast Asia. It was a dream come true.

The early morning and the people eating their breakfast attracts some unwanted company.

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Monkeys such cheeky creatures, sitting just outside Angkor many poor travellers were victims of robbery. They just help themsleves to peoples breakfasts and snacks.

In this moment I also damaged my camera quite badly. Not great timing, but didn’t let it defeat my mood and mostly took in the magicnifent place with my eyes.

As the heat was rising we wandered around Angkor Wat, with a mix of amazement and exhaustion.

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Eating our breakfast with views across this place with no monkey in sight was peaceful.

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With so many temples scattered around, you could easily spend many days exploring. We had only one day here,  so making use of the day we went to explore Bayon temple.

Bayon is standing in the exact center of the walled city, this represents the intersection of heaven and earth. Bayon is known for its huge stone faces of the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, with one facing outward and keeping watch at each compass point.

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Ta Prohm, this is another temple complex close to Angkor Wat that has been left almost untouched and as close to the original state as possible to show visitors the state in which these temples were originally discovered.

The entire complex is literally taken over by giant tree roots that seem like living breathing creatures.

 A very photogenic place, this is another reason to visit the Angkor temple complex.

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Visting Angkor was a great highlight of our time in Cambodia, and is worth a visit. This site is said to represent Mt Meru, a legendary abode of the Gods in the Hindu mythology. The towers are symbolic of the peaks of Mt.Meru, the wall represents mountains at the edge of the world.