A Travellerspoint blog

June 2014

Adventuring in Dalat

rain 23 °C
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From Hoi An, I took an overnight bus to Dalat, which stopped briefly at Nha Trang in the morning; a beach resort which I had heard to steer clear from... a quick peak at the beach confirmed this, as it was this busy at only 7am!
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Upon arriving in Dalat I walked with a friend I had made on the bus to a hostel called Dalat Smile, which quickly became one of my favourite all time hostels! The 3 young Vietnamese guys who owned this recently opened hostel were great hosts. As soon as we arrived we were taught how to brew our own Vietnamese coffee and were invited to eat with them that evening. Although myself and Sarah were too hungry to wait and so we walked into town and ate at a cafe called New Art. The food here was incredible, but it wasn't just a restaurant, it was also an art gallery for a local celebrity artist. After our meal he offered to paint pictures for us using only his hands and watered-down ink. I still have the painting in my bag, ready to hang when I come home!
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The following day I went with Linh (one of the hostel owners) on an 'easy rider' motorbike tour around the area. We were joined by 2 Americans, Rob and Eric, who had their own bikes.
Dalat is famous for it's cool temperature and therefore perfect conditions for growing flowers, vegetables, fruit, coffee and tea. There were greenhouses and terraces covering the hillsides around the town.
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We went first to a coffee plantation where they also produce the famous Vietnamese weasel poo coffee! The weasels don't look too happy about it though, at least coffee tastes nice...
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We bought the cheapest, the most expensive, and a mid range coffee from the cafe upstairs and challenged each other to a blind taste test... We could all taste the differences between them, but blind, we all assumed the cheapest coffee was the weasel poo (and hence most expensive, supposedly nicer) one!! At least I can save some money travelling now!
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After this we visited a rice wine factory to sample wine straight from the distillery... I think I burned my nose hairs off when I smelled it... but the final adjusted wine was not too bad! Linh bought a bottle for us for that evening!
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We drove more through the mountains to a huge and powerful waterfall, I wish I had better photos as this fall was impressively powerful... We walked a trail that Linh knew of, right under the falls and we could hardly move under the wind it generated!
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We ate near the falls and then continued on to a silk factory. The worms were a bit creepy, but the factory was fascinating, especially when Linh told us how much the women get paid... :(
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We then started on our way back, which went through a minority race village. I laughed when I saw a traditional wooden house with a satellite dish on the side! We watched people for a bit, but I felt a little awkward just watching people in their village, they seemed a little bored of being watched, so we left after only a few minutes.
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At some point during the day it had rained, and I think we were inside at the time so hadn't noticed. But the still-in-construction road that we needed to take back had turned into a mud pool... it caused complete chaos in the outskirts of the village, with the local bus getting stuck and people falling off their bikes. I had to get off the back with Linh and walk most of the road... Eric ended up trying to push his bike and lost a flip flop in the process! And every few metres we all had to stop and clear the mud out of the wheels... it was a nightmare (but still an adventure)!
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We arrived back at the hostel cold and exhausted, but luckily we had a delicious dinner waiting for us, cooked by the other hostel guys Winh and Wei. We stayed up drinking and chatting with them.

The next day I did what I came to Dalat to do; Canyoning! I had never heard about this until travelling and meeting other people who recommended it to me. Canyoning is a combination of abseiling, hiking, hiking through rivers and abseiling down waterfalls. I had no idea what to expect, and was quite nervous, but it was incredibly fun!

First we learned how to abseil down a hill side, before getting straight into it and walking through the river, climbing up the hillside and abseiling down a dry cliff face landing in the river...
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This was fine! Then we trekked more to a higher dry abseil, which I had to go first on!
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Next we rode the smaller water falls, on our backs, head first... there were several like this that we walked between in the river.
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After a quick pit stop for lunch we then went to the main activity, the long abseil down a waterfall. I was last four this one, which didn't help with my nerves! We had to take our shoes off and go in just socks, slowly sliding our feet over the rocks. Then when we became horizontal, we took big steps, until around 5m from the water below, where the rock stopped and you had to push off the wall to land safely in the water! Being last, I was able to watch lots of people do this before me, some of which took a very long time, and some who fell over completely!!
Watching others from the top:
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Me doing it!
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And jump!
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From this one we walked to an 11m high platform where you could jump into a pool below, however at this point in the day it was really raining hard and the ground was slippery. To make the 11m jump you had to do a run-up and so most of us chose instead an 8m high platform that required no run-up!

From here we walked to our final abseil, known as 'the washing machine'. In this one you had to abseil a little before the rock fell away and you dangled, slowly lowering yourself into a waterfall. Eventually, the rope ran out and you fell into the waterfall and river, and was pushed under the water and fed along a narrow stream before popping up on the other side next to the waiting group! It was very fun!!

An apparently arty photo the guy took of my group...
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At the end of all this, we then had to walk a steep trail back to the minibus pick up, which took 20 minutes of constant uphill walking. By the end of the day my whole body was aching and I was so tired and drained... luckily for me, the adventure wasn't over...

Based on conversations the previous day, the guys had decided to cook us some traditional Vietnamese food for dinner... field frog, and dog meat!!!

Linh asked if I wanted to watch him prepare the frogs, and when I arrived in the kitchen I realised they were still alive. Linh skillfully prepared them using scissors and his hands and cooked them in a wok with garlic and lime. The dog meat was cooked elsewhere and brought just before eating.
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Dog meat in Vietnam has a bad reputation, but actually the meat is rare and a huge specialty which should only be eaten in a very specific way; rolled in lettuce and wasabi leaves and dipped in shrimp sauce. Actually, it was delicious... as was the frog, and the vegetable spring rolls that are traditionally wrapped in rice paper and dipped in peanut sauce... delish!

Dalat was a real adventure for me. I surprised myself by doing Canyoning (which was very scary), and by eating dog meat. And the people that I met here; the artist and the hostel owners, showed me how genuinely friendly Vietnamese people are. I would visit Dalat again despite the crappy weather!

Posted by Libbytes 03:36 Archived in Vietnam Tagged dalat canyoning Comments (6)

Hanging out in Ho Chi Minh City

sunny 37 °C
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I left Dalat for Ho Chi Minh city absolutely broken! My body was aching all over and I was still tied from the canyoning even after having a big sleep. On the bus to the HCMC I met 3 girls, 2 travelling together from the Netherlands and 1 from the UK. When we arrived we walked to the hostel 'Vietnam inn Saigon'. Another of my favourite hostels, it had 9 floors, with the top being an open air roof top bar with a nice pool table! I went out that evening with the girls I met and we ate a strange but very tasty meal; like fried potatoes in egg. We walked through some of the neighbouring parks before returning. That evening I had a great massage in the hostel, although it was expensive and performed by a blind man! But he told me about an institute for the blind just down the road which trains people to become masseuses and costs only £2 for 1 hour! I went to this place almost every day I was in HCMC!
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My first full day in HCMC I visited the war remnants museum with displays from the Vietnam war with USA. I had no idea it was so bad, it lasted twice as long as WWII and was mainly chemical warfare, with agent Orange being the main chemical, which was used to defoliate the country but caused severe physical developmental abnormalities to foetuses. Some of the photographs in the museum were horrific, and the information very to-the-point. Although not always biased as a large portion was dedicated to American opposal to the war.
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The war museum was hard work emotionally, but when I left an American guy; Dimitri, approached me as he was also a solo traveller, and we began a mini walking tour of the city that he seemed to have researched. We walked past 'turtle lake' (with no turtles), the cathedral (with a wedding), the old post office, and then back towards the backpacker area. It was a nice walk.
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The next day I started with a £2 blind massage before grabbing a motorbike taxi to the 'jade pagoda'. From here I walked back towards the hostel via other temples, food stalls and the reunification palace. A long day of walking! That evening, whilst drinking and playing pool in the bar, 2 guys from Bristol and a guy from Germany approached me to say "you're Libby?"!! The guys, Steve, Paul and Steffi, had met Sean whilst traveling Vietnam and apparently had heard of my "amazing pool skillzz" from him! We made friends quickly and I met them in the bar almost every night whilst I was in HCMC.
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People set tortoises free in the temples for good luck... this may was selling them outside the temple.
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A cockerel crowing in the middle of a busy city street!
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Reunification palace.
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The view from the hostel sky bar at night.

The next day I spent visiting temples and pagodas again, this time in Chinatown, where I got a bus to. The temples were so beautiful.
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I guess this is one of the 'free tortoises'... it was MASSIVE!
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Incense burning, again for good luck.
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Another tortoise haven!

From Chinatown I got a motorbike taxi to take me to a museum dedicated to ancient Vietnamese and Chinese medicine. It was fascinating, and at the end I had some mushroom tea... I know!!
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All the dried plants and spices used in the traditional medicine.
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An imitation of an ancient apothecary.

I decided to try to walk back to my hostel from here, the journey took me 2 hours, but luckily on the way I found a bun cha Hanoi shop! And I ended the walk with another blind massage to recuperate!
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That evening I met up again with Cameron, it was the nice thing about travelling Vietnam, you bump into the same people in each new town or city, this was the 3rd town where I'd seen Cam now, and we still keep in touch on Facebook now :) it was the same with Nielz, my chauffeur from Phong Nha, we met again in Hoi An and in Dalat!

After days of walking miles across the city in all directions, I finally took a rest and spent the whole next day playing pool in the hostel! I met 2 friends Wilf and Dave, and we took over the music, playing 90s boy bands and then some 80s classics! I then met a guy Jack who told me a story about his travels which sounded very familiar to me... I said to him I knew the story, I had heard it from another traveller, George from Hoi An, and it turned out they were friends traveling together! Travelling really does make the world seem both big and small at the same time!

That evening a big group of us went out for steak across the road and then drinks in our rooftop bar, before moving to a local club.
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With George and Danny.

On Saturday I rode with George on his bike to the tallest building in Vietnam; the Bitexo tower. We had heard of a way to avoid the high tourist entry fee to the 360° window view point, which involved going a few floors higher to a cafe which sold expensive (but cheaper than the entrance fee) coffee. The view from the top of the tower was spectacular!
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On Sunday, after 9 days in HCMC, I felt like I had almost done all there was to do, so I visited the zoo and botanical garden. It was $3 entrance! The zoo was ok really, some animals had great large enclosures. However, others, like the elephants, were very sad to see... I spent must of the day also feeling like I was part of the zoo, as I think I was the only Westerner in the whole zoo, and with it being a weekend, it was packed with local tourists who wanted their photo with me or to talk in English to me. It was actually a really nice day meeting lots of Vietnamese people and people watching!
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More people watching in the local park; all parks are used as outdoor gyms!

That night a big group of us from the hostel went out (after pool of course) to a local club! It was a really fun night with some crazy dancing!
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My final day in HCMC, hungover, I chilled with the Bristol and German guys, Steve, Paul and Steffi. I'd like to think I helped Steve sell his motorbike, but really all I did was sit on the back as we drove between different bike shops!

I really liked HCMC, however I do think I spent a little too much time here in all. Unfortunately, I lost my special travel credit card in Hoi An, and I asked my uncle and aunt to forward the replacement to my hostel. After 14 days waiting for it to arrive (5 days estimated) I gave up and left, which is a good job because if I had been determined, I'd still be there now waiting! Regardless, the city was probably the most interesting place I could have been waiting and I met some really great people who were to become close travel companions in the weeks to come...

Posted by Libbytes 09:54 Archived in Vietnam Tagged saigon ho_chi_minh_city Comments (0)

Public transport in the Mekong Delta

rain 35 °C
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As the last major city in the south of Vietnam, from HCMC the next step for most people is Cambodia. However, I had heard great things about the very southern part of Vietnam in the Mekong Delta. I managed to convince myself, and George, that the best way into Cambodia was through the delta... and it was certainly an adventure on public transport and motorbikes, but it most certainly wasn't easy!

We headed out from the hostel towards the local bus station, a mission in itself as we had to wait for a local bus to take us there. From there we booked on a bus to Can Tho, a town right in the heart of the Delta. As soon as we arrived and got off the bus we were surrounded by taxi drivers wanting to know where we were going, it was crazy. I vaguely remembered reading something about a free transfer at the station, so we asked someone and there was free onward transfer, which the taxi drivers kept to themselves!

That evening we joined a food tour of the town which involved trying sugar cane juice, savoury muffins wrapped in leaves, homemade fresh spring rolls, field mouse and baked aubergine, and a dessert of sticky rice. We turned down the option of snake after the tour guide told us it is rubbery, tasteless and quite expensive, not a great salesman!
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Spring rolls
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Muffin
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Mouse and aubergine
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Dessert
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The next day we were going to get up early and go to the floating market... but me and early still don't mix unfortunately!! So instead we walked around the town, which was pretty.
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Brave little lizard...
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Obligatory statue of the revered Ho Chi Minh.

In the afternoon we got another public bus to the border town of Ha Tien. The bus was more like a mini bus, and the ride through the local villages was spectacular but incredibly bumpy!

The rain started along the way, and it never stopped raining from that moment until we entered Cambodia!

Ha Tien was a very uninteresting town, very small, and especially in the rain, there wasn't much to do. We booked onward bus transport that evening into Cambodia, but the following day we were told that the bus had broken down and that it was not known when it would be fixed! Luckily we found a small bar to keep us entertained for that evening and left the day after on motorbike taxis instead!! The journey on the motorbike took about 2 hours from Ha Tien to the nearest big town in Cambodia; Kampot.

The Mekong Delta was a stunning part of Vietnam, with most houses being wooden and on stilts, with narrow water ways cutting through rice paddies and lots of pretty bridges and boats. However, the weather at this time of year really limited what we could do and in Ha Tien particularly, we were confined to the hostel or restaurants all day.

Posted by Libbytes 08:37 Archived in Vietnam Tagged mekong_delta can_tho ha_tien Comments (0)

Easy river living in Kampot

semi-overcast 34 °C
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Crossing the border into Cambodia was both relaxed and stressful at the same time. A Cambodian visa technically costs $20 at the border, but it is almost impossible to pay less than $26 due to corruption. However, the forms were easy to finish and all-in-all our border crossing took about 5-10 minutes! Incredibly fast compared to every other crossing! Just across the border was a small casino village for Vietnamese, since it is illegal to gamble in Vietnam.

It seems odd, but the landscape did seem to change when we crossed the border, as did the atmosphere. All through Cambodia people were full of smiles and very friendly, however, you couldn't help but feel like with some people, this was forced and the real incentive was for you to give them money... and why not?! The poverty was more obvious here than other places I had visited.

It took us a while to find our hostel; Acadia backpackers, which had been recommended to us by almost everyone. As soon as we arrived we saw why. For $3 a night I had a comfortable dorm bed in a beautiful hostel right on Kampot river with stunning scenery. There was a boat swing, a high rope swing into the river and a 'blob'; an inflatable raft where someone sits on one end and others jump on the opposite end to catapult the other into the air and water! It was a lot of fun, even just watching!
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The dorm
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Boat swing
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Rope swing
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Blob

The first day I went with others from the hostel to Kampot town and ate the biggest ribs I have ever seen! The amount of meat on them was ridiculous! That evening I chilled in the bar with my new friends.
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Durian statue in the centre of town!

In the day, George and I hung out with other people from the hostel, playing on the rope swing and blob. My upper strength of a gnat meant that I could only just hang on long enough to make the water, but other guys were able to swing to the apex and do a flip which was cool to watch! In the afternoon a group of us went tubing along the river. The river was dammed and every afternoon, around 5pm, they opened the dam making rapids in the river and really fun tubing. However, that evening they didn't open it :( so we were left to float leisurely down the river with a few beers...

In the evening we went to the town again to try some famous homemade fresh noodles, which the guy made right in front of us. They were delicious.
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Back at the hostel there was a big party and all the bar guys drank too, which inevitably led to multiple free drinks and shots at the bar!, quite a messy night!

Kampot was a nice town, but a lot of the restaurants and businesses were owned by expats rather than local people, which seemed odd. The river was pretty and the local area was very scenic, however we had arranged to meet Steve, Paul and Steffi in Koh Rong so we left Kampot after only 2 nights.

Posted by Libbytes 08:37 Archived in Cambodia Tagged kampot Comments (0)

First taste of beach-bum life; Koh Rong

semi-overcast 37 °C
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We left Kampot for Sihanoukville mid morning and immediately caught a boat to the small island Koh Rong.
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We checked into our beach accommodation, which was $10 a night for a private room with a double bed! We all got a room each at that price!
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The view from the guest house

The first night we met the guys at a cute little cafe which made the best quesadillas I've ever had with tiny kittens running about that just wanted cuddles! At one point I had 4 kittens fighting for the prime position on my lap! We came here everyday...
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Steve getting kitty cuddles
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Pile on
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I chilled on the beach that night with Steve, Paul, Steffi, George, Karen and Marc, and we watched the world cup and had too many drinks!

The next day the group of us (minus Karen as she felt very ill) went on a boat trip fishing and snorkelling. I got really sea sick, which is usual for me, but perhaps due to the night before! The visibility for snorkelling wasn't great, but we managed to catch a lot of fish (I didn't catch any!! No matter how hard I tried!!) which was good because we cooked and ate all the fish we caught!
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Waiting for the boat
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Snorkelling
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We watched the sun set from the boat, then returned to shore where we waited until dark before wading out off the beach to about waist deep to watch bioluminescent plankton which truly was incredible. The plankton responded to movement, so we were thrashing about in the water making it glow. And when you removed your arms/hands from the water you could see them in little dots on your skin... fascinating!

The next day George and I walked up and over the interior of the island (which had no roads) to the opposite side of the island; long beach. The walk through the jungle was very hot and humid, and at some points required clambering over rocks clinging onto ropes and vines.
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After almost an hour hike we were relieved to see the beach...
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I played in the sea whilst George chilled on the beach... something he can't to regret thanks to the sand flies...
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We decided to take a local boat taxi back to the main village and spent that evening with Karen, Steffi and Marc, eating BBQ and playing beer pong! In the bar that night I met Wilf and Dave again! Still a small world....

We arranged to travel now as a large group of myself, Karen, George, Steve, Paul and Steffi, and we headed from Koh Rong to the capital; Phnom Penh.

I loved koh rong... it was remote and still undeveloped with a quiet atmosphere, but it still had some modern/western bars and cafes which was a nice comfort for a few days. The island was beautiful, especially long beach, but I couldn't help notice a high amount of rubbish (especially plastics) on the beaches, I didn't know if it was left by tourists or washed ashore. But still, it was a shame. The plankton off shore really did capture me though, I have since heard that this exists off the coast of Norfolk in UK too!!

Posted by Libbytes 03:21 Archived in Cambodia Tagged beach koh_rong bioluminescent_plankton Comments (0)

Extremes in Phnom Penh

sunny 36 °C
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The newly formed travel group of myself, Steve and Paul from Bristol, George from Gloucester, Steffi from Germany and Karen from The Netherlands, headed off together in what turned into a private minibus from Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh. It quickly became apparent that from now on I was tour guide and organiser for all trips, which I loved and hated simultaneously!

We arrived at an amazing hostel (recommended by Sean) hostel eighty8. It had a pool table and a pool! That evening we all got in the pool and initiated a late-finishing pool party which ended due to complaints from fellow guests.... oops!
England was playing in the world cup that night so George and I patriotically stayed up til 5am to support... by stayed up I mean fell sleep on the Thai sofas in front of the TV... lol unfortunately, England lost :(

Our first full day in Phnom Penh we visited the killing fields, a museum and one site of mass killings and executions during the Pol Pot regime. We got a tuk tuk to take us and on the way there he stopped at a shooting range which allows you to fire any gun you want... strange, but apparently all killing field day-trips include a stop at a shooting range, so it's probably better that we went before, rather than after learning about how millions of people were killed...!!

I didn't fire any guns, but George and Paul did... wow it was loud! Even with heavy duty ear defenders on.
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Gangsta Paul... hahaha

From here we went to the killing fields... what an experience. I didn't know anything about the killings in Cambodia before visiting here. I had heard of Pol Pot and his comparison to Hitler, but I had no idea why or what that meant...

In 4 years (1975-1979) an estimated 3 million people (including women and children) were executed or died due to the Khmer rouge regime. A staggering amount considering the population of Cambodia at that time was only around 8 million...

Life under the Khmer Rouge: Wikipedia.
In power, the Khmer Rouge carried out a radical program that included isolating the country from all foreign influences, closing schools, hospitals, and factories, abolishing banking, finance, and currency, outlawing all religions, confiscating all private property and relocating people (often splitting up families) from urban areas to collective farms where forced labour was widespread.

The Khmer Rouge attempted to turn Cambodia into a classless society by depopulating cities and forcing the urban population into agricultural communes. The entire population was forced to become farmers in labour camps. They forced people to work for 12 hours non-stop, without adequate rest or food. These actions resulted in massive deaths through executions, work exhaustion, illness, and starvation. Money was abolished, books were burned, teachers, merchants, and almost the entire intellectual elite of the country were murdered to make the agricultural communism, as Pol Pot envisioned it, a reality.

During their four years in power, the Khmer Rouge overworked and starved the population, at the same time executing selected groups who they believed were enemies of the state or spies or had the potential to undermine the new state. People who they perceived as intellectuals or even those who had stereotypical signs of learning, such as glasses, would also be killed. People would also be executed for attempting to escape from the communes or for breaching minor rules. If caught, offenders were taken quietly off to a distant forest or field after sunset and killed.

The executed were buried in mass graves. In order to save ammunition, the executions were often carried out using wooden sticks, spades or sharpened bamboo. In some cases the children and infants of adult victims were killed by having their heads bashed against the trunks of Chankiri trees. The rationale was "to stop them growing up and taking revenge for their parents' deaths."

The killing fields included an audio tour with accounts from survivors and graphic details. Waking around the fields you could see places were mass graves were. And even the tree used for killing children...
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Graves
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Killing tree.

A memorial building housed hundreds of skulls and bones...
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The place was shocking...

From here we drove to the S-21 prison or 'Tuol Sleng' (which was a school before). It was used to interrogate and torture potential enemies of the regime... it was kept almost intact as a memorial and museum, and was very creepy...
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The day was emotionally draining and we returned in the afternoon to chill in the pool, all of us very quiet...

After a swim and a nap we headed for food, which lead to drinks and karaoke (there were karaoke bars everywhere!) And eventually a very seedy night club!
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The next day we spent the whole day lounging by the pool and snoozing, still tired from the full day before. We left that evening on a night bus to Siem Reap, the home of Angkor Wat.

Phnom Penh really was the city of extremes...

Posted by Libbytes 09:55 Archived in Cambodia Tagged phnom_penh Comments (0)

Say Wat?!? Angkor Wat.

sunny 36 °C
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We arrived in Siem Reap very early and had to wait until midday to check in. The night bus wasn't great so all of us slept on sofas in the lobby until we were allowed in the room. Another lovely hostel, this place also had a swimming pool, but was a little further from the centre of town.

In the afternoon, after a quick dip we headed to a collection of remote villages in two tuk tuks. The houses were pretty, especially those built on stilts. The drivers then took us to a crocodile farm, which was not the best in terms of animal welfare, mainly due to the shear number of crocs, but still it was interesting to see. The boys were a little obsessed with catching one of the free roaming chickens to throw in to the enclosure... So much so, they asked the staff, who agreed! ...poor chicken...(s)!!!
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Driving through Siem Reap
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Tuk tuk!!!
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Baby crocs
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Paul with his crocodile food!!

When we got back we all got in the pool again, before eating at the local night market and taking an early night in preparation for a 4am start at Angkor Wat the following day...

Angkor Wat temple:
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Still dark when we arrived...
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Watching the sun rise
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The road to Angkor Thom:
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George trying to pose in the bridge
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Wish we had a better form of transport...
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Spot the face... and spot the German!

Bayon temple:
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Baphuon temple:
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Ignoring the sign and climbing up...
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Elephant walk:
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Preah Khan temple:
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Ta Prohm temple:
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Paul was finally happy after we found the dinosaur marking...
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By the end of it all we were knackered, so went back to the hostel for a nap. Since we only bought a one day ticket to visit the temples, myself, Karen, George and Steve went back to watch the sunset.
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Acting like the locals to cool down!
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That evening back at the hostel we played an all time favourite drinking game of mine; drink uno! Followed by watching the Holland game for Karen and too many drinks...
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The night ended late!

The following day was slow and lazy, a hangover cure of kfc and some serious pool time was topped with a night at the Cambodian circus; more like a drama and acrobatic performance. It was really good fun!
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That night we took an over night bus back in to Bangkok, Thailand.

Siem Reap was great for the temples, but we did get harassed by street sellers almost everywhere we went which quickly became frustrating. The town was nice, but like everywhere we went in Cambodia; was completely overrun by tourists and the things that come along with that - the street sellers... We constantly felt harassed and like we were merely walking wallets. Local people chose only to interact with us if there was a chance of a tip. It's a shame really, but we were glad to get out of Cambodia. I'm not sure if being in a larger group effected this, and sure, we only went to big towns... Perhaps I should try to return to Cambodia, alone, or in search or smaller towns as I'm sure Cambodia has a lot more to offer.

Posted by Libbytes 04:46 Archived in Cambodia Tagged siem_reap angkor_wat angkor Comments (0)

Feeling at home in Bangkok

sunny 34 °C
View Italy road trip & PhD Celebrations! on Libbytes's travel map.

We arrived in Bangkok from Siem Reap. Everyone in the group had been to Bangkok before, but stayed in a different district, AND... they all hated the city. So my mission, as designated tour guide, was to change all their opinions!! I took them to all my favourite restaurants and bars from previous visits, and we stayed at the hostel I stayed in previously; Hi Mid Bangkok. It felt like home going back to somewhere familiar after a long time travelling, a lovely feeling.

The first day I took them to a boat noodles place Ben took me to on my first day. Boat noodles had also been Dan's favourite Thai dish from the days we spent together, and it was great that everyone enjoyed the meal, even after I told them the soup was made with pigs blood (something Ben only told me afterwards too!).

In the evening we started the night at a jazz roof top bar which I went to a few times previously. We got very drunk and then the 6 of us piled into one tuk tuk to go to a club in Sukhumvit district...
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In the tuk tuks.
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The club had a mirror on the ceiling... lol
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Getting to know the locals!

The following day we went early to apply for a visa for Myanmar, which was a very easy process, and cheap! We watched transformers at the cinema, and then got scammed by a seafood restaurant! Our visas were ready the following day and after we picked them up we all went for a massage! I took everyone to a Japanese restaurant that evening (another one that Ben introduced me to). Again, everyone loved it! After, 4 of us went for drinks along Khao San Road (not my choice...) before everyone realised the is what they didn't like about Bangkok... better to keep the organisation up to me then!!!
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The last day in Bangkok was spent walking around between malls and a few shrines that I didn't manage to visit before. Steve and I also visited the Baiyoke tower, the tallest building in Thailand, with amazing views. Unfortunately, my camera had been playing up and corrupting my photos without me knowing, so I lost all the ones I took this day. Luckily the problem was fixable!

I love the city of bangkok, and it is currently the place I have spent longest in so it really does feel like my home in Asia. I was also successful in my mission to convince the others that Bangkok is more than just Khao San Road, as everyone said that this time, Bangkok was enjoyable, hassle free and had great food! Winner!

Posted by Libbytes 01:41 Archived in Thailand Tagged bangkok Comments (0)

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