Today began at midnight with Mike and I boarding a bus for Phnom Penh in Ho Chi Minh. We were initially worried we would have to buy new tickets as the lady in charge of our hostel forgot to give us the tickets we had already paid for. Fortunately, all it took was a quick phone call and she arrived apologizing profusely but with tickets in hand. The next 5 hours were a blur as I slept until we arrived at the border at about 5am. We then had to wait an hour for the border to open but at 6am we were into Cambodia.
View of the Vietnam Side
Upon crossing the border, we were greeted by the Cambodia Casino Strip. I was initially not sure what I was looking at until I saw the names Venetian and Los Vegas Sand. The reason I didn’t recognize it, was because the hotels appeared really dated and perhaps trapped in the 80’s. Obviously this area does not generate the income of Los Vegas or Macau so I was puzzled why they even bothered building here. After passing the strip we stopped at a local restaurant. If a food safety inspector would have arrived this place may have earned a C on a good day. A lot of the food appeared to be left out overnight so I refrained from food poisoning on a plate. After about 30 minutes it was time to begin our travels within Cambodia.
Black Temple Complex
I think the biggest difference you instantly recognize between Vietnam and Cambodia is the later features far more temples. It seemed like every mile there was another temple ranging from something small to massive complexes. This allowed for the remaining 4 hours to Phnom Penh to pass by in a flash. On the way we also passed a lot of luxury gated communities that seemed to suggest these people would leave for work then quickly retreat to their homes. When we finally got off we had no idea where we were.
Oreo Ferris Wheel
Grand Market of Phnom Penh
Somehow we managed to piece together where our bus station for Kampot was. We got there and had about an hour to kill before the bus left so we decided to walk around. We managed to discover Phnom Penh’s Chinatown so it was interesting seeing signs in Chinese, Khmer, and English. We did not have time to check out the food but I’m guessing we will upon our return to the area. The bus trip to Kampot took us through a lot of poor areas, which were all filled with signs supporting something called the Cambodian People’s Party. I’m not sure who they are running against but my tally was something like 100-0 in terms of signs for People’s party compared to their opponents. (According to Mike they are the current Party in Charge) The Journey’s other highlight was watching Cambo-Pop music videos. I remembered seeing a movie about kids infected with arsenic from contaminated water learning these songs for a competition. In that case the joy from the kids succeeding caused me not to focus on the songs quality. With nothing else to do on the bus ride however I was forced to listen and I must say they are awful in terms of production values.
Four hours later for a grand total of 14 hours spent on buses, Mike and I arrived at the Rikitikitava lodge in Kampot. To say this is place is amazing, would be a understatement. It reminds me of what I imagine a African Safari Hotel would look like, complete with a lot of earthen colors. We did not do much after arriving besides kick back, relax and just take in the amazing view. Tomorrow I will finally go to see Bokor Park that was famously featured in the Korean movie R-Point.
View from the Hotel