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Cambodia Adventures, Continued 26 February 2010

Posted by uggclogs in Travelling.
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Kep

After our very lovely experiences with all the temples and bamboo trains etc, we still had some holidays left over, so we decided to make the long haul to the coast to find a nice little beach to snuggle up on.

Getting from Battambang to the beach is actually quite a trek – not because it is incredibly far, but because the road is not magnificent, and because there is a mountain range running parallel to the coast and Tonle Sap lake, meaning that to get from Battambang to the coast we needed to either go through the mountains (dirt roads, no bus services, so something we would have been able to do if we had motorbikes, but that was something we did not have) or go all the way down to Phnom Penh first, and then go to the coast from there.

We did the latter, and chose to go to a little coastal town called Kep. Kep is indeed a tiny town, but it is up and coming. It used to be quite grand, and it still has many bombed out old villas that remain from when the French used to use Kep as a weekend retreat for swanky parties (bombs courtesy of the Khmer Rouge, of course). They are slowly being pulled down, though, and resorts are mushrooming, now that the place is regaining its popularity.

We had not booked ahead, so we ended up having to stay at a basic back packer like place for the first night, which was perfectly fine, apart from the low doorframe to the bathroom, meaning that we both smacked our heads at some stage during our stay.

Kep has a crab market where you can go and eat (supposedly) fresh sea food, and watch the sun set into the ocean over cocktails. You can see the (now) Vietnamese island of Phu Quoc from Kep, which is weird, as we knew that friends of ours were staying there at that very moment. The local crab with green pepper dish that we had was delicious, but we are not sure whether it or a later meal caused us so much trouble later on.

The next day, we decided to go out to the island outside of Kep – Koh Tonsay – and stay there overnight. They only have beach shacks there, made of bamboo, and very rustic. In theory it was a fantastic idea, but we were mighty unlucky.

We had lunch at the beach, and I spent the whole day exploring (I walked around the entire circumference of the island to see the locals in their fishing villages, and managed to spot a few kingfishers) and frolicking at the beach. Koh Tonsay is an absolute gem. It has beautiful beaches, and the water was just perfect for swimming. Time seems to slow down, because there is no reason to hurry. Our shack had two hammocks outside on the veranda, where we could lie and read in peace, or just contemplate the palmfronds above. It was true heaven for the time that it lasted.

That night we realised that we had managed to contract food poisoning. And it was so hot in the shack that I felt the skin on my face tighten as I was lying under the mosquito net, trying not to think about the heat. The generator seemed to be near our hut somewhere, running most of the evening to keep the lights on.

To top it all off, the neighbouring shack (I should have known better) contained some crusty old foreigner who had been on the island anywhere between two or six months (he was a little fussy on the details) and had made his shack into his home. The music from the hut was not too annoying, although the nature of the huts is that there is not much walls or anything to dampen the sound. It was the next morning that made me want to scream. He woke up at the crack of dawn (like everyone else due to the roosters) and decides he will get up and start hammering!

And I try to be zen about these things and ignore other people, because the more you let things irritate you, the more irritating they become. But it was when he was having a (very long) argument with someone over the words in the song Barbara Ann (Beach Boys), and was singing the words

“Ba-ba-ba…Ba-ba-ba-reng”

repeatedly, and when he eventually pulled out the stereo and played the song several times, with everyone there singing along that I thought I was going to lose my marbels.

Luckily, we travelled on to Phnom Penh that day, where we spent most of our time recuperating from the food poisoning, and seeing just a few sights. Luckily, we managed to catch up with some friends of ours while we were there, so we could see the capital through their eyes.

After two more days of exploring Phnom Penh and relaxing, we returned to Hanoi for another stint. Good to be home.

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Comments»

1. Hielke Kamps - 27 February 2010

Yes irritation levels build fastest when you really try hard to ignore things to an explosive level 😉

2. PJ - 27 February 2010

You’re obviously adventurous and brave. Those were rougher accommodations than I could handle at this point. But how cool! Did you take photos? I want to see them! 😉

uggclogs - 28 February 2010

I am not sure if brave is the word… But the trip was amazing, it was really worth it (despite the little hassles)

3. Lizeth - 3 March 2010

You’re sure you only went for about 10 days??? 😉

uggclogs - 3 March 2010

Yes, we went for 9 days 🙂 We fit a lot in, didn’t we?

Meke


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