Having left Thailand, Cambodia was a bit of a culture shock arriving at Koh Kong where we crossed the border and where we needed to stay one night before heading down to Phnom Penh. It was at the guesthouse here that we met our Cambodian travelling buddies in the form of Alex, Kev and Phil, 3 northern lads that didn't have the foggiest idea what they were doing!
After a night in Koh Kong the 5 of us plus 2 Germans bundled into a mini bus and began the long and eventful journey to Phnom Penh. Having been told that it would only take 5 hours, eventually 10 hours later we finally got to our destination. The journey included several river crossings on Cambodian river ferries, lots of dust and dirt, a couple of near misses (in terms of crashes), and the cherry on the icing had to be when the actual sliding side door of the mini bus fell off as we were driving along!! In the UK this would have caused complete mahem but out here this seemed to be an everyday occurance as no one seemed to batter an eyelid. The boys just hopped out and helped the driver put it back on again! This memory will surely stick with us for a while!!
And boy were we glad to have the boys with us again when we got dropped off in the middle of the Phnom Penh city where we got mobbed by taxi and tuk tuk drivers from every direction! Being our usual organised selves we had an idea which guest houses we wanted to stay at, but the boys hadn't got a clue, but with our accommodation research the lot of us managed to club together and get to a nice hotel in one piece!
We spoilt ourselves in this hotel for a few nights with a hot shower, air con, flushing toilet and a tv. In some respects Cambodia is more developed in terms of hygene than Thailand as everywhere there are flushing toilets and toilet paper, how nice!!
During our stay there was a yearly Water Festival to celebrate the end of the rainy season, a bit like Henley or Marlow regatta, where hundreds of them race rowing boats up and down the Tonle Sap River over 3 days, only there were no straw boaters or Pimms and Lemonade.
One of the major historical sites in Cambodia is the Killing Fields where over 8000 people lost their lives during Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge's reign in the 1970s, and this is where we spent an afternoon. It was a very sad and moving place.
During our stay in Phnom Penh we frequented a few bars in the evening where some live bands were playing, and which Alex (the orginal kareoke king) and CJ (Rock Chick), got up and strutted their stuff!!
Phnom Penh is an ok city, and a place where you only really want to spend a few days, and we were certainly looking forward to moving onto our next stop Siem Reap!