Siem Reap

Our weekend get away/time off was anything but relaxing. We took a half day on Friday to leave early in hopes to get to Siem Reap by dinner. We arrived at the bus stop at 12:30pm only to be not allowed on a bus until 4:30pm. They seemed to be unable to speak any English to me when I asked what was going on but when an Israeli boy walked up the women suddenly were English speakers… Busses passed and locals were given priority even though we had tickets, or they were full. So we split up and half went at 3:30 and the other half went at 4:30. Emina and Sam were waiting for us in Battambang and during this time the last bus to Siem Reap left for the day.

We arrived later to find our only way was to get a taxi their or stay the night a risk having this nightmare again. We went with a taxi. This situation was pretty much everything a guidebook would tell you NOT to do. Originally they wanted to put 6 of us (plus a driver) into the one taxi for a 3 hour drive because its “the Cambodian way”. After much convincing we got a second taxi, thank god but three girls in one cab with a creepy Cambodian cab driver who literally didn’t speak a word of English late at night, we were convinced we were going to get kidnapped. We arrived safely in Siem Reap at 10:30 (a 3 hour cab cost 40 dollars all up!) and headed straight out to meet the others on “Pub street”. I quickly learnt that Siem Reap is literally a tourist town. Neon light filled steers and blasting music from the over crowned night clubs pouring poison down overly eager tourists’ throats, for most this is a base point for the Angkor Wat journey (like us). I had two drinks and was too tired to deal with the night club we were at, and after leaving the club to walk home with Katy and Lauren I noticed small children rummaging through the street garbage bags and I immediately felt strange about Siem Reap, it was such a contrast from people throwing away money on cheap alcohol, and people struggling to survive. I was glad I wasn’t based here for my placement and after a week in rural Pursat, with no tourists in sight, this was overwhelming. Though I was horribly sick from the poisonous alcohol the whole of the next day, I loved exploring and bartering very cheap bargains at the markets here (despite loosing my brand new book within it) and you can’t go to Cambodia without seeing Angkor Wat.

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