We woke up bright and early on our last day in Phnom Penh.. we could all feel the days coming down to a close and these were our last days on the trip. Since we didn’t have much time to check out the local markets while we were here, this morning was a great time to do that. It was another blistering hot day in the city and after a yummy breakfast on the rooftop patio of our hotel we headed to the streets.
The markets are in one word – overwhelming. Everything from the sight, sound and smell takes to you immediately and you automatically feel uncomfortable and totally out of your element. I can’t tell you how many blocks of the street are covered from this food market but it took us about 40 minutes to get in and get out, barely stopping. If you stop, you may get trampled!
Their system is interesting… very far out from any North American standards you’re used to. All of the produce and meat is fresh, although you wouldn’t think so from looking at how they display it. The sun is bright the heat is hot and the raw meat is sitting out covered in flies… not even on ice. Chickens with their heads cut off and some are sitting in their own blood and being exchanged for money that is passed around with unwashed hands. I would imagine it’s the same meat the street vendors are purchasing… if that’s the case… I’ll be honest, it was some of the best chicken I’ve ever ate! You’re probably thinking how could I do that, did I not get sick!? I was probably one of the only people on the trip that didn’t get sick.
Needless to say, we didn’t buy anything. Ha! We headed back to the hotel to grab our bags and meet everyone downstairs. I ran into PC in the lobby and we hopped over to the café down the street to get him some breakfast and us a couple of iced lattes. Moments like this one always made me think that I wouldn’t get to spend time like this with him much longer. It was a perfect moment. Sitting on the cafes cozy style patio chairs, cold iced coffees in one hand and each other’s hand in the other, beautiful hot sun and watching the passerby’s on the street go past the water. I was going to miss him.
We realized how late we were and power walked to the bus. My power walk is his normal walk and imagine him power walking, I was basically running! By the time we turned the corner we were shocked to see the bus waiting for us and our bags outside with EVERYONE already piled onto the bus waiting for us. I guess time flies (sometimes stops) when you’re having a good time.
Our bus took us to the airport so we could set flight for our last destination, Siem Reap, Cambodia.
(hard to tell but we’re all sitting on each other in this photo… poor PC is on the bottom all you can see is his hair behindd Kaitey)
Siem Reap (beside Luang Prabang in Laos) was my favorite city that we travelled to. It’s a beautiful city full of greenery, bustling streets and very happy and relaxed people. The roads are fairly dirty but they’ve created many of their store fronts to look quite luxe and you would want to spend your money. This entire trip I hardly purchased anything for myself except what I needed to get me by without my luggage.
Our hotel was great! We had a pool with a bar, live music and it was a 2 minute walk to the main street and 5 minutes away from the major party area in town.
We spent our first day in Siem Reap on a private boat cruise to see the unique floating villages on the Tonle Sap Lake. They made it seem really intriguing and exciting but it was pretty sad to experience. From someone that has done it, I don’t recommend it. The sights may be a little pretty and interesting to see but it is a very sad experience. Families with parents in charge of steering will float beside your boat and have their children ask you for money. They look like they have very rough living conditions. You feel so guilty that you give them money but they actually make more money in a day than most workers on the village tour. A cool part of the tour is you get to feed alligators but even then children run up to you asking for money or just anything you can give them. One of the girls gave a little girl nuts or M&M’s… something small like that and the little girl ran it over to her mom and gave her the 4 nuts.
We headed back to the hotel at sunset and had a free night out. Everyone got ready and met by the pool for drinks and live music courtesy of Jimmy our fun loving Australian and PC.
About an hour later everyone left for dinner and 6 of us were left who weren’t ready to leave… which just happened to be the three trip couples… which was perfect for a triple date! The 6 of us went for our own dinner and then our own ways after. PC and I found Jimmy at a local spa and had a fish massage! Have you ever had one?? It’s the weirdest feeling ever and took me forever to get used to it. You place your feet into a pool of fish and they surround you and suck on your feet for however long you want. I am one of the most ticklish people in the world so I could hardly handle it for the first 15 minutes. Your feet end up being really soft afterwards but I doubt it’s the most sanitary massage out there. $5 got us a 1 hour massage and a beer. Score!
We headed back to the hotel for a 5am wake up call… or maybe it was 4am. I remember it being ridiculously early because we needed to be at our destination before sunrise. We all met to go on a tour of the Angkor Wat temples, I was reeeeallly excited for this! I’ve been waiting to see temples like these ones the entire trip, these were temples I could get on board with.
We took a bus to our destination to get our photo IDs then dropped off at the temple area. After a short walk you line yourselves along the water with hundreds of others. People come from all over the world to see the sun rise over the temples and it’s such a beautiful thing to see I hope you all experience it in your life. Note to selves: do not sit by the water. You will be eaten alive.
The tour lasted a few hours and we went back to the hotel for lunch and time to nap before our last tour began. We went to see The temples at Angkor Thom and Ta Prohm. These were sooooo cool to see. Near the end of it I was getting anxiety and needed to leave the crowds. This was by far one of the dumbest moves on my part. When I feel anxiety I need to leave a crowded area and just be alone… so I left the tour and went back to the entrance. I found one of the girls outside and we sat down together waiting for everyone. 10 minutes passed… nobody was around… 15 minutes… 20 minutes… where the hell is everyone??? There wasn’t a soul in sight. We thought oh no we better go back! There was not a single person ANYWHERE. It turns out they left and couldn’t find us and we were told at the beginning that there is no waiting if you get lost you need to find your way back which is why they give us all of the info we need to get around. Thankfully our tour guide Hannah is a true gem and took a tuk tuk on her own to come find us. I usually don’t get embarrassed but I was mortified from this, ha! The other tuk tuks had left to the next destination and PC and another were there waiting for us. OOPS! Lesson learned.
That night was our last night on the trip…so sad! We met at the pool for drinks then dinner at a café and dancing at a local club. We all dress in white shirts and during dinner wrote on each other’s shirts sweet notes and by sweet I mean things like “Balls” and drawings of penises. What else would happen when you get people together with liquor and high lighters. This was such a bitter sweet night and one that I’ll remember forever. It was the first time I saw one of my best friends drink more than one drink, experienced racing in tuk tuks and crashing (thankfully not mine) and dancing like nobody is watching. Even the Cambodian police were entertained by us. That night PC and I spent it talking poolside and made plans to visit each other the following weekend.
…..We woke up the next morning to say goodbye. I, myself, woke up in a fit of scratchy hate! My legs were completely covered in bites and I have never in my life experienced an itch like this. They were all over! Turns out PC also had them, we were the only two who had them. It turns out they were flea bites and probably from the dogs we were playing with a few days prior. We were told not to touch any animal but what do you do when a little fur ball is rolling its way to you, you pet it!! I still have scars all over my legs from scratching them so bad.
Everyone gathered for breakfast and the first few left for home to Australia and the second group left to continue the tour to Vietnam. The rest of us stayed at the hotel to hang out pool side and reminisce on the last 17 days. Kaitey and I were next to leave to China and I hated to go! I didn’t wanna leave this city and all of these people and most of all I didn’t wanna leave PC but I would see him soon.
…. We were in China for a night and it was everything including interesting. We couldn’t take a shower because there was a gecko in our 5 start hotel shower and the hotel staff couldn’t remove it because they couldn’t understand English. No showers and limited bathroom time for us! I was starting to miss home and I wanted to give my family, friends and my luggage a big hug!
I still think about this trip and the people everyday. I can’t wait for our reunion, hopefully next year and seeing some of them this year in Australia! If you guys have been reading these posts, I miss you all! XOXO
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