After Saigon (aka Ho Chi Mihn City), Mar and I gave up all advanced hostel bookings. We have been sticking to the method of showing up to our destination homeless. It’s not too hard to find a place once we arrive.
Once we found a spot at our first stop in Cambodia, Phnom Penh, we decided to meander around the city. Well, we ended up getting fancy. First we got ice cream, then we got massages which were incredible, then we went to a rooftop bar and spend $26 between the two of us on drinks, an app, and a pizza. Trust me, that’s an expensive dinner in Asia. Everyone said, spend one night in Phnom Penh then move on, but Martha and I really loved that city, as we do most cities. I’m glad our journey took us back there unexpectedly with Brett.
The next day we went to Toul Sleng Prison and the Killing Fields, which I’ve already talked about. Late that afternoon we hopped on a bus to Sihanoukville. We met Brett, a solo traveler from Canada on that bus! Apparently we can’t get enough of the Canadians or of solo male travelers. We spent the next three weeks splitting rooms and traveling with Brett.
Sihanoukville is a fun beach city in the Gulf of Thailand. Serendipity beach is lined with hopping bars and people. Brett knew some people from earlier in his travels so we met up with them and went out. The next day we were playing frisbee in the water all day when Nev and Jo asked to join. Seriously, I’ve made so many friends with that frisbee…
The five of us got into brochure modeling for a hotel, which in my opinion was more of an Angkor Beer ad than a hotel ad, but whatever. It was interesting to say the least. I got pretty sick that evening and spent some time lying on the bathroom floor but I made it out alive. Sorry about your feet Mar.
Brett, Mar, and I took a ferry to Koh Rong, where Brett’s friends had taken off to the day before. I was feeling sick still so I didn’t join in on the Fourth of July festivities but I heard it was a blast. We met a lot of cool people through Brett and his friends. We all got to know each other really well in Thailand.
Everyone loved Koh Rong. It’s a beautiful, minimally developed island not far off the coast of Cambodia. We spent a decent chunk of time on that island before making our way back to Sihanoukville. I’m really interested to see how Koh Rong develops in the future so I need to pay it another visit!
The bus from Sihanoukville to Siem Reap was full so we went back to Phnom Penh with Brett since he still had to do the Killing Fields. I’m glad we got to go back and hang out for another night because I really like that city.
I fell in love with Siem Reap the second we arrived. It’s basically the tourist hub for people who are going to see Angkor Wat but it was incredible regardless. Siem Reap is very lit up, lively and energetic! Pub Street was the center of attention with its’ neon signs and colorful strands of cube lights. It was easy to meet people and had a lot of fun bars- finally some proper dancing! We did a pub crawl one night that was one of the funnest nights I’ve had in Southeast Asia.
Our last spot on our agenda in Cambodia was of course the infamous Angkor Wat. I was geeking out. I’d watched a few documentaries about its’ history and how it was built before coming over here and it just FASCINATES me. It was even cooler to see it in person after learning about it at home. I’m not even going to get into how it was built or this will be a super long post, just watch a documentary okay? I didn’t agree with all the people who said the temples all start to look the same after a few hours. They were all unique and stunning.
Cambodia was an absolute blast. The locals were so friendly and we met SO many amazing people who we continued to meet up with on and off through the next month. I’m very thankful we met Brett. We’ve made so many great memories with him and I can’t say enough good things about him- a genuine, fun and kind guy! In travel time, each day spent with a new friend should be multiplied by 10. That’s how fast friendships develop and it’s so cool.
Once we saw Angkor Wat our Cambodia jaunt was over. We went back to Bangkok after a hectic, time-consuming boarder crossing. Our mainland loop was complete and it was time to start island hopping in southern Thailand.
More on that next:)