The long awaited trip was finally here and to be frank i was more scared than excited. Imagine having the responsibility to make sure all six others were taken care off but at the same time enjoy the planned backpacking experience. I had request from a few on what they would love to do and see. So trying to please everyone was close to impossible. But i did try my best to incorporate all
The idea of Cambodia was actually first conceived when a few of us were in Redang and after scouting around for tickets on AirAsia, we finally found a suitable date. I have gone through tonnes of iternaries from different agencies, trying to a get an overall view on what is normally organized. But having pledged that i am gonna make it a backpacking trip instead, i had to make sure that the budget was kept to a bare minimum.
I had to read on main historical points in both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap so it would be easy for me to set the route on where to go and when. After reading a number of blogs on how they experienced their trips to Cambodia, i decided to fly into Phnom Penh and fly out from Siem Reap. It cost slightly more compared to the typical Siem Reap first then Phnom Penh, if i am not mistaken about twenty five ringgit but it was a very wise decision. I would explain it in my coming entries.
Upon checking AirAsia’s website i could have snapped return tickets for Cambodia for a mere 280 ringgit but because i had to make sure the rest confirmed which took them an extra 24 hours, the price ballooned by an extra 100 -_-! Nevertheless, it was still considered cheap.
With the plane ticket finalized, all i had to do was get accommodations and have a drafted plan in coming months before the trip.
Google maps, lonelyplanet, blogs after blogs, all checked, double checked, triple checked to make sure where we would be stay and visit.
All communications for accommodation was done solely via email and though i had bookings before hand, i brought a few numbers as backups in case any miscommunication happens.
For the Penangites, we were lucky to get return tickets from Penang to KL for only 70 ringgit plus. Upon arriving in LCCT, we had a few hours to hang around so we left for KLIA to meet up with William and Aaron.
Everyone was excited cause it was easily their first trip on their own overseas, lol.
We all had our very own 1901 hotdogs on board which i purchased upon booking the tickets and i didn’t know we were suppose to prepare it on our own. It’s smaller than the 1901s that we have it on ground but it’s the excitement of preparing it and eating it on air which counts.
After two hours plus, we finally arrived at Phnom Penh’s airport and we were approached by a bunch of tuk tuk people and was told one tuk tuk from the airport has a flat rate of 7USD >.<! which in my opinion is damn blardy expensive. But then again, which transportation from ANY airport is cheap ?
Having seven people we naturally took 2 tuk tuks which came up to 14 USD. This particular driver of ours had some serious issue. He asked me where was i staying and i replied Capitol Guesthouse. He insisted that the place was terrible and he would recommend a better place. He kept blabbering how nice the other place was and he would bring us there for free before heading to Capitol. When i said no thank you, his face changed immediately. And because he had a ‘black face’, he put on his helmet and never bothered to speak to us throughout the rest of the journey.
We conversed BM amongst ourselves and i tell you we strugled, i mean i strugled even constructing a normal sentence. After a while, it all came back naturally.
“Eh sekarang kita kat mana ? Tak nampak tuk tuk yang lagi satu pun ?”
” Yalah #$^#^#$% dia nak jual kita ke? kerana tak nak pi hotel dia recommend ?”
With no sight of Emily’s tuk tuk, i panicked as always and was looking for signs if it showed we were going towards the town. Unfortunately most signs were in Cambodian since were still at the outskirts. I immediately dug for my E71 and turned on my GPS. Having preloaded it with the map of Cambodia, i was able to track our whereabouts and found out he used a different route but it was also heading towards Phnom Penh
Sitting on the tuk tuk alone was an experience itself. It was fast and bumpy. Traffic in Phnom Penh is totally chaotic and don’t let me start with their honking. It reminded me of India where everyone honks just for about anything. Traffic lights are well equipped with countdown numbers just like in Malaysia but motorist move on before it’s their turn. Before you know it, there’s a big grid lock in the middle of the junction.
After thirty minutes or so, we finally arrived at Capitol Guesthouse and checked in to our rooms.
Two rooms, one for the girls and one for guys, having a total of 7 individual beds, air conditioned and hot water which worked like for a few seconds and then it’s all cold again That one night cost us 4.60USD per person.
After checking in and washing up, we went down to Capitol’s main desk. The main reason Capitol Guesthouse was chosen was because they had their own bus service. And the next day we would all be taking bus from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. Behind the ladies above, is a big white board that shows towns of departure and what time does it leave.
We weren’t sure what time we wanted and in the midst of discussing, a lady asked me, ” Are you Satkuru ?”
I finally met the lady that has been replying my mails for the past 3 months and she was Ms Sidana Phann. She was in charge of the Guesthouse, restaurant, bus service as well as tours. I told her what i wanted to do in Phnom Penh the next morning and if she could help sort out a van for us which she kindly arranged for us. Upon confirming that, we finally got ourselves the 12.30pm bus to Siem Reap which cost us 5.25USD each. We had the option of taking a boat but it cost a whooping 35USD and furthermore, it left at 7.30am in the morning which didn’t suit our plan.
Bargaining has to come naturally in Cambodia. If you can’t bargain, then drag someone who can, else prepare to pay double or even triple the cost of anything, especially tuk tuks.
I grabbed 2 tuk tuks again, 1.50USD each, and headed to their coastal area which is along Tonle Sap. We later decided to have our dinner first and was brought to some restaurant which wasn’t really kind to our wallets.
If you are planning to have beer, Angkor beer is a good choice. It’s cheap. Do pronounce it properly as they also widely serve Anchor beer, lol.
One dish that you must try, let me repeat, MUST TRY, is Cambodia’s Amok fish. Till today i can still remember how it tasted like and this particular one was probably the best i tasted so far, even after comparing to Siem Reap
After dinner, we walked for a good 1km plus to their version of Gurney drive.
One thing that no one told me about Cambodia was, it was COLD ! It’s definitely a couple of degrees lower than Malaysia and standing by the coast didn’t help us. The super cold breeze kept blowing and i started shivering after a while. One glance around that area and i noticed we were probably the only ones in shorts and tshirt -_-! The locals had sweaters and long pants on.
Too bad the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda were closed at night.
So we did just like any Cambodian would do …
… having insects for supper. lol
Everyone’s eyes were like @_@ looking at what each stall had to offer. From afar it looked like crackers or dried chillies but upon close inspection, you would noticed fury tarantula, crickets and many creepy crawlers.
A few of us braved ourselves to consume and it definitely didn’t include me, hahaha. Definitely not for the faint hearted
Angeline and Emily joined me to support Vingie’s quest for PETA. Wait, does PETA include creepy crawlers ?
William was first then followed by Aaron which i didn’t manage to snap cause he chomped it down damn fast
The the pharmacist followed suit. Having a pharmacist on board was a good thing, hahaha.
Knowing Lee May tried, Ai Ling braced herself and had one, ROFLMAO.
She even prepared her bottle of water in case it tasted bad, HAHAHAHA
Then William decided to go for the bigger creepy crawler
A freaking tarantula. I can’t remember if he actually consumed any part of it but it was definitely disgusting looking at it. *update* i was told by aaron that he and william ate one leg each and it tasted like ikan bilis.
We then left for our guesthouse and since everyone was still hungry, we walked to a nearby roadside stall to try what they had to offer
There’s a row of stalls selling set meal which started from 75 cents US. The only thing that bothered me was the strong urine smell from that area.
For 75 cents you can get like what i ate. There’s rice, sliced pork something like lap cheong, veggie, fried egg, soup and unlimited amount of tea. It was kind of oily for my liking but hey, it’s hawker food and it definitely filled my tummy
After supper we headed to bed. I immediately dozed off after landing on my bed but was awaken by karaoke songs the next morning
… end of Day One (The Chronicles of Cambodia)