Kampot, Kep, and Sihanoukville. Day 3

Start of trip || < || >

For details of the places I visited in Kampot, Kep, and Sihanoukville, with GPS Coordinates, see my book Kampot, Kep and Sihanoukville.

Got up early this morning, all keen to go and explore Kampot central district, and a number of caves and other attraction around Kampot. Also keen to ride the Honda airblade, as it is the opposition to my Yamaha nouvo. Unfortunately, the hotel now informs me that the Honda has problems, and i will need to use a Suzuki click scooter. No worries.
So i drive around Kampot a bit.

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View from my hotel balcony.

The river runs though the town, and a number of restaurants in french style, line the bank. Sipping a coffee or tea, while you nibble on a croissant, or other treat, with the river and mountains in front of you, is the in thing.

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I drive around town and spot this nice Lilly pond.

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As i line up another shot, someone slaps me on the ass. I ignore the notion, as i want the perfect shot, and just as i try to take it, i get pinched in the ass. A spin around, and holy cow, a cow is nibbling on my ass.
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Some frisky cows in Kampot. When i try to leave on the road i rode up in, the cow blocks the way, and pulls against its rope that blocks me off from riding around it. thus, i am forced to ride the other way, and over the pavement, right in front of two local police, who are hosing themselves for my adventures with the cow. I am sure i will make the local newspaper. Tourists, assaulted by Cow, suspect frisked.

I decide to drive up to the mountain, and spot a zoo, yes, and actual zoo. However, it has seen better days, and many of the stuff is not working, cages are empty (maybe a good things, as those that have something in, I pity the animal inside).

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After the zoo, I head up and check out the local spot where one can swim in the river, relax in a hammock or ride a tube in the water.

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At this point, a hear some rumbling, and glance up to the sky. Partially clear skies smile down on me, then thunder rumbles in my stomach, okay, time to go eat. I head back to town, and have some chicken and rice, then head over to The national Bokor park nearby.

There is a waterfall, and abandoned buildings. Although there are a number of buildings, the most visited are the old casino, french church, and black palace. I have a blast up the mountain as the road zig zags and twist as it goes up. At times, i go though mist as clouds move in. The higher up i go, the colder it gets, and i am grateful that i brought a windbreaker with.

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View as you ride up the mountain. Yes, that is the ocean.

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Mist coming in at points.

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Old bridge, no more. Parts of the old road can still be seen at points.

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I pass a Buddha statue along the road. After the statue, i go a bit, then look down, and slam on the brakes. The scooter is in reserve, how the hell? I filled it up in town and only did like 30km. I contemplate going back, as it is downhill, but then spot a board up ahead that say the waterfall is only 5km. So i limp along, hoping there would be stands that sell gasoline along the road there. Shortly after taking the road again, i come to a checkpoint. The guards inform me that there are indeed gasoline for sale along the road, about 2km down towards the waterfall. I actually wanted to go see the ghost town first, but since there is no gasoline there, i head towards the waterfall.

Sure enough, i find gasoline for sale along the road. Normal prices for roadside sellers are about $1.25/L. these guys wants $2/L. Having been in Cambodia for nearly a year, i know everything is negotiable, so i negotiate with the price. After some quibbling, we settle on $2/L. Seems, being the only place that sell gasoline within a 30km radius, negotiating is limited to how many liters you want. I get two, and it fills the scooter’s tiny tank up. No wonder i ran out off fuel. Fully Automatic scooters are not fuel efficient being hammered uphill.

After fueling up, i head down to the waterfall, and mosey around there, then head back up to the ghost town.

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Waterfall near Kampot in Bokor mountain.

I pass the new Casino, that i will come and have a look at Tomorrow, as it is getting late and it is about 45 min back to town.

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Old French church in the mist. Spooky, call Milder from X-files, actually i like Scully more. ha ha ha.

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Mist gone, jippy.

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Casino in the mist. (side view from road as you drive towards it). The mist at a point totally covered the casino, and with its empty rooms, it reverberated all sounds inside. A bunch of kids were having fun by yelling and making noises, that from a distance was kinda spooky as it echoed through the building. I gamble a bit, and strike gold, the mist clears as i pull up to it.

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The sun is setting, and it is a long ride back to town, so i leave the ghost town, and pass the new casino, that i plan to come and visit tomorrow. Back in town, i head over to my hotel, park the motorbike, then walk around Kampot a bit, where i select the building with the best lights to have dinner.

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And the winner for dinner is, the one with the most lights. Actually the same place i had dinner yesterday night, but tonight i only go for a light salad, very nice and makes up for the okay pizza from last night.

Tomorrow i will go and see the rest of the buildings, and some caves around Kampot.

 

 

 

 

Kampot, Kep, and Sihanoukville. Day 2

Start of trip || < || >

For details of the places I visited in Kampot, Kep, and Sihanoukville, with GPS Coordinates, see my book Kampot, Kep and Sihanoukville.

 

Right, I managed to get to bed at 8pm, and fell asleep at about 12pm, go figure. I dream I am blasting along twisty mountain roads with the wind in my hair and the sun on my back. Slender arms are wrapped around my middle while sweet perfume tickle my nose. I grit my teeth and kick down a gear when sirens activate behind me. With a flick of my wrist, I open the throttle wide. The bike rockets forward and slender arms hold tightly as we fly over asphalt. Lush green forest flash past while mountains, their tops shrouded in dragon’s breath, beckon in the distance. The sirens grow louder and louder. Reluctantly, I open my eyes and push the snooze button on my alarm. Aahhh man, 4am, time to get up.

Fearing I will oversleep again, I crawl to the bathroom with one eye open, then stand under a cold shower. Seeing as it is winter now in Cambodia, I am awake almost instantly. Right, quick breakfast, get everything sorted, two backpacks packed (one for clothes that goes in the bus’s cargo hold, and a smaller one for my electronic stuff and documents that stays with me). I manage to leave home on time at 5am. Crisp air fill my lungs as I walk in the dark to the travel agency, where I will be picked up.

I manage to reach the place at 5:20, (20 minutes early). So I hang around, while saying no to the Tuk Tuk drivers that offer me rides to the temples, hash, woman, crack, and men. (I am picky early in the morning :-)).

At 5:50, I get a little worried as no bus has passed yet. So I phone the travel agency, and am told they will ring me back. About 5 minutes later, they ring and inform me that the bus doing pickups, will be about another 15 minutes. Man, I could have slept late. 🙁

Eventually a minibus arrives, and we drive like 2 minutes down the road, to the main travel agency’s office, where the actual bus is. Well, next time I will just walk down to there.

We hang around a bit, while a worker washes out the bus’s cargo hold of dust. (He may as well have skipped that part). A girl asks if the cargo hold is dry, when I hand my bag to the worker. I laugh, NO, knowing it will not matter as the bags are going to be layered with dust when we get to Phnom Penh. When the packing is done, we hop on the bus, and to our amazement, find out that this bus care that you sit in the right seats as per your ticket, wow.

I meet some new friends on the bus, that are also going to Kampot, and we alternate between chatting, and trying to sleep. I already know what’s coming as I did most of the drive the day before on my scooter, so the shakes and the bumps are nothing to me. About 10 hours later, we finally arrive in Phnom Penh. About two hours behind schedule. (Not the bus company’s fault, but the bad roads. See picture on previous day’s post.

We get our bags, now all the same color, dust. Ha ha ha.

What is funny, is that the second bus we are to change to, is not there yet. So we hang around a bit until it arrives. This time, they do not care where we sit, so I go near the back. The road from Phnom Penh to Kampot, is just as crap as from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, so we bounce around as we try to sleep. I stare out of the windows, and on a few occasions head but the window, or find my nose squashed against it.

Amazingly, this bus has a toilet onboard, in the lower section mind you. I think this must be a hobbit’s bus, as the toilet’s ceiling is about hip high, so you have to almost crawl in, and this is while the bus bounces along.

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I try the door, and it seems locked, so I knock, but no one answers. I knock again, and try the door again, but nothing. Then we hit a pothole, and a lose my footing, and accidentally flip a switch off by the door. This happens to be the light inside the toilet, and as a plunge the toilet in darkness, someone finally decides to admit of being in the toilet. I quickly flip the switch on again, then hurry up the small steps to the second level and take my seat, before the person exits the toilets and sees me.

Seconds later a man storms up the steps and throws death stares over the people in the bus. I bite my lip to stop myself from bursting out in laughter. With a grunt, the man takes his seat, and I sneak gigglingly past him. Below, i crawl into the toilet, then stare at the seat. No way I am sitting down. So, i brace my legs against the side of the toilet’s walls, and with my back pressed against the ceiling, I let it swing free. With the bus rocking and bouncing, keeping my aim in the toilet is like playing a fighter pilot game with a joystick.

With the pressure finally off my bladder, I scoop some water out of a bucket by the door, and wash my hands, then flush the toilet by pouring two scoops of water into it.

Relieved, I stagger up the stairs, and note a girl dash down to the toilet with tears in her eyes as she is holding on till the last second. I feel sorry for her.

Back in my seat, the road crawls by in bumps and crashes, and as the sun sets over Cambodia, I start to worry, for we are according to my GPS, on the wrong road. We are supposed to go to Kampot, and the logical choice would be national road 3, that runs directly from Phnom Penh to Kampot, but we are on road 33, that goes to Kep. Turns out, the bus goes first to Kep, then to Kampot. So add another 30 or so minutes to our late schedule.

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Sun setting over Cambodian countryside as we make out way to Kep.

As I chat with my friends, I find out they have not made a booking at a hotel yet. I pull out my iPad that have 3G connection, and check the available rooms. Does not look good, most are either full, or already closed for check in. I get a message from booking.com, that my check in is about to expire. So I quickly phone the hotel, and ask them to stay later. When they hear I have 4 more friends interested in staying there the night, they are all keen to wait for me. The owner informs me to phone him the moment I arrive in Kampot and he will come pick me up. (About 40 minutes still to Kampot). We stop a few minutes later in Kep, and then head for Kampot. When we finally arrive in Kampot, we are attacked by Tuk Tuk drivers that beg for our business. I phone the owner at the hotel, and now his cell phone is turned off, nice. I get a Tuk Tuk for $2, and the 5 of us with luggage climb like sardines in a can, on board. About 2 minutes later, we stop at our hotel, ha ha ha.

I have a room booked, and the owner gets two more rooms ready, all with just fans. One of the rooms smells like mold, so I ask him for another room. The owner agrees to give an air-conditioned room for the price of a fan room for the night.

We dump our bags, then head out to find a place to eat. Pizza seems to be the only thing we can think off, and with directions from the hotel owner, we head towards the waterfront. Lucky I have my cell phone with GPS map applications on it, as it makes it a breeze to navigate the town. Soon we are sitting down at a comfy restaurant, and order pizza! 🙂 We chat while we wait, and about 5 years later, the pizza finally arrives. Mmm, even with the insides of my stomach sticking together due to lack of food, the pizza was just okay. 🙁

With our hunger killed, we head back to the hotel for some sleep. I see the owner as we enter, and enquire about renting a scooter. He has three, and I select a Honda Airblade. After a quick shower, I hit the bed, and almost pass out as my head hits my pillow, as it is as hard as a rock. If I press my thumb into it, my thumb gives. Feeling like a caveman, I finally fall asleep.