Beautiful Scambodia: Seam Reep (Angkor Wat) – Phnom Penh – Kratie

Siem Reap – Phnom Penh – Kratie

Dec. 31, 2014 – Jan. 3, 2015

I want to leave the beaten tracks and book a boat ticket to Kompong Chhnang which is on the way to Phnom Penh. When I went to the ticket counter I had two more options but was told getting off there was no problem. Once on a boat full of tourists (no stories about this one just DON’T DO IT) I start checking internet for onward transport to the east and find out it will be impossible to go further east without passing Phnom Penh. Half an hour later the boat doesn’t stop at my destination (means I was cheated with the Kompong Chhnang no problem story) so I have to go to the capitol anyway. Getting off the boat I run away from the tuk tuk drivers and get 2 very expensive coffee to digest the boat ride. Room is quickly found (too expensive, not very clean) and I take the chance to get some guitar strings. Receptionist offers me bus tickets for the next day (“same price like bus station) but the guitar shoo was next to the bus station and I got them way cheaper there. Not so much interested in Phnom Penh nightlife (alcohol and prostitution) so I spend New Year’s night sleeping.

Next day morning I have enough time to get proper breakfast (veg fried rice) and some of the real good Scambodian coffee. The bus journey leads thru an amazing landscape and I regret a lot not being on me own wheels. Still I am incredibly tired after that bus ride of 9 hours so I make an easy victim for the first guy after getting off the bus. He brings me to his hotel which is only a little filthy and cheap. I could fall asleep standing so I take the room and sleep nearly all of the next day.
In the late afternoon I take a look at town and find a nice little restaurant where I eat a lot and spend the evening – tomorrow I want to rent a scooter to go and see the famous Irrawaddy river dolphins. According to a counting in 2012 by WWF there are only 85 left and the Mekong is a huge river so I have to be very lucky to see one. Still some travelers on the way told me they had been successful so I give it a try. Before going to the boats to watch the dolphins I drink a coffee close to a swimming village about 1km river up of the dolphin place. If you come here just take a coffee in one of the restaurants where u have a perfect view of the village. Village itself is another expensive scam and sitting in the shadow in the restaurant u will get the better view including three amazing tasty iced coffees for the same price.

About two hours before sunset I approach the place for dolphin watching. There is a small queue at the ticket booth so I decide to drink something at the caffee offering a nice view of the river. As soon as I sit down the close the windows cutting my view claiming it is “too hot” (of course that is why you close 2 hours before sunset). I go back and get a ticket to be most welcome when coming back to have a drink at the open window – strange enough I didn’t notice the sudden drop of temperature. I go below the caffee next to where the boats stop and spend some time sitting and watching the river. I can see at least 6 dolphins from the bank which leaves me quite amazed. The boat ride (one hour nine dollar) takes about 40 minutes and then I have to start arguing with the driver to make it 50 minutes. Still the sight is worth it.

In the morning that day I was in need to change some money and the guest house owner offered to do so when I asked him for a bus ticket. “Same rate as bank 1,14 dollar for one euro” – dream on I think and check the rate online. There is a bank just around the corner and on my way there the guest house owner tells me it is closed “Saturday” and to better get the bus ticket soon otherwise the bus might be full. Well to make it a short story – bank was open and rate was 1,18 and the bus ticket was way cheaper in town and I got it without any problem in the evening. Bus ticket to Laos…. Finally leaving Scambodia today.