Today was a pretty early start, with a 5.30am wake up so that we could shower and pack, as after 3 days in Siem Reap we were finally moving onto the next stop, Kampong Cham, which was going to be a 6-7 hour public bus ride. Jay, our guide, had built up the fact we would be sharing the bus with locals, and that they may bring animals onboard, and we may not have air conditioning, so we had no idea what to expect.
We took our bags down and joined the others for breakfast, and at 7am our first bus turned up which was going to take us to the bus station. Once there we were actually surprised at how nice the bus was, as it was actually more like a coach. I mean it’s not up to the standards at home of course, but way better than expected, and it had air con!
Once on the road we moved out into the countryside where the roads became worse and worse, and the first leg was a couple hours of this, and it was an interesting experience having our bus speed pass others, driving down our lane, the centre lane, and some times the opposite lane, honking as we went. The first pit stop was a local bus stop, so there were many locals eating there, and some of our group partook in eating some bugs, but the rest of us went to the rather nasty toilets instead.
About 30 minutes later though we were on the road, and back onto the pot holed roads of rural Cambodia. About 30 minutes into this leg the air conditioning broke down and so they had to pull over and try and fix it on the fly which took about 10 minutes. Once on the road again we had no issues the rest of the way until we reached Kampong Cham, which was a mid size town and not very touristy.
We checked into our hotel, and then met back in the lobby where as a group we got 4 Tuk Tuks and made our way to a locals house for a home cooked authentic Cambodian meal. The meal was great, and the family very friendly and welcoming, and we were all very full afterwards and all felt like naps. Instead though we jumped back on the Tuk Tuks and went on an hour tour of the town.
We saw some French made colonial era buildings and a local market where they were selling everything from fried frogs, snakes, bugs, tarantula, and other things most westerners would gladly avoid. We also went to a Buddhist temple where many locals had their bodies cremated and then stored in large stupas. After this we went back to the hotel, and it was around 6pm and we had the rest of the evening to ourselves, but as we had another early start in the morning, and we felt very tired, myself and Mollidy were fast asleep by 8.30pm.
One thing I want to talk about in this post is where to book your hotels. Yes price is something you should always take into account, but often the difference between hotels might only be $5-$20 a night, and the difference in quality far out wights the difference in price. So I say look for one that is walking distance to at least 2-3 things you’d like to see and do, one that isn’t in a touristy trap as that makes dealing with taxis, Tuk Tuks, and market vendors a little harder, and one that isn’t the cheapest, as you’ll notice in a big way the quality level as the price drops.