Cambodia 2008

Day 7 to 11 (Tonle Sap, Battambang, Phnom Penh)

29 Nov 2008 - Boat trip from Siem Reap to Battambung

The boat was scheduled to leave at 0700hrs and we were supposed to be picked up at 0600hrs from the hotel by the boat operators (Angkor Express). Waited till about 0700hrs but our pick-up did not turn up. Luckily the folks at La Villa Loti quickly got their Tuk Tuk driver to send us to the Chong Keanas pier

We got there about 0720hrs and managed to catch the boat. Actually we were "early" as the boat eventually left at 0800hrs. It's cambodia time i guess :>
The boat company did sent their pickup but arrived at our hotel at 7.10am as some other guest in an earlier hotel were late.

At the pier, the "porters" will rush to grab your bags from the Tuk Tuk and would want USD$5 for carrying 2 bags for about less than 20m. Gave them USD$1 each, which I knew was a lot more than what others gave them. Let's not be too mean :>


As the boat got going, the view started with a narrow forested waterway. The view opens up to the lake which was so big that it looks like the sea.
Once across the lake, it started to go into the narrow waterway again up the Sangker river, reaching the bird sanctuary. Flocks of birds in the area, not much a bird expert so not able to ID the various birds there.

< Video clip - passing by the bird sanctuary >


As the boat travels up the Sangker river , it passes several clusters of floating villages ... kids there always waving and screaming "bye bye".
Lunch stop @ about 12pm at one of the slited "7-11" at some of the bigger floating villages. We did not get anything there as we already packed some bread and cakes from blue pumpkin the night before.

The boat driver had much mutual respect for the various villagers there. They stopped their engines to gliding speed to avoid created big waves which may cause damage to the float or slit houses . They made a lot of effort to zig-zag their paths to avoid fishing lines and nets which are the main lifehood of the villagers, they sound their horns in narrow waterlanes to warn of oncoming "Traffic". Many reasons why the ride took 8 hours

In my opinion, a definitely must-do ride for those enjoy the sun, like nature and wants an unique glimpse of life on the tonle sap lake and its rivers.

As one of the ladies on the boat was saying ... "They said it was a 3hr ride when she bought the tickets :> Welcome to Cambodia :>

1530hrs Arrived at Battambang ferry pier
No lack of drivers touting for business, 10 mins Tuk Tuk ride and we were at the Rottanank Resort, a
fter a quick swim in the pool, we were refreshed and took a walk across the river to look for dinner

Dinner @ Smoking pot
- grilled chicken with pepper sauce
- smoked fish salad
- fish amok (khmer curry style)

30 Nov 2008 - Around Battambang
Breakfast @ Rottanak Resort

- Eggs, french loaf and coffee. The omelette with onions was yummy. Cambodia has one of the most fantastic french loaf !

Quick visit to Pasar Nhar (Old market), which was a local market and with many gems dealer.
After talking to a few tuk tuk drivers, finally found one that could speak english and we were on our way to visit the countryside and the outlying temples.

Wat Banan
358 steps to the top to view an Angkorian era temples, There were caves there but we were advised not to go in as there are often snakes and such there

Phnom Sam Peou
One of the khmer rouge killing fields, which is now coverted to a temple. View from the top is quite magnificent. German artillary , wild monkeys, a visit to the killing caves ...

The ride back was extremely bumpy and dusty.

We got back to the hotel looking the same color as the road

Dinner @ Champey
Food here is more authentic as it was something like a local beer garden.
Almost none of them could speak proper english , had to "return" my drinks 3 times before i get my draft beer ... USD$1.25 for half a jug of draft beer :> Good place, good food, good price.

1 Dec 2008 - Enroute from Battambung  to Phnom Penh

0830 Taxi Battambang -> Phnom Penh
We got a recommendation from the tuk tuk driver for a taxi driver to phnom penh. Non-stop the trip took about 3.5 to 4 hours.

Watching what the cambodians can pile onto a lorry, trackor, motorbike and ox-cart along the road was very interesting

1230 Arrived at Phnom Penh
Check-in to The Pavilion which was a fantastically restored french colonial house ... very pretty and comfortable.


Lunch @ Freebird
- An american pub along St240 which was near our hotel. American chillis and sausages were a change after so many days of khmer curry and amok.

Not much of the afternoon left, so took a walk at the Russian Market and ended up buying a wood carving. Would have got both of them if the bigger piece was not so heavy :>

We asked around to find out the "market rate" of tuk tuk from our hotel (St 19) to the Russian market. Was about USD$3 and probably USD$2 for near locations. The first Tuk Tuk we flagged quoted us USD$2. When we reached there, he wanted USD$2 per person. Refused to pay him USD$4 and just gave him USD$3 for a fair price.

Dinner @ FCC
- Pork Lion cultlet, Khmer lotus root salad, Chocolate Fudge cake, Apple and Pumpkin Strudel
I felt that FCC is pretty pricy and food is so-so. However, the desert was very very good especially the warm chocolate cake. Well, for its reputation, I guess we have to be there at least ONCE !

2 Dec 2008 - Around Phnom Penh

Royal Palace & Silver Pagoda
All guide books states that the Royal Palace opens at 0730am ... but had to wait till 0800hrs for opening. Cambodian time I guess :>

Walk along the river all the way to central market, stopping at some NGO shop for coffee. Every shop seems like NGO there.
Central Market is more traditional and sells more stuff like t-shirt and a lot of gems dealer in the middle.The central market has a more magnificent structure but I find stalls around the russian market more interesting.

Bayon Bakery at Street 128 has one of the most wonderful chicken puff and all other pastry to satisfy all sweet and savoury craving.

Lunch @ Indochine II
Had a seafood casarol (tangy, sour and mildly spiced) very good. Sock had her favourite sour soup with chicken.

Spend the rest of the afternoon lazing at the pool and having beer and more snack which we packed from Bayon Bakery.

Dinner @ Frizz Restaurant
We like the food and service here.
- Saik Moan Ang (charcoal grilled chicken),
- Banh Chao (Khmer crepes with coconut milk,peanut,chilli,mint,basil, lettuces, cucumber)
- Rice noodle salad, orange lassie, gin tonic.

3 Dec 2008 - Phnom Penh to Singapore

Wanted to visit Wat Botum where it houses a buddha relic. Gates were closed and looks like they were re-painting the place, so did not get to go in. Another quick visit to the Russian Market for all last minute shopping.

Back to the hotel, lunch at Frizz again and getting ready to go home

The taxi driver was early, so we got to the airport 3 hrs before our flight. Again he wanted USD$12, where all "known rates" and the visitor's guide says USD$10. We insisted and paid USD$10 in the end.

The airport check-in was so slow that after we cleared immigration, there was only about 30mins to the left. Relatively decent size duty free shop at the airport and a snack bar with sandwiches and hot noddles (USD$4) .... WOW!!

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Cambodia 2008
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Trip Information
23 Nov to 3 Dec 2008
Raymond & Sock Ling
11 days trip to Siem Reap, Battambang and Phnom Penh

Itinerary & Trip Blog
Day 1 & 2
(Angkor temples, Kampung Phluk flooded forest)

Day 3 & 4
(Angkor Temples, Kbal Speen, Banteay Srei)

Day 5 & 6
(Phnom Khluen, Koh Ker)

>> Day 7 to 11

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