OffTheTrack

Travel time: October 2006 - July 2009  |  by Florian Mueller

Cambodia 23.02.08 - 22.03.08: Over the bumpy roads to Siam Reap, Tempel

We woke up in our base at 9am next to the Cambodian boarder and had to hurry up because our Visa will expire at 11.30am. Our Crew applied for the visa with help from some volunteers, but we had to pay our "free" service. It was 4 Euros per person on top. Doesn't matter it was just the beginning. Maybe this is the only boarder which we can cross on top of the car.

Before we could get our car out of Thailand we had to leave the country first. But the car was still in Thailand and we weren't allowed to go back. So after a long seesaw with the custom officers, one of us could go back to Thailand and pick up the car. A gaggle of begging children surrounded us in the no mans land. For our surprise one of them, he was not even 10 years old, was carrying a small baby. Hillary gave them balloons instead of money and they were over happy.

The difference between Thailand and here was huge. Sometimes we weren't able to see the streets because of all the potholes. Poorness and pollution everywhere and then we had to get used to drive on the right lane (like Germany). It's perfect to have a four-wheel-drive because there were a lot of cars which were broken down. And the rule is: "Bigger cars first!"

It's normal here to drive with the hole family on a moped (3-4 persons or a few monks), like Thailand.

We jolted down the street to Siam Reap and stopped over in a small city to eat and change our money. Nobody had a glue about the exchange rate and hopefully they won't cheat us. It's funny that they have two currencies here. The official Riel (1 Euro = 6000 Riel) and the unofficial US Dollar (1 Euro = 1,52 US$). The US$ is more common than their own currency. Later we met another world traveler on the way. He rode his motorbike from Romania to Cambodia. We had a chat about our experience and plans.

The streets became better as closer we came to Siam Reap. When we arrived, we found a accommodation (Family Guesthouse). A couple that we met on the street recommended this place. It was cheap, (6US $ for double room and an extra mattress) clean and the stuff was really nice. The best was our roof top bar.

Sadly we had to leave our guns, grenades and drugs in our car, because those are prohibited in the hotel.

We had fun without those things, too. For example while playing a Canadian drinking game called "Ring on Fire".

It was worth to have a look in the floating village near Siam Reap. There is a whole city floating on a big lake, even with a school, fish- and crocodile farm, bar and everything that is necessary. The residents are living in shads which were build on boats. Some children used trays to reach the other houses.

They are poor also. Here is a begging child with a constrictor snake. But she looks happy, anyway.

On the next day we went to a huge temple complex (Angkor). There were a lot of temples. Massive ones with a base area up to 3 kmĀ² or really small ones with only one cognizable stone. To move into the biggest temple we had to drive through a ancient gate of stone that is about 15m high.

It was absolutely interesting to explore the temple. Sometimes a bit dangerous.

We were looking for the mysterious relict in the footprints of Tomb Raider. Honestly we were just looking for Lara Craft running around with hot pants, two guns and a sweaty shirt.

The most famous temple is Angkor Wat which is also on the national flag of Cambodia.

For today we were the monarchs of the old temple. We just had to survive to climb the steep and dangerous stairs.

The nature almost won the fight against the temple on a few spots. There are gargantuan trees growing on the roofs. This temple was our favourite. Our motto: Back to the roots

The temple looks pretty with our car (Queen), so she couldn't deny to act in a hot pose.

Fed up of temples we went back to our favorite street restaurant which offers all meals for only 1 US$. It's hard to decide what you want. Rice or Noodles???

It was sad to leave our guesthouse and the stuff. You could almost call us a family, we even got an invitation for a Cambodian wedding. We are proud to be in Cambodia. Andreas and Florian lost their heart to Cambodia and the people there.

© Florian Mueller, 2008
You are here : Overview Asia Cambodia Over the bumpy roads to Siam Reap, Tempel
The trip
 
Description:
Let's cross the half world to drive home from Singapore to Germany
Details:
Start of journey: Oct 02, 2006
Duration: 33 months
End of journey: July 2009
Travelled countries: Germany
Singapore
Indonesia
Malaysia
Thailand
Cambodia
Vietnam
The Author
 
Florian Mueller is an active author on break-fresh-ground. since 13 years.