We left the 4000 islands which were amazing- our first glance at them were slightly grim… When we first arrived we pulled up to a water buffalo and a small dirty beach and saw hardly any people but just a few decrepit little huts on stilts. We looked at each other with raised eyebrows and wondered how our next couple of days would go….(and this was after a 15 hour journey from Vientiane. It wasn’t until we found the perfect little bungalo with two hammocks side by side, just on the edge of the Mekong river (for $4 per night) that we settled into some calm little smiles and set up camp for a couple of nights.
Once we had a shower to wash away the inevitable muggy sweat, we were ready to find something yummy to eat! We dodged the dirty places with stray dogs but it turns out that every restaurant on the island was ant infested, dusty, and did have stray dogs anyways. Hahaha. Oh welll.
We met some really nice people and hung out with them on/off throughout our lazy days, as we grew more and more fond of the calm lazy island(s). The highlight I would say is when we rented these adorable little bikes for a dollar or two and went biking all the way to the end of the island, took the only bridge over to Don Khon (one of the other largely populated islands), and biked around. We ran into a few of the friends we met and biked together with them in search of two things. <<<I love that my entire day’s goal was to find a huge waterfall combined with the hope of seeing an Irriwaddy dolphin…>>> The waterfall, we found! The dolphins, we did not find. The waterfall is supposed to be the largest (in volume) in Southeast Asia. It was truly remarkable, and we were not expecting such a grandiose waterfall on such a small chill little island. But it only reminded us we were surrounded by the powerful Mekong river.
Despite our growing love for life on the island, it was time to move on. Largely dreading our bus ride to Siem Reap (we heard it was horrible), we purchased an overpriced (island-priced) ticket and waited for our boat to retrieve us at 8am yesterday morning.
We got back to shore around 8:15am and walked in the direction we thought our bus would find us. Once at the bus station we waited about a half an hour before we were sent back down the road (where we came from) to have our tickets “checked”. This really meant, a Cambodian man was waiting to try and rip us off in order to process our visas FOR us rather than us do it at the border. We opted to just do it at the border, which made him cranky and saved us a mere $2 each. hmm.
We FINALLY got on these mini buses and met like 5 more silly situations which took us to a tiny little border town (hilariously small) a mere 20 minutes away on slow bumpy roads. we could have WALKED. Once through the border we had to wait about 3 hours for a bus to come. grah. 8am until 12:30pm and we only made it 20 minutes from where we started!!!!!! so frustrating! but fun. We met some more people and laughed over the situation and played cards. It took another 12.5 hours from then to reach our destination of Siem Reap.
So here we are, writing you from Siem Reap! Today we took an elephant to the top of a hill and watched part of a sunset over Cambodia from one of the Angkor temples… but there were many people there so we decided to stroll down the hill before the crowd did!
Afterwards we went to the market and had some supper before returning to our hotel for a shower and sleep. We have an early morning tomorrow! 5am sunrise over the main Angkor Wat !
Lots of love! If we had time/internet power for pictures we would, but none tonight! xxoxoxox
Jess and Tristan