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Day 8 - Siem Reap to Phnom Penh and home

This was our last full day in Cambodia and most the day was spent travelling from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh.

We stopped first at the Naga Bridge for photos and we also tried a Palm Cake which is made from rice flour. The little cake has a custard type filling and is steamed. It was delicious.

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The next stop was a toilet break at a shop / restaurant overlooking a swampy area which may have been some type of sanctuary. There were meals available as well as snacks and souvenirs.

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The final stop was a lunch stop and visit to a spider market. The food was fairly basic - we had fried rice with pork - but nice and very cheap. After lunch the group wandered into the market where there was a lot of fruit for sale as well as fried crickets and spiders. The spiders are large and black and small children wander around with them in jars full of leaves and put them on people. They apparently ask first but I wasn't taking any chances and went back to the restaurant to wait. Several of the group had a spider wandering up an arm and Peter ended up with four or five on his upper body. Laurence took some photos but not everyone is comfortable with spiders so not putting photos in here.

From there we drove on to Phnom Penh, arriving at our hotel (the same hotel as our previous stay) a little after 4pm.

After relaxing in our room for a while, we took a tuk tuk to the river to have a look around. There is a lovely promenade along the river which runs a long way and there are restaurants and bars on the opposite side of the road. The local people come to the river and the parks and gardens near the King's Palace in the evenings for picnics, exercise and just to hang out. There are shrines where people come to make offerings and say prayers and street food stalls. It's a lively interesting scene.

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A local man approached us and asked if we would like to do a river cruise. It was $5US each and the boat was about to leave. We had been watching the boats out on the river so decided to go along.

The boat had two decks and most people sat at tables or on cushioned benches on the upper deck which was festooned with lights. Food, beer and soft drinks were also available. We chose a bench along the side, bought a couple of drinks and waited while the captain and crew rounded up a few more paying customers. There seemed to be a lot of monks.

Eventually they had enough passengers and we pulled away from the bank and began to move along the river. Even after dark it was still very hot but out on the river there was a pleasant breeze. The cruise lasted an hour or so and we cruised along both sides of the river looking at the lights.

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After the cruise we walked back to a restaurant / bar we had seen earlier where we had really good fried spring rolls and grilled pork chops with honey mustard sauce. Hardly traditional but very good. Also several beers.

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We caught a tuk tuk back to the hotel, had a drink in the bar and went to bed.

We had an afternoon flight on Sunday so got up early to visit the Russian Market for some last minute shopping. We took a tuk tuk from the hotel and he waited for us. We could easily have caught a different one back but we liked our driver. This was a more pleasant place to shop than the markets in Siem Reap; the stall holders were not aggressive and as long as we didn't ask for a price they generally left us to look. We probably should have bargained more but the prices were already so cheap it didn't seem important.

After the markets we went back to the hotel for a while and then caught the tuk tuk back to the river. We spent a couple of hours walking along the promenade and having lunch. It was just as busy as the previous night. Lots of Cambodians only have Sunday off work and children in primary and high school go to school Monday to Saturday. So there were lots of families out, visiting shrines for prayers, having picnics and generally enjoying themselves.

Cambodia has been an amazing place to visit. There is so much more to the country than the Angkor temples and it would have been good to have had more time to explore Phnom Penh, Battambang and Siem Reap and to visit some other parts of Cambodia. The people are very genuine and friendly and we felt welcomed everywhere (and not just because we were spending money). Because we travelled in the rainy season there were a lot less tourists, particularly in Siam Reap and the Angkor temples which was nice. But it was very hot and humid and we did have to consider the rain when making plans. We would definitely like to come back at some stage.

Posted by Gone Travelling 04:47

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