We woke up and went for some great seven eleven breakfast. Took a cab to the train station and hoped on the 48 baht(2 dollar) train ride to Aranyaprathet 5:55am to 11:45am. It was a long ride and a little uncomfortable but it wasn’t that bad especially for the price. There was a lot of locals on the train and people transporting their trade goods. There was also a cooking family that would go back and forth selling pre-made meals, fruits and meat sticks, they had a little section on the train where they kept all their cooking stuff. At one point, some guys in uniforms started yelling at us and saying number one and pointing to the train cabin ahead of us. We figured this meant to leave, so we left and still haven’t figured out why.
When we got to Aranyaprathet, I had squeezed in a little nap on the train, thank god, so I was well witted I think. We took a tuk tuk to the border and in typical tuk tuk fashion he tried to bring us to a fake visa place where they over charge you for the Cambodian visa. We asked to just be brought to the crossing and he was angry with us. Once there we stamped out of Thailand and went to the Visa on arrival office of Cambodia in between the borders. It was 30 USD to get our visa, I had paid 38$ when I did it with the group. Im guessing our tour guide had an in, for a way to get more money out of the travel group. We then crossed into Cambodia and we tried to venture into Poipet, the town nearby but we were immediately stopped by 3-4 guys and told to go to the bus shuttle that brought us to the international bus terminal, the government operated one. They seemed very determined to stop us from going into town fearing for our safety saying that the mafia ran the town and that we’d get robbed if we went further. So fearing their warning and persistence, we decided to take the shuttle bus to the terminal, feeling I was getting scammed.
We were 10 tourists on the bus so at least there was enough of us for a shuttle and not have to take a taxi. Once we got there, it was empty no one there but 7 staff members. We had all committed so we were in it together and each paid 10$ for the shuttle which took us to Siem Reap, we asked and confirmed with them to take us to pub street in Siem Reap. The drive into Siem reap was nice and easy but once we got there, he brought us to a tuk tuk station outside of town, where we didn’t want to get out and said that we all asked and confirmed that we’d be dropped off at Pub street. We were lied to, right to all of our faces, multiple times. We made a deal with one of the tuk tuk drivers to do the sunrise at Angkor the next day for 15$ including our ride home that day. He wanted us to pay ahead of time. I haggled to pay for half that day and half the next day. It got me to start really thinking about how easily and how often they try to rip tourists off, and that they are thought and shown that this is acceptable behavior at a very young age. They see nothing wrong with screwing with us and not having any morality to not take advantage of us. I can’t believe people are raised this way, maybe it’s for survival but that leaves a very sour taste in tourist mouths. Not something to be taken as lightly as they do. Anyhow once we got into our hotel we napped, had a couple drinks and checked out the night market before calling it a night for an early rising the next day.
We woke up early for the Angkor sunrise. Our tuk tuk driver had sent someone in his stead after calling us friends and saying he wanted to be our driver…. There is no concept of loyalty and anyone says anything, no honor. Anyways we got on the sent tuk tuk and got to Angkor right after it would have been too dark to see it. It made for a different experience than I had because we were walking in the pitch darkness my first time and you couldn’t even see the approach, the difference 2 months can make in the sunrise. But it was still cool to re-see it’s amazing silhouette. The sun came up and again I was in awe at it’s amazing and mystical presence. We ventured into the temple and were able to go to the top and get the amazing view of the surrounding jungle and entrance, again in awe at the eeriness it provided with the endless view and mist shrouding the surroundings. It was surely a spectacle of it’s time in height and immensity in it’s prime 800 years ago.
We left after and went back to the hotel to sleep. We were exhausted from the day before. Went to a nice place for supper where I had a beef kroeng which was very good and went back for a rest after I was still very tired.
Woke up in the morning early enough and we went for breakfast, I had the Khmer eggs breakfast which was a pork Lok Lak with an egg on top, it was great again. Then walked around the old market after and found some paintings that we wanted to bring back home and saw the old market where they had a lot of different things here. It was a local market with food and spices. All the local fruits and vegetables, their oranges are actually green, they have 4 different types of eggplant and their apples also look different. I finally figured out what the random green vegetables in green curry were, they are eggplant.
After walking around a bit I headed to the cooking class which I did with a Hong Kongian girl named penny. She picked the seafood amok and I picked the beef Lok Lak with papaya salad. Turned out great, I used ketchup, chili sauce, ground green pepper, sugar, shrimp sauce for the seasoning of the beef and you cook it in garlic, onions and oil. You make a sauce on the side for it, which is hot chilis, pepper, fish sauce. It turned out amazing. The Papaya salad was great too, same basic ingredients. But you use honey and lime instead of shrimp sauce.
Later that night, headed to pub street for some dancing before going back home. We were up early the next day for our travel to koh chang back into Thailand, which cost us 13USD for a 12 hour day!
Stay awesome and follow your dreams!