Half the day was spent on the bus journey taking me from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. My guesthouse (Royal) booked me onto a local bus, with only 4 foreigners on the bus, with the rest of the seats packed with locals carying lots of barang-barang like food products. Sitting beside me was a pleasant Cambodian girl who offered me her sweet potato chips. It makes me feel rather ashamed that I didn’t bother to learn a word of Khmer or two to communicate with them, and to express my gratitude.
Between sleep and wake, I managed to take in the picture of the countryside, which involved fields upon fields of gold, with wooden houses on stilts lining the roadside, and the occasional heap of hay (okay, I don’t know what it is, it’s just yellow in colour) piled high. This is a totally new landscape, different from the green paid fields and concrete houses of Vietnam.
Arriving at Siem Reap was quite a shocking experience, because as the bus pulled into the ‘bus station’ (basically just a sandy open space), a swamp of Cambodians flocked to the bus and surrounded the bus. Was I thankful that the lady at the guesthouse called her affliate guesthouse in Siem Reap to pick me up!
Siem Reap is as ignoble as Phnom Penh, and what marks it as a town is probably the fact that the buildings here are made of concrete rather than wood. Also, Siem Reap is a tourist enclave, with bars, restaurants, guesthouses, supermarts etc. But well, it’s probably the safest town in the world with police guarding EVERY establishment with foreigners.
Some of the touristy restaurants in Siem Reap