We had an early-ish bus to get us to Kratie but not too early so we were able to have breakfast at the guesthouse before we left. Walking down to our pick up point, the usual gaggle of TukTuk drivers were there with one even offering to drive us if the bus didn’t show up! Fortunately, the transfer mini van showed up and we jumped in. Headed off to a couple of other guesthouses and hostels to pick up other passengers. Before we knew it, the minibus was so full that the company porter had to sit in the boot with all our backpacks. It wasn’t a long drive to the bus station where we then all transferred to different buses. Getting on our Sorya bus was easy enough – the destination was printed in large on the window. Sat behind 2 women – an Irish and an Australian – who had met in Vietnam and were now travelling together. Chatted a little to them until, as we started driving, the music video was turned up to such a loud volume that nothing could be heard between us so we settled in for eight hours of dodgy and loud Cambodian music.
Stopped a couple of times en route for toilet stops and food breaks but we stuck to the safe food options… Mainly because the lunch stop had massive piles of fried insects, including cockroaches and tarantulas! We ate a very sickly bread roll muffin type thing. I think it had been made with condensed milk which is why it was so sweet. We also managed to find some Kralan which is a traditional Cambodian savoury snack. It consists of sticky rice cooked in coconut milk, with black eyed peas or beans stuffed inside a bamboo cane. It is then steamed for hours. It was actually surprisingly nice. We shared one cane which worked out well – it is incredibly filling! The rest of the journey was spent watching episodes of ‘The Inbetweeners’. We had tried to watch ‘Dexter’ or ‘Game of Thrones’ but the music on the bus made it too difficult to concentrate on the complicated story lines.
Arriving in Kratie, we had the usual routine of TukTuk drivers running next to the bus to get the tourists business. Our guesthouse was just around the corner from the bus stop but it didn’t stop one TukTuk driver from following us there in an attempt to get business from us for tomorrow. It might have worked except, as we tried to check in, he kept hassling us and became a bit creepy. The young man in the guesthouse kept telling us that ‘it wasn’t open until next year’ at which point I started getting annoyed, especially as I had been emailing back and forth with someone as I had originally booked the wrong dates. I have a feeling he was trying to get us to change to a family or friends guesthouse rather than the one he worked in. After a quick phone call to his boss it finally got sorted and we had a room – dropped our bags inside and went for a walk, to be followed by the fore-mentioned TukTuk driver… Losing all patience, Jayne told him to stop following us and we continued walking up the riverside watching the sunset in peace. We went and bought bus tickets to Kampot for two days time (which, we realised later, we had been overcharged for… Scambodia indeed!!). Headed back to our guesthouse restaurant for dinner and met an American couple who are doing a similar trip to us for just under 6 months. We swapped tips and travel destinations over dinner and agreed to met up again tomorrow for dinner. After a small walk down to the river, we saw energetic aerobic classes next to the ice cream trucks. We skipped the exercise and went straight for the ice cream! Back at base we had a shower and climbed into bed to find that the mattress was so thin it was practically non existent! I was so tired that I pretty much passed out immediately although it took Jayne a lot longer to fall asleep. Thursday 6th October 2016