Enthusiastic Asia traveller, David Grainger, recalls a recent ride to the lustral temples of Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
The inspiration for an overland coach trip to Siem Reap in Cambodia wasn't to save our pennies, or even to reduce our carbon footprint, but simply to see a bit more of the countries we were visiting. Here's our photo log of the journey.
We escape the calm of the Hotel Continental Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) and take a quick cab to the offices of Sapaco where we have front seats booked for our trip to Phnom Penh, capital of Cambodia.
Soon we are on our way and are handed our survival pack of two cakes and a bottle of water. The driver struggles to escape the traffic of Saigon and then, avoiding suicidal cows, presses on towards the border. Meanwhile there are back-to-back Bruce Lee DVD's playing on the overhead TV as a diversion from views of the passing countryside.
The No. 2 on board sorts out all the paperwork for visas at the Cambodian border and ensures we are through in no time at all - or 45 minutes if you are counting. A lunch stop just inside Cambodia and then off towards Phnom Penh. The No. 3 on board lights joss sticks and says an earnest prayer for a safe onward journey.
A short ferry ride across the Mekong River.
And then after seven hours on the road we arrive in the outskirts of Phnom Penh where Sapaco tuk-tuk drivers are waiting to take us to our hotel. Fortunately for us, it is the luxury of the Blue Lime, a boutique hotel situated up a quiet cul-de-sac just behind the National Museum.
After three days of sight-seeing we are off again, this time on the Mekong Express to Siem Reap. All the staff wave us goodbye and this time the No. 2 on board gives us a running commentary in excellent English on the towns and districts we pass through. The bus is Japanese stock - not straight off the production line but comfortable nonetheless. And our survival pack is ... two cakes and a bottle of water.
One lunch stop and six hours later we are met by a tuk-tuk driver waving a sign for the wonderful Golden Banana Boutique Resort Hotel in Siem Reap.
After a comfortable night's sleep the temples of Angkor await!
Well, 13 hours on the road was a long haul, but it allowed us to see glimpses of countryside that you would not see at 30,000 feet - houses on stilts, scenes of rural and village life and the great sweep of the Mekong, sparkling lustrally in the sunshine - highly recommended!
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