The bus we took to Battambang should have taken us 7 hours, it ended up taking us close to 16 hours to get there! The bus driver must have had deals with every service spot on the route to Battambang because he was stopping every hour! We arrived at around 11pm and when we got to our hotel they had booked over our booking. Nothing goes smoothly for us does it!
We decided for our last few days to chill out and stay in a private room, it was only $3 each which is cheaper than a hostel! Battambang isn’t really a hostel type place, there are more old hotels and guest houses than hostels and it certainly isn’t the place for loud pubs and bars.
The hotel we were supposed to stay at called another hotel down the road and they out us up for the night. We were hungry and tired so we really didn’t care, and deciding that there wasn’t any food anywhere close we decided to hit the hay and figure everything out tomorrow.
We hired a Tuk Tuk for the afternoon the next day for around $9 each. He took us to a winery, where we tasted wine, brandy, grace juice and ginger juice.
We then went to the Bamboo train, which unfortunately has been commercialised after someone fell off a bridge on one recently. The experience was still very fun though. At the end of the track, before we went back, in a miscommunication we ended up climbing up some rocks and going down a dark, small hole in the wall to go into a cave. We followed a group of Cambodians inside to reach a wall at the end. They all started taking photos and marvelling and what looked to me like a stone wall, much the same as the rest of the cave. They explained to me that it was some form of sacred spot, it definitely didn’t look like one I might add. We finally made our way back to the bamboo train and went back the way we had come. The man driving us made the other Cambodian girls sit behind us, and when we insisted they sat at the front to get a better view instead of us, they sheepishly declined. It was a strange feeling to be put in this decision, because as much as I said to both them and the driver that we should swap because we say there before, they wouldn’t listen and wouldn’t move.
The last stop was the bat cave and killing cave. We walked up a very long hill to find the killing cave, where there were many shrines of gods. One of them fit the whole length of a prayer room! In the Khmer Rouge regime they used to throw people off the top of the cave, and pile the bodies up below in the mouth of the cave. Now it is a very sacred place and you can find many locals praying there and monks walking around praying and blessing people.
We found a nice little bar called Bar Ang, owned by a Canadian man who is a lovely host and always keeps your beer glass full!
We chilled out for a few days, going around the city. On one of these days we decided to go for a bit of a girly day. Jayde wanted her nails painted…. she ended up getting her hair died. She asked for a few blonde highlights and when I saw her, her whole head was orange. Not wanting to go out looking like an urangutan, they put some more lotions on it and it turned out bright blonde. I was trying to hold back my horror as Jayde stared at me in dismay.
Meanwhile, I had asked for a facial massage. I had enjoyed the one I got last time and decided to go for another try. The girl washed cold water over my head and hair so many times that by the end of it, in 35 degree heat, I was freezing cold. She pulled my hair around and tickled my chin and actually didn’t do any massaging at all. I guess these women must just be pretty tough women because I definitely didn’t find it relaxing!
I decided that I quite liked Jayde’s hair after a while but she didn’t believe me and I had to agree that it isn’t a desirable colour of hair to have. So the next day we went off to the markets to find some hair dye to cover it up. Whilst many women on the market stalls refused to help and just laughed, we finally found some purple hair dye and fixed her hair.
Phare Ponleu Selpak circus
This is not only a school but a performance as well. The school teaches all ages and they are a non profit organisation. They use donations to help students and their families who no longer can perform. The girls do traditional dance and the boys acrobatics. There are no animals involved at all which is perfect! The show is amazing and only $14. It isn’t perfect and they do make mistakes but that is what makes it all the better, because you can see that they are learning.
The Ancient house is one of a few houses in Wat Kor village. They were inhabited by the Khmer Rouge during the regime and the owners of the house take you round and explain about the history of the house and the area. A lot of the families either only live below the house now or do not live there at all due to the memories of their families being killed by the regime.
Our time in Cambodia was coming to an end, and so we took our dirty feet back to Phnom Penh on our last Long and hot bus ride, to take our plane home to surprise our families!