Category Archives: CAMBODIA

PHNOM PENH, KOMPONG THOM, AND BACK TO SIEM REAP

After I returned from the snorkel trip to Long Beach, I wanted to go back and spend a night there. But I wasn’t sure how much time it would take to visit Virachey National Park in NE Cambodia? So I leave Koh Rong, before I really wanted to.
On the boat trip back, I sit next to a funny women from Austria. They need to get to the airport, so have reserved a taxi. I ask if I can join them, but they fill the taxi. The bus to Phnom Penh is $9, a taxi split 3 ways is $15, OK. I meet another couple that needs a taxi to the airport, so I decide to go with them.

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PHOTOS FROM THE CAR CAN BE INTERESTING
We drop off the couple at the airport, it’s another 1/2 hour to my hotel.
I’ve saved my souvenir shopping for Phnom Penh, rumor says the market there is really good. While riding the Tuk Tuk, I notice a sushi buffet restaurant, walking distance from my hotel.

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ALL YOU CAN EAT SUSHI AND I ORDER A SOUP BASE FOR THE STEEL POT WHERE YOU CAN ADD: FRESH NOODLES, VEGIES AND MEATS THAT CIRCLE ON THE CONVEYER BELT
There was a soda/juice bar, some asian dishes and a desert bar. I’m stuffed, all for $8.90 (Cambodia uses the dollar).
I stop by the mall just to look around.

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ASIAN WOMEN LOVE SHOES WITH “TALLER” SOLES
Riding around in the Tuk Tuk allows you to observe and photograph daily life.

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THIS IS THE FIRST MILITARY PRESENCE I’VE SEEN
I always associated the Cyclo with Vietnam, but there are still a few in Phnom Penh. They were all wearing T-shirts espousing no-smoking?

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CYCLOS NOW SEEM MORE LIKE A TOURIST ATTRACTION THAN THE LEGITIMATE TRANSPORTATION OPTION, THAT THEY ONCE WERE.

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I LOVE SEEING THE BICYCLE STILL BEING USED AS A LEGITIMATE FORM OF COMMERCE
Cambodia and SE Asia are experiencing the same disparity in incomes as America is. On one hand you have fruit delivered by bicycle.

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THEN YOU SEE TOYOTA LAND CRUISERS DRIVING AROUND
So I’m strategizing (planning) my trip to VIRACHEY NATIONAL PARK. The book says there’s great hikes, jungle, wildlife and water falls. I was hoping to loop back to Siem Reap, except there’s no road. It’s nearly 2 days of busing, basically up and back to Phnom Penh. I hate spending my vacation on the bus, so I opt for doing a smaller loop, around TONIE SAP LAKE, it’s the largest freshwater lake in SE Asia and has a UNESCO designation of great importance.
I have one more day in Phnom Penh, shopping and

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YEP, ANOTHER FOOT MASSAGE, THIS TIME BY A BLIND MASSEUSE
My bus doesn’t leave till the afternoon, so I head back to the RUSSIAN MARKET, for something I saw for Natasa and I. I will be posting a blog about the many things I bought in SE Asia. I met a couple who were so proud they hadn’t bought anything? They were enjoying their country, taking photos and enjoying their “safe” travel, if I can help some locals by buying a few souvenirs, it’s OK, I’m happy to do it.
The NATIONAL MUSEUM is only 1 block from my hotel, I have to go.

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THIS IS THE ONLY PHOTO YOUR ALLOWED TO TAKE INSIDE

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UNLESS YOUR QUICK!
Prostitution is legal in Cambodia, the Tuk Tuk drivers were always asking if I wanted “Boom Boom.”

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THIS WAS THE ONLY SIGN I SAW THAT HINTED SOMETHING WAS GOING ON INSIDE
My bus is here to take me to the Big Bus, bus station. You never know when your going to get a pee break.

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THIS IS A FIRST, PINEAPPLE USED AS A FRESHENER
Back home I got a $100 ticket for talking on the cellphone while driving

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WHETHER YOUR DRIVING A MOTORCYCLE, CAR OR OUR BUS, EVERYONE IS TALKING AND DRIVING..
I try taking photos out the bus window, like the following shots:

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THIS CAR BLOCKED ONE LANE OF A TWO LANE ROAD, OVERLOADED WITH WOOD, THE WHOLE AXEL CAME OUT. (where’s the tow truck?)
The road is being worked on (everywhere constantly) and there’s a 2-3 ft. drop off. It took 5 hours to go 160km (100 miles).

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YOU HAVE TO BE CAREFUL NOT TO GET TOO CLOSE TO THE EDGE, OR ELSE
The road is only partially paved, it’s mostly dirt, they’re getting ready to pave it, when? That’s a good question.

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THIS IS A DUSTY LIFE UNTIL IT’S PAVED.
I decided to stop half the way to Siem Reap at Kompong Thom. It’s famous for having the oldest temples in Cambodia. I talk with the local Tuk Tuk driver, he informs me that the main road is closed (surprised? no). The good part is the alternative road goes through the country and small villages. I have no interest in the temples, but the country drive seems intriguing.

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THE COUNTRYSIDE WAS BEAUTIFUL, WITH VERY LITTLE TRAFFIC (DUST)
I’m glad I came on this “tour”, there is so much going on, “in the middle of nowhere”

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NEARLY EVERY HOUSE WE PASSED HAD A COUPLE COWS IN THE YARD

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THE ROAD WAS FREQUENTLY BLOCKED BY WANDERING COWS
We get to the SAMBOR PREI KUK TEMPLES, lame just as I suspected. But I hire a tour guide for $5 so I don’t miss a thing. Plus he wants another $1 for the community, “to pick up garbage.” I said “I don’t mind paying the extra $1, but there’s garbage everywhere.”
The ride back is more interesting, as I suspected it would be.

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THIS IS “BEST” PHOTO IN CAMBODIA, FOR SURE
It’s amazing how much you can do with just a motorcycle and the desire to work, they’re hauling mattresses.

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THEY ENJOYED ME TAKING THEIR PHOTO, THEY WERE LAUGHING AND WAVING
I’m finally back in town and head to the hotel with the pool.

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I’M KICKING POOLSIDE WITH FILET OF FISH, A PAPAYA SALAD AND PINEAPPLE JUICE, LIVING THE DREAM!
I’m “home” watching the TV news and their showing an accident

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WITH BODIES, THEY SHOWED IT OVER AND OVER
My hair is getting pretty long and in Europe it’s $15 for a haircut, here $2.

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I GOT THE EYEBROWS AND NOSE HAIRS CUT TOO, $1 TIP
The bus is over an hour late (normal) so I wander over and take this photo.

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It’s been a long couple of weeks exploring Cambodia. but I’m back where I started Siem Reap. Heading to my favorite guest house BAYON SHADOW GUEST HOUSE, AC, WiFi, pool and free breakfast.

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EVEN THE BATTH TOWELS ARE MADE TO MAKE YOU FEEL WELCOMED
I do some last minute shopping, eat some frozen yogurt and one more massage. I’m ready to get back to Bangkok and eventually Slovenia.
I’m feeling like an old pro at this travel stuff, I should it’s been 11 months. No, I’m not writing a book, in case your wondering.
I did for the fun of it, not the money.
Thanks for reading and commenting (that includes you)
Jeff
Next? back in Bangkok-(worlds biggest market) and back in Slovenia.
CAMBODIAN PHOTOS

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SIHANOUKVILLE, KOH RONG ISLAND AND “NO WATER!”

I’m taking my bed bug bites and heading to the beach. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know Cambodia even had a beach, I do now, I’m going there! Another 10 hour bus ride to SIHANOUKVILLE.
There are several islands to choose from, I pick KOH RONG.

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I TAKE THE 40 MIN. FAST BOAT vs THE 2.5 HR FERRY.
As burned out on travel as I am, I’m still good at it. Cambodia is similar to many of the other asian countries. The tourist sites here are well developed with a wide range of restaurants and accommodation.

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THIS IS THE VIEW OF THE FERRY DOCK, A FEW STEPS FROM MY BUNGALOW
This is truly a car-free island, it’s great, no motorcycles, no tuk tuks.

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THIS IS “MAIN” STREET, PUSHING GOODS ALONG THE BEACH TAKES 5 PEOPLE, IT’S ACTUALLY DIFFICULT TO JUST WALK IN THE FINE WHITE SAND
I eat at THE PARADISE, where i’m staying. I have a super meal while talking with Natasa via Skype. She wants me to send her a photo, OKI

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A ROMANTIC DINNER FOR ONE
KOH RONG is a typical tourist beach resort, that includes house music till 2am.

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THIS IS THE THEME OF MANY BEACH RESORTS IN SE ASIA
I laid on the beach (which I rarely do), to dry up my bed bug bites.

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THIS WAS ON THE BACK OF A BATHROOM DOOR
I’ve always heard that water would be the next war. Being from the “WET” Pacific Northwest, I really didn’t get it. But, now I’m on an island, during the dry season. I got a bungalow with shower and toilet, but no water.
I couldn’t flush my toilet, take a shower or just wash my face. There’s a bucket for a water stash in the bathroom. We got water for an hour, I quickly flushed the toilet and fill my stash bucket for flushing later! Not enough water for a shower though. Development and resources on the island were not in sinc. I saw the guy next door managing his water storage tank several times a day. I asked him if I could take a shower, “sure”, “just don’t tell anyone!”
I got my hotel to give me a bottle of water, so I could brush my teeth.
Next time you hear, drought or water shortage- it’s real and complicates many of the things we take for granted.
I am a tourist, so I sign-up for a snorkel boat trip, with lunch and fishing, all for $12. I didn’t catch any fish or did anyone else on the tour.

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LUCKILY THE BOAT CAPTAIN KNEW HOW TO CATCH-EM and BBQ-EM!
It was all the beer and soda you could drink.

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I MADE A BBQ FISH SANDWICH WITH VEGETABLES, MMM
The boat had a low draft, so we had to swim to shore to watch the sunset, hence no camera or photos. If I ever came back I would stay on this side of the island. LONG BEACH is gorgeous with simple, uncrowded accommodations. I’m so done with house music till 2am, this beach is a “I’ll be back for sure.”
The bar, next to my place, had a chalk board where you could mark the country where your from if you bought thier special drink.

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YEP, SLOVENIA WAS LISTED
THANKS FOR READING AND COMMENTING
JEFF
NEXT? PHNOM PENH, KOMPONG THOM, AND BACK TO SIEM REAP
CAMBODIA PHOTOS

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BATTAMBANG BIKING, BEDBUGS AND BAMBOO TRAIN

Siem Reap was a cute town, with some interesting history with Angkor Wat.
I only have 3 1/2 weeks in Cambodia and I don’t want to spend it on the bus. But, the roads are so bad it takes forever to get anywhere. The closest town to Siem Reap is BATTAMBANG. So I take the 5 hour, 161 km (100 miles) bus ride.
The Tuk Tuk drivers are waiting at the bus station, to take you to their favorite hotel. I’m starting to opt for Air Conditioning and a pool, but not over $20. I stay at the hotel they suggest, SENG HOUT HOTEL, it has everything I want and MORE!
I decide to walk around a little and explore the town. First thing I see is a guy with no clothes, walking around aimlessly. There seems to be no real government sponsored social services, obviously.

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I SPOT THIS BICYCLE AND TAKE THIS PHOTO, THEN REALIZE IT’S A BICYCLE TOUR COMPANY, (I’ll be back in the morning)
I said the hotel had everything I wanted and More!

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I WAS EATEN ALIVE BY BED BUGS
They don’t hurt or itch, so I decide to do a bike tour. I negotiate an all day tour with bike and guide, $25.

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“GOOD HYGIENE PRACTICE” this is a welcome sign after being sick multiple times in Myanmar.
Were riding our bikes and I notice this bike

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A BANANA TREE STRAPPED TO THE BIKE AND READY TO PLANT (the gentleman had his hand out for a “donation”, NO)
We visit the local Muslim neighborhood market, everyone was very friendly. I bought some fruit and took some interesting photos.

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REFRIGERATION IS IN SHORT SUPPLY, SO DELIVERED BLOCKS OF ICE NEED TO BE CUT TO SIZE
I got the feeling that some areas of Cambodia were still newly explored.

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TAKING PHOTOS REALLY BRINGS OUT PEOPLE’S FRIENDLINESS MORE PHOTOS
We stop by a business that cooks sticky rice with black beans inside bamboo. I bought a couple, but should have bought more, very good!

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THE BAMBOO IS FILLED AND COOKED NEXT TO THE OPEN FIRE

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THEY MUST SCRAP OFF THE BURNT BAMBOO BEFORE THEY SELL THEM
The bike gives you a very street and people perspective of daily life.

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NEED SOME KITCHEN UTENSILS?
American images can be found on many many items

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AMERICAN FLAG FLIP FLOPS, THE SHOE OF CHOICE IN SE ASIA
The KHMER ROUGE left a huge imprint on Cambodian history. Mainly in power from 1975-79. It’s some interesting history, that again involves the U.S. (surprised?). I found THIS ARTICLE that gives a short but detailed history of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia (highly recommended).

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THIS IS A TEMPLE THAT WAS USED AS A PRISON DURING THE KHMER ROUGE OCCUPATION My guide said it’s closed because of the smell, of death. Behind the temple is a memorial to some of the deceased and reliefs portraying life under the Khmer Rouge.

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THIS IS A DISPLAY OF SKULL AND BONES OF PEOPLE KILLED BY THE KHMER ROUGE. THE MEMORIAL WAS PARTIALLY PAID FOR BY THE U.S.
All the reliefs were equally disturbing. There was one relief that really caught my attention,

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THE KHMER ROUGE CONFISCATES ALL THE PEOPLES BICYCLES!
They were intent on taking away any and all freedoms. Check out the PHOTOS for more reliefs.
The bike tour rocks, of course. We visit the fish market, their unloading the days catch and

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KIDS DE-BONING SMALL FISH TO MAKE FISH PASTE
We enter a neighborhood where many households make the rice paper used for making salad rolls and spring rolls.

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RICE HULLS ARE USED TO COOK THE RICE PAPER
We visit one of the many temples.

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ONE OF THE BEST SMILES IN CAMBODIA
My bike guide suggest we visit the alligator farm, I tell him we can skip it,he insist

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THEY SELL THE ALLIGATORS TO CHINA
I suggest we make a loop out of the ride, instead of up and back.

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WERE LOST ON THE BACKROADS AND FINALLY OPT FOR TAKING THE SAME WAY BACK
I mention I would like to ride the Bamboo Train. I wait till someone else shows up so we can car-pool.

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I CAR POOL WITH THIS DUTCH GUY
At the end of the ride are the super sellkids

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I THOUGHT WE WERE GOING TO EXPLORE THE VILLAGE, NO, “PLEASE BUY SOMETHING”

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THERE WAS THE OCCASIONAL COW ON THE TRACKS
It’s just one track for trains going in both directions, so they take the train apart so you can continue. I made a VIDEO of the train ride.
We stop at a temple on the way back.

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THERE’S A STORY BEHIND IT, BUT I FORGOT,(just enjoy the photo)

I caught this image of “how to get stuff to the 3rd floor”

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HE WALKS A LONG WAYS TO GET THOSE BRICKS TO THE THIRD FLOOR
Lots of people wear respirator masks, I’m not sure which is more hazardous to your health:

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WHICH IS WORSE, THE DIRTY AIR OR RIDING WITHOUT A HELMET?JUST WONDERING.
Many of the roads in SE Asia are just barely big enough for 2 way traffic. The bicycles and pedestrians aren’t really considered.

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THEY’VE ADDED A NICE PAVED SHOULDER FOR BIKES, I WAS LITTLE SHOCKED.
THANKS FOR READING AND COMMENTING
JEFF
NEXT? SIHANOUKVILLE, KOH RONG ISLAND AND “NO WATER!”
MORE CAMBODIAN PHOTOS HERE

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CAMBODIA FOR ONLY $10

The month in Myanmar was tough travel. I decided to spend some recovery time and evaluate my travel readiness. So I stayed in Bangkok to recover from my last sickness and visit the hospital about my butt rash. I’ve been to every Asian country, some several times, except Cambodia. From Bangkok a bus to Siem Reap, Cambodia is only $10. I was feeling better, so I thought I could do it.

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WE CHANGED BUSES 4 TIMES, THIS WAS THE “PATH” ACROSS THE BORDER
I didn’t know much about CAMBODIA except that’s where Unesco’s Angkor Wat is.

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THE BORDER CROSSING WAS QUITE CHAOTIC
The bus stopped a restaurant to grab a bite and use the bathroom.

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TAKING A PEE WITH A “VIEW”
I’m going to visit ANGKOR WAT, first. The guide book suggest renting a bicycle.

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I OPT FOR THE TUK TUK, I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE
I talked with several cyclist, they’re taking the Tuk Tuk tomorrow.

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AFTER ANGKOR WAT WAS PARTIALLY ABANDONED IN 1600, THE JUNGLE TOOK OVER
Almost as interesting as the temples? The hordes of Japanese and Chinese tourist.

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I’M NOT SURE IF THE DIGITAL CAMERA WAS A CURSE OR A BLESSING?
I had a great (English speaking) Tuk Tuk driver.

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MR. SKIPPY

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One of the more interesting temples was the BAYON TEMPLES

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The movie TOMB RAIDER starring Angeline Jolene was filmed here.

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IT WAS THE MOST CROWDED SITE, I THINK THE MOVIE SITE WAS A BIGGER DRAW THAN THE ACTUAL TEMPLES
Part of the preservation of the temples are some re-constructions.

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SOMEONE HAS ALREADY VANDALIZED THE RE-CONSTRUCTIONS, UN-BELIEVABLE (notice the missing nose)
I asked someone what happen to all the missing heads? “they’re in Thailand.”
The most well preserved and crowded temple was the ANGKOR WAT TEMPLE. It was surrounded by a mot, so the jungle wasn’t able to swallow it up like the other temples.
Their were monkeys hanging around entertaining the tourist (sorry no photos). I met a cyclist while walking, told her I wish I had ridden.

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YET SHE DIDN’T NEED MUCH CONVINCING TO ACCEPT A RIDE BACK TO TOWN WITH HER BIKE
Doesn’t matter the age, everyone is expected to help the with the family needs. I captured this scene while leaving the temples

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CHILDREN GATHERING FIREWOOD FOR THE FAMILY TO COOK WITH
I fell in love with SIEM REAP. I started and eventually ended my Cambodian trip here.

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NIGHTLIFE CENTERED AROUND PUB STREET (touristy, but hey I’m a tourist)

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HOUR FOOT MASSAGES $4
I stayed at the BAYON SHADOW GUEST HOUSE. What a great place, wifi, free breakfast, access to the swimming pool , GREAT restaurant.

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“SUMMER” WAS COMING AND THE POOL WAS A WELCOME RELIEF (so was the room Air Conditioning)

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THE BAYON BREAKFAST WAS GOOD, BUT MADE BETTER WITH MY HOMEMADE FRUIT SALAD OF DRAGON FRUIT, BANANA, WATERMELON AND YOGURT
Keeping it true to the name, Jeffs Bike Tour. I rented a bike for $2 a day

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SHORT RIDE FROM “TOWN”

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THE INFRASTRUCTURE CAN BE A LITTLE CONFUSING AT TIMES

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“GET ON YOUR BIKES AND RIDE”
Sorry this took so long to post, but again, adventure travel is work. I couldn’t find the 6-7 hour window to do a post.
Thanks for reading and commenting
Jeff
MY PHOTOS
NEXT? BATTAMBANG BIKING, BEDBUGS AND BAMBOO TRAIN

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