From Siem Reap to Phnom Penh to Battambang to Bangkok.
Sunday 10 December 2006 - Tuesday 19 December 2006
Sunday 10 December - A good drive on a decent road from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh. The afternoon was free.
Local brick works.
The Mekong River.
River side houses.
Monday 11 December - A trip to S21 (Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum). This was a former high school that was turned into the Khmer Rouge's prison and torture centre. It is a very sobering place as it has photos of thousands of the victims on the walls, and lots of skulls displayed.
The outside of Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum.
Then out to Choeung Ek, site of mass graves from prisoners of S21. There is a stupa in the centre and it contains over 5000 skulls. It is very disturbing wandering around the place as there are bones everywhere and in some places you cannot help but walk on them. I felt very uncomfortable doing that so kept away from the mass graves.
River side houses.
The stupa at Choeung Ek.
Tuesday 12 - Saturday 16 December - I decided that I would stay in Phnom Penh whilst everyone else went to Sihanoukville and to the beach. I needed some time to myself away from the group. I arranged with the hotel to stay for four more nights but had to move down from the fourth floor to the third floor. The time was spent relaxing and visiting a few places including the Russian Market, Palace etc.
A stupa in central Phnom Penh.
A memorial to a former king.
Part of the royal palace.
Part of the royal palace.
Monks outside the royal palace.
The royal palace in Phnom Penh.
River craft in Phnom Penh.
Life on the Mekong River.
Sunday 17 December - A fun start to the day. I was woken at 4:30 am by the sound of breaking glass and by noise of people in the corridor. No fire alarm or sprinklers. I was told that the fourth floor was on fire and to get out. I broke all the rules and grabbed my all stuff and got out okay. The only things I left behind were some toiletries and my alarm clock.
I then watched the fire crews in action from the next door. I totally forgot to take any photos of the action. As far as I am aware, no one was hurt and they had the fire under control reasonably quickly. I then waded through all the water to go back into the hotel to given them my room key and check out.
I then caught the 7:30 am bus to Battambang. This was a very fast ride as the driver obviously had to be somewhere else. I met the group at hotel and relayed my adventures. Dinner was at a riverside bar.
Monday 18 December - I rode up front for the drive from Battambang to the border at Poipet. You a get a great view from the cab. We crossed into Thailand with minimum fuss and went back to the same rough camp we had used a week earlier. After a lazy afternoon, we had a BBQ for dinner. Christmas presents were handed out and the party commenced.
The main road towards Thailand.
Monks on the main road.
Coming into Poipet.
Traders at Poipet.
Andy getting ready for then Christmas party!
Tuesday 19 December - A late start due to sore heads and we had a leisurely drive into Bangkok. Our hotel was right in centre of the city, just off Sukhamvit Road. There was a free afternoon once all the stuff had been removed off the truck. Our final dinner, photos and speeches was held at the Cabbages and Condoms restaurant on Soi 12. Excellent if somewhat expensive.
In all it was a great trip. The group was good with no dickheads spoiling it for the others. There were 20 passengers on my leg of the trip, 10 men and 10 women. There were 13 British, 3 Kiwis, 2 Irish, 1 Dane and 1 American.
The trip actually started in June from Istanbul and went as follows:
Istanbul - Damascus - Cairo - Aswan - Back up to Turkey - Tehran in Iran - fly to Mumbai in India - Rajasthan - Kathmandu - Lhasa in Tibet - Xi'an - Beijing and then as per my trip.
Five of the passengers did the whole trip, i.e. Istanbul to Bangkok. Another group started in Kathmandu and finished in either Beijing or Bangkok, whilst seven of us picked it up in Beijing for the final leg. As far as I can remember, there were about 40 passengers on the whole trip, starting and finishing at different points.
The truck was well set up for the trip with everything one would expect to need on an overland truck. Our hotel accommodation started very well, especially in China, but seemed to deteriorate as we went south. One couple, who shall remain nameless, had a habit of upgrading themselves if they did not like to look of a place.
The highlights had to be the terracotta warriors in Xi'an and Angkor Wat in Cambodia.