Bus to Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh Travel Blog› entry 198 of 206 › view all entries
start for me, yawn yawn yawn! Mr Siphali drove me to the bus for
6.15am for the bus to Phnom Penh. I didn't really know how long this
was going to take, but so far I haven't much minded the bus journeys
and being so tired from only 4 hours sleep I was pretty unconscious
for the first 5 hours or so on and off. Sadly I suspect I missed a
lot of beautiful landscape, especially leaving the Rattanakiri
province which I'd not seen having arrived under cover of darkness.
Bleary intermittent blinks out of the window revealed glimpses of
jungle, and bamboo and grass shacks. I was glad to miss the most
basic toilet stop in Asia so far though; we stopped in the midst of
fields and leaving a distinct discreet distance most people got off
and set off in different directions to find a bush to pee or squat
After 6 hours we reached Kratie and I realised we were only halfway to Phnom Penh. By now my bottom was aching from the hell it has been put through in the past 10 days or so; cycling 64km, sitting on plastic stools in bus aisles on bumpy roads, sitting on hard wooden benches for hours waiting for border crossings, and now, bouncing around for hours on dirt roads on the most uncomfortable bus I have been on. It was now I was most grateful for my Dad's late gift (2 hours before take-off from London Heathrow) of an inflatable cushion, and I alternated it from my neck to my ass for the following 6 hours to PP. Sadly my poor behind was now in so much of a state that even a cushion of air was little comfort and I was relieved to pull finally into Phnom's bus station.
I was fully expected my name to be on a little card waved by a motorcycle driver on arrival, since it is common for guesthouses in PP and Siem Reap to sell names on when they know a guest's destination and arrival time. I had seen a girl from our guest house greeted at Kratie, but something better was in store for me - a driver touting for the precise hotel I was aiming for - hurray! I shared a tuk tuk (another new style of taxi, more like a carriage this time) with another guy and before we long we arrived at the Okay Guesthouse in south PP. I haggled for a fourth floor room with bathroom, hot water and cable for $6, and after dragging my beast of a rucksack up I gratefully climbed into the shower and cleaned my tired and aching fleshy bits.
After a couple of hours R'nR, I caught a tuk tuk to Friends restaurant. Phnom Penh is known to be a bit more on the dangerous side than most cities I've been to yet, and I'd been well-warned not to carry bags or valuables and not to travel alone at night. The guy probably over-charged me for the ride but what's 50p in return for safety eh? Friends restaurant is an NGO project to teach service and catering to street children. The restaurant was decorated with child-like paintings depicting community work and the timid staff that served me each had 'student' printed in wobbly writing on the back of their t-shirt uniforms. I sat near the kitchen where I could watch the other 'teacher' staff orchestrating the restaurant, and noted the blackboard names listing those on stage 1, 2 and 3. I ordered 3 tapas dishes; mango and cashew chicken, papaya and lime coleslaw and sweet potato fries with curry mayonnaise, with an Angkor beer. It was a pretty expensive meal, (and I was plagued by flying insects though that's a city-wide problem) possibly the most expensive in Asia so far ($8.75), but since the proceeds go to the charity work I didn't mind paying. I caught another tuk tuk back and then popped into the internet cafe across the road from the guesthouse for a while (pretty cheap considering the ideal location 3000 riel/hr) before well-needed bed.