Dancing all the way to Siem Reap

Poipet Travel Blog

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Crossing the border
When we exited the room and officially entered Cambodia, we found our new bus that would take us to Siem Reap. The small bus was considerably less comfortable than the vans on the Thai side and the bus driver had a serious lead foot. The road to Siem Reap is called "The Dancing Road" and it will have you bouncing in your seats. I heard it was bad and I thought I would be prepared because I've traveled on terrible roads in rural Ghana during a crazy tropical rainstorm. But I think the length of the road to Siem Reap is what makes it so difficult. It just seems like it goes on forever and ever. You can tell they are working on it and there are a few smoother sections.
Scenery along the drive
But they've been working on it for a long time so there's no telling when it will really be finished. Our bus driver would just zoom over many of the small to medium sized bumps and potholes sending us flying out of our seats and making the luggage tumble down on the poor people sitting in the back. When we saw a huge bump ahead and were prepared for it, he would go super slowly and nothing would happen.

The difference between Cambodia and Thailand was pretty quickly apparent. Even though the border town on the Thai side was not spectacular, it was immediately clear that Cambodia was much poorer. It was really dry and dusty and much of the land was barren. I knew it was still the dry season but I assumed South East Asia would be green and tropical year round.
There was not much along the road, mostly just dried up rice fields, very small villages and every so often a school or shiny temple amidst the shacks. I was a little shocked to see how impoverished some parts looked. It seems like the money pouring in from tourism hasn't changed things (yet). We stopped once to use the toilet and get some food and drinks. We chatted with the people working at the "rest stop" and some of the kids in the area and they were all really friendly and fun. After a nice break we reluctantly got back on the bus for the rest of the trip to Siem Reap.

When we got to Siem Reap there were lots of huge luxurious looking hotels. We drove past all of these. When we got to our hotel, there was a woman on a motorcyle passing by just as our driver was pulling up. We assumed they would both slow down and determine who would go first. Wrong. Our bus hit her and knocked her off her motorcycle. Welcome to Siem Reap. We all got out and luckily she wasn't too hurt. And thankfully, unlike many people in Cambodia, she was wearing a helmet.

We were all pretty worn out from our early morning and long bumpy drive. Our hotel turned out to be pretty nice even if it didn't have a big marble fountain in front. I was also in a decent location, close to some of the main streets. We settled in and then most of us went to dinner at a place called Cafe Indochine. It's supposed to be really good but I have no recollection of what I ate so it couldn't have been that good. We had agreed earlier that day that most of us would wake up early to see the sunrise and hire a guide for the day to take us to Angkor Wat, Angkor Tom, and Ta Prohm. Yay!
worldcitizen says:
A lot of the "good" restaurants that people suggest for foreigners usually have a combination of western and local foods. Sometimes the western food there will be okay-good, but the local food is usually bland and flavors are watered down!
Posted on: Apr 20, 2008
sybil says:
too bad cafe indochine did not have memorable food....
Posted on: Apr 15, 2008
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Crossing the border
Crossing the border
Scenery along the drive
Scenery along the drive
photo by: iMush