The Road to Kep

Today’s activity was to get out of Phnom Penh and head to our resort in Kep on the Cambodian coast.  We had been worried that having only one full day in Phnom Penh would not be enough but it turns out we needn’t have worried.  After only a day and a half we were both a little tired of the city already.  Lynn, in fact, hadn’t liked it from the first afternoon.  The city was filthy with trash everywhere, dusty enough to have caused us both to develop coughs in 24 hours, and it is not an exaggeration to say that the whole of it smelled like sewage.  It’s bright point was that there seemed to be a lot more food options than in Siem Reap so we were at least thankful to be able to get away from eating more bland food.

In fact, that’s how we spent our last few hours in the city, walking to Brooklyn Pizza on the other side of town for a large Godfather pizza and a Greek salad.  I had been feeling a bit nauseous all morning so we took the walk slow.  We inadvertently ended up walking along a drainage ditch for a while that certainly did not help the nausea, but we did make it to the restaurant just fine.  The pizza was good, but the highlight was the salad, perhaps because we’ve been longing for one for a little while.

Delicious, delicious pizza.
Delicious, delicious pizza.

After lunch we headed back to the hostel, with an ice cold root beer in hand procured from that same restaurant, and said good riddance to the city while we cooled off in the A/C of the lobby waiting for our bus pickup.  We were picked up shortly after and dropped at the bus depot where we boarded our $6 bus bound for Kep.  The A/C was not on yet, so we promptly got off the sauna on wheels and waited till the last possible second to board.  We spent the first few hours dozing with Cambodian music videos playing quite loudly in the background on a small screen at the front.  We woke up every now and then for long enough to notice that every video featured the same group of people doing the same dance in the background.

As we got further into the country the ride got a bit more exciting and we had a fair number of close calls with other cars and cows that had wandered into the road.  This driver was certainly not as careful as the others we had had so far, perhaps because this is mostly a locals bus.  We both stared out the windows for a while, watching the rice fields roll by as they turned gold in the setting sun.  Every once in a while a motorbike would pass with a cage on the back stuffed full of chickens or even once a cow.  I found it a bit funny that a month ago I would have taken a picture of that but now it’s become so common it barely registered.

Just after dark we pulled into the Kep bus stop and got off along with another western man who was carrying a large piece of rolled up carpet (we have no idea why).  We bartered for a tuk tuk to take us the last mile and a half to our hotel and Lynn noticed that I have become quite more confident in my bartering skills.  As we pulled up to the resort it seemed quite lovely.  Tucked at the foot of Kep National Park it featured a few grass covered bungalows, a nice pool, and a very lovely dog who reminded us both of Loki who we have been missing a lot lately.  (We’ve been missing Brisket too but there isn’t a dog who looks like him here.)

We checked into our room and had a quick dinner at the restaurant of red curry and beef loc lac before returning to our room to relax and unpack.  As we walked into our room we noticed it still hadn’t cooled down, and after Lynn fiddled with it, and got someone from the front desk we realized it was broken.  Not very excited to spend the next four nights in a hot, stuffy room we were relieved when they moved us to a neighboring (and better) room around the corner with cold A/C already blowing.  All tucked into our getting colder by the minute room we decided to call it a night.

Daily Walking Miles : 5.5

Fun Facts:

  • If you speak Cambodian, you can tell the driver to stop the cross-country bus wherever you like to get off.  Unfortunately we don’t so we had to get off at a real stop and take a tuk tuk the rest of the way.
  • We saved $43 by riding the locals bus instead of the mini-bus that our hostel initially recommended.
  • The bed in our hostel in Phnom Penh was ridiculous. It looked like a giant hamster wheel and had lots of excellent places for banging your head (which we both did), and made sure the bed was always at last a foot away from the wall so you would lose your pillow in the middle of the night.  It also took up way too much space in what was already a very small room. But hey, it sure looked trendy.
The stupid hamster wheel bed.
The stupid hamster wheel bed.

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