Kerfuffle to Calm in Cambodia
Siem Reap, Cambodia. What a Kerfuffle!
We check in for our Vietjet flight from Hanoi airport a couple of weeks ago, get our bags weighed, approved and tagged as cabin baggage. We’re then sent back from departures, twice, by the ‘bag police’ despite being approved by check in, to get them weighed again. I’m no stranger to paying to check bags as this girl loves to overpack 🤗 but never been sent back from departures before. The queue to get through is massive as the bag police are checking everyone and in true British fashion we start muttering about the lack of organisation of the check in process 🤣
After a short flight we arrive at Siem Reap airport ready to queue for our tourist visa. You hand over your passport, visa form, passport photo and $30 USD and join a crowd of people to wait for approval. In no particular order, someone from immigration holds up a passport, you wave if it’s yours and you hope the crowd pass it all the way back to you and move on to the next step - border control. Queuing for another 20/30 mins we get told we’ve not been given the right forms, so we go to another desk, get the form, and join the back of the border control queue, which at this point is much longer as more passengers have arrived from other flights 🙈 We’re wondering if our backpacks are still in the airport as they’ve probably been circling the baggage carousel for over an hour. Once at the desk, we get stamped and we’re on our way. Bags have been chucked on the floor, but we’re glad they’re still there. Exit sign ahead. Woop!
Oh wait, we need another form? 🙄
When we eventually get out of the airport, we meet the tuk tuk driver our hotel has sent us, Ko Sal, who is super friendly and helpful - and our excitement to be in Cambodia is back! 🙌🙌🙌
It’s about 8.30pm at this point, hangry and slightly apprehensive from the blog posts we’ve read about being in Cambodia. We’re both shattered as well as we’ve been living it up for the last few weeks so we decide to just eat at the hotel, go to bed and plan to chill and work by the pool the next day. We arrive at our hotel and it’s really pretty and we’re greeted with fresh juice and snacks, shown to our lovely big studio room with balcony - decor is lovely too, totally my style. The grounds are dimly lit, in a nice way, so you can see the reflection of the lights twinkling in the pool outside whilst listening to the sound of the waterfall feature. We find out the restaurant is closed tonight so we need to go out for dinner and we’re so glad we did! The atmosphere around pub street is lively, drinks are cheap and food tastes really good. We’re also grateful our hotel is slightly out of the way so we can come back to work and chill in peace when we need to.
Hold that thought.
We didn’t need alarms the first morning as we woke up to SO MUCH noise it made me jump out of bed. Turns out, we’re next to a building site. Oh and did I mention part of this hotel’s charming decor are the open windowless windows that surround the property, meaning there is almost no sound-proofing whatsoever? HA! 🤣 We switch rooms to the other side away from the site hoping it will be a bit quieter. We chuck our stuff on the floor, sit on the bed and within 30 seconds hear crashing and banging and drilling and…. realise there’s a building site this side of the hotel as well. Srsly.
I guess most people are out exploring during the day so the recent 5* trip advisor reviewers haven’t had this problem - but we needed to stay in and work, and were really looking forward to working on the balcony - you know exactly how you imagine the ‘laptop lifestyle’ to be. 😂 Instead we ended up watching the Fast and Furious movies (because that’s all that’s in English) on full volume, aircon unit and ceiling fan (which has a developing crack in it) on full blast to drown out the sounds of the building being demolished next door, whilst trying to get some work done with intermittent WiFi. You have to work in 5 minute increments before the WiFi cuts out, and then wait anywhere between 5-30 minutes for it to reconnect again.
That was until the power cut out 🤣 luckily my 42% battery held out long enough to get my work finished for the day.
The next day we went to see Angkor Wat, which was the main reason we decided to come to Cambodia in the first place and it didn’t disappoint. The temple is impressive, not as crowded as we expected and there were monkeys running in and out of the columns so I was in my happy place. I bloody love monkeys!!
We spent $15 USD to hire our new friend Ko Sal and his tuk tuk for the day and he took us on a tour of all the temples. It costs $37 USD each for a 1 day pass - you can get a 3 day pass if you’re really in to your temples but to be honest, we were pretty ‘templed out’ after the first 3. The architecture, the carvings and the way the trees have grown through the stone over the years is pretty amazing though! One thing you soon get tired of is the persistent selling by street vendors following you, waving scarves, t-shirts and drinks in your face until you make eye contact, or the 3-5 year old kids following you & begging ‘one dollar miss, please, please, one dollar miss, pleeeeeease buy!!’
We get back to the centre, with blushed cheeks from being in the scorching sun all morning and head out for food - I try a Khmer lasagne (like a curry canelloni with baked cheese) Ben has a crocodile meat sandwich (ew!) basically because it’s on offer and he’s determined to try anything weird 😂🐊 and later for dinner I stick to coffee and pizza (my staple diet) and make the most of western food before we head back to the land of noodles and rice!
Cambodia, you haven’t made it as easy to love you, and although some things haven’t gone to plan - like the food poisoning Ben’s had for the last week - there’s still something about this place that I really like and the people are the friendliest and most welcoming I’ve met so far!
Maybe next time we’ll just forget our laptops and steer clear of crocodile meat. ✌️🤔