As I was staying in Kompong Thom, I decided to take a trip to Sambor Prei Kuk, a temple complex 30km away. I was going to cycle it but decided to make it a day off the bike. Motorbike taxi it is then. There’s something about sitting on the back of a motorbike with a driver taking you by back roads, along sandy dirt tracks with the wheels squirming away, about to spit you off into the ditch at any moment.I can’t quite put my finger on it.
I tried telling him that if he crashed he wouldn’t get paid, but he didn’t have any English, so that didn’t work. I think he took my gesticulating to mean ‘drive faster’. What the heck I’m still in one piece. I’ll say this though – you’ve not been to Cambodia until you’ve been on the back of a motorbike at speed, going along dirt roads that look like they haven’t been repaired since they were bombed several decades ago by the Americans.
Once there however, I was delighted to discover I had the entire site pretty much to myself – there can’t have been more than 10 tourists there that day. Wandering around the temples, which have all become overgrown with mature trees gave it a lost world sort of feeling. Stumbling upon old remains with trees roots wrapped round them (bearing in mind there was nobody around) made for quite the adventure. I loved the place.
The next day I headed onwards to Kompong Kday, which has an impressive bridge – impressive given it is almost 1000 years old and still used to this day.
I was wondering why I kept seeing men delivering car batteries to houses in the community – I found out when I was out getting dinner and all the lights went out. It turns out that the electrical network in this part of Cambodia isn’t so reliable. People have got used to it and simply use car batteries instead.
Today, I had an easy 60km to Siam Reap. Having spent 2 months on the road now, I was horrified how expensive everything is. Being the town for Angkor Wat, there are throngs of tourists, pushing the prices up. Still, I can’t complain – I got a cracking pizza and pineapple fruit shake for lunch!