My first full day in Cambodia was wild. By the end of the day I felt like I had been here for a week.
Emily and I woke up early and took a tuktuk to a small bus company connected to a gas station.
This is a tuktuk:
Definitely rode around Cambodia in style!
The ride over was intense. I got my first real experience of the chaos of Phnom Penh. There were other tuktuks, motor bikes, cars, and buses everywhere. Like literally everywhere. We stopped at a light for a moment and within seconds were completely surrounded by tons of motor bikes and other vehicles. Talk about culture shock from sleepy Buffalo to this. I made sure to hold onto my bags tight because the city is infamous for theft. The traffic is insane but it works. Traditional traffic rules don’t seem to apply. People go when they go, merge when they want, cross without warning. It’s fun to be part of it. Definitely a thrill.
We took a small van to a town called Kampot. A bunch of people crammed in, but it was comfortable regardless, fast, inexpensive, air conditioned, and had free wifi. That made the 3 hours go by quickly. The scenery on the way impressed me with its beauty. In Kampot, the transportation we wanted to take to our destination wasn’t leaving for a long time so we walked and found another nearby called Anna tours.
We had enough time to find a great lunch place. We were both hungry considering breakfast had been a very substantial package of starbursts 😉 The cafe was very cool because people with various disabilities and mainly deaf people work there. A lot of places in Cambodia work to help people who have various disabilities, which is awesome. All over the cafe everything was labeled as ‘epic’ which stood for ‘every person counts’ – a wonderful message. So we ate well and walked back to the bus station.
On our way to Kep we took a big bus that made stops all over the place picking up random people on the side of the road who hitchhiked. As foreigners, tuktuk drivers bombarded us when we got off the bus in Kep. The driver we picked was great and we ended up using him our whole stay there.
We stayed at Kep lodge, a very nice small hotel just a little ways from the beach. Slightly more expensive than some places, but worth it. Being extremely private, tucked in the forest, it felt perfect for relaxing. Greeted with iced tea and smiles, i felt right at home from the start of our stay. Our room looked amazing.
We settled in then took our tuktuk to a nearby pepper plantation, about a 40 minute drive, giving us time to really see the area. When we heard pepper plantation, both Emily and I imagined vegetable peppers like green and red peppers, but this was a plantation where ground pepper was grown, as in salt and pepper (90s rap anyone?). We felt pretty dumb for not knowing that. They gave us a tour of the plantation and showed us how they grow different forms of peppers -very interesting to witness and learn about.
The plantation was beautiful and they grew many other plants and fruits.
Kep is famous in Cambodia for its pepper so it was worth seeing while we were there.
Our tuktuk ride home was entertaining. Guys driving by blew kisses at us and Emily explained how often she gets proposed to here. We drove by an ice cream truck tuktuk, which made me laugh a lot. It played music from Pocahontas as its melody.
We drove by wild monkeys sitting by the side of the road – so cool! I love to see animals!
We ate dinner at the hotel, it was delicious and filling. After dinner I felt exhausted from jetlag and went straight to bed, we had another early and exciting morning ahead of us.