After Chiang Mai, we headed over to Cambodia. We got there by flying back to Bangkok and then getting a bus/taxi service from Bangkok to Cambodia, across the border and to our hotel. I would really not recommend the taxi/bus journey across the border! Not only does it take a fair few hours but everything feels slightly dodgy throughout – from paying extra to get ‘quick’ access (which doesn’t exist), and paying extra to get a visa without a photo or paying extra to the guards themselves. The waiting was awful – so many people were all crammed in a little hut for hours in the midday sun waiting to get their visas stamped – so I would personally recommend flying instead. Luckily, we were very happy with our hotel which was called Angkoriana and had more of a resort feel about it, with free internet in the lobby too.
TOP TIP: If you plant to go this route over the border then bring passport photos with you as it will save money.
I have mixed feelings about Cambodia. It felt quite a poor country and everyone seemed desperate for money so it was a real struggle to walk down a street without getting grabbed by adult sellers, begging children and mothers with ‘sick babies’ in their hands. My boyfriend was able to block it out but that could be because sellers/children usually target female tourists more than the men!
The main strip called Pub Street was really fun with plenty of restaurants, bars and tourists, though as it gets later it gets a little more seedy and dodgy. Also, be incredibly careful where you eat! On our last day there we both got very aggressive food poisoning (from one of the posher restaurants called Red Piano) which lasted for five days and which I would not wish upon anyone! After day number 5 where we could barely stand or keep a cornflake down, we visited a doctor on Phi Phi island who told us we had severe aomebic dyssentry (nice) and gave us strong antibiotics to cure it. So be careful if you go!
Even though I didn’t like Cambodia as a country that much, the Angkor Wat temples there were literally amazing. These temples are the main sightseeing pull for travellers and they really do not disappoint. There are about twenty temples that take up a huge area as this used to be the main city in the twelfth century and some are still fairly in tact, despite being centuries old. You can choose from a long tour which sees them all, or a short tour which visits the most interesting/bigger ones – we went for the short tour which was definitely enough as it still took the whole day to get around it! I had two favourites; Angkor Thom which had the ‘many faces of Buddha’ carved into the rock and Ta Prohm, the famous one which has giant trees and roots growing from the rock. I felt like I was in Tomb Raider or Raiders of the Lost Ark!
Top tip: Take a little umbrella/parasol with you, especially if you burn (like me!), as you will be walking around exposed for most of the day.