We took a taxi from the pier in Serendipity beach to Kampot which is around an hours drive. It cost us around $50 for 5 of us. We got there with no booking so tried Monkey Republic which looked great but they didn’t have space for us. We were sent to “Guesthouse Street” and managed to get a couple of rooms in a place at the very end, it looked like Dynasty and there was a little girl repeating the English she knew for us – “1, 2, 3 look at the stars mommy”. That night there was a black out, Kampot has very few street lights anyways and the stars were out in their thousands.
We went for food on a river boat called Vibola, cheap beers and a view of the bridge. Back at the hotel a pack of dogs roamed somewhere out in the distance as I utilised a good internet connection and got some work done late in the night.
The next day we took a taxi to Arcadia, which almost everyone I met in Siem Reap was raving about! The bar is like a treehouse on the river bank, got a little more work done at the bar while the guys played on the slide, the blob and Russian swing.
The food was good and we drank a lot there. Omar gave a guy a hair cut and Michiel got steaming playing beer pong. Arcadia’s dorm is a big shed, I’m glad we only had one night there it was a bit too much “lad’s holiday” for me. The next morning the breakfast was perfect, hash brown, sausage and tomatoes… one thing I miss is breakfast in Asia and this was a very welcome change!
Jody got sick so we moved to Happy Family and got a big room, lapping in luxury with the place almost to ourselves, laundry done and air-con! The hotel had a rooftop and balcony. That day we tucked Jody up in bed and went out for lunch. Don’t eat in the places that serve ‘happy' food, their standards are pretty low! We booked to go on the firefly tour, stocked up on Royal D for Jody and got picked up at 5. The main road was closed because Angelina Jolie’s movie was being filmed. We embarked down the river with draft Angkor. We met a lovely little girl on the boat I think her name was Layla.
She was 7 and as far as we could gather her dad was half American, half Scottish and grew weed in the states. Her mum was Cambodian and was in movies that she had never seen. She painted my nails and we tried to touch the bridges as we passed under, I wondered how her life would pan out. If I am honest I felt that we were scammed on the fireflies… there was one tree we stopped at. I can’t imagine that in all the miles of river the fireflies would only be in one tree but I am no expert. The sunset was gorgeous; we went for happy pizza and a few more Angkors when we got off. Eating weed is legal in Cambodia and there are plenty places that will make your pizza happy in Kampot for no extra charge! They treat it just like oregano. We grabbed a few beers and some tea lights and headed to the balcony.
Jody was still feeling sick the next day so tucked him in again, went off to get scooters and headed up Bokor Mountain National Park. I still don’t have the balls to drive a scooter in Asia so I rode with Omar. The drive was cool, the clouds were very welcome and the views on the way up are stunning. Plenty of curves so take it easy, bigger bikes are easier for this climb and grab a litre of fuel just incase I’d say!
There is a huge statue of Lok Yeay Mao, she protects travellers and this is the largest tribute to her. She also had a load of scaffolding around her so I guess she was due a makeover!
Further on we went through another checkpoint, no-one bothered to check our tickets here! There was a stop for a waterfall which we had to pay I think 2000 riel to enter. There is a huge food hall but food was subpar… really crazy service and the manager charged us 10% service fee on every item… Daniel got pretty sick from the food, so don’t bother! Plenty of locals around with picnics but no water in the falls!
Carrying on we stopped at the old casino but weren’t allowed to go in! Angie has screwed us again with the filming and we were turned away. Stopping at an old Catholic church a little further done the hill we were shocked to see a congregation in there, singing hymns. No scooters to be seen, where did they come from?
If you walk up passed the church there is a stunning cliff to look out to sea from. We were running out of fuel as we headed back down a little touch and go but we made it to the check point before heading back into Kampot for a nice meal and cocktails at Rikitikitavi. Bloody Mary and chicken wings… heaven.
Waking up the next morning I was sad as it was our last morning together. We went back to Rikitikitavi for a fancy breakfast and we said our “see you laters”. It took me a few hours to get used to being on my own again for sure. Solo travel is honestly the most liberating thing I’ve done but it is hard when you leave people who are like family, island family even more so. I headed to get a bamboo bungalow to make a den for a few days and catch up with work. Having pals really puts a dent in the productivity of a travelling designer! I checked in to Kampot Oasis and Alan couldn’t have made me feel more comfortable. Food and drink there were great, bungalow was utterly perfect if a little bit out of town. The sunsets there were stunning and I made plans to meet up with my good friend Lauren for a mad weekend in Sihanoukville… I love Cambodia!