I figure I should finish tell the story of my trip back to Canada. It’s been dragging on for long enough.
We (my new friend Nicole and I) took the bus from Phnom Penh to Siam Reap. It was set up at our guest house and we were told that there would be a tuk-tuk driver waiting for us there, waiting to take us to whatever place we wanted. Apparently this free transportation service was included with the bus ticket. Great deal, we figured. Sure enough, there was a guy with our name on a sign. We got on his tuk-tuk and I asked him to drive us to this place (Yellow Guest house) someone in Singapore recommended. Our driver told me it was too far, so he’d bring us to another place and if it wasn’t good, then we could go to the place I wanted. I don’t remember the name of the place he brought us, that’s one of the disadvantages of writing the blog post 5 months after the fact, but I remember being extremely disappointed with it.
We checked for available rooms, but they were booked for the night. Perfect, right? I can go to that other place. Wrong. Here’s what they did have. Mats on the ground outside with bug nets. Seriously.
Here’s the thing about traveling in South East Asia for extended periods of time. You get cheap. I’m cheap by nature, but traveling there makes you cheaper. With this said, I’ll continue with the story.
So we asked how much the mats cost, Nicole was totally digging the idea of sleeping outside. I thought it was ridiculous because they were clearly catering to a demographic would wouldn’t see how they were exploiting the perceived romanticism of “sleeping outside” (I have no problem with sleeping outside, just don’t try to make mats lying outside into something they’re not). I didn’t want to stay there at all since I felt like I had gotten conned. The mats were $1. You’re obviously thinking, that’s an outrageous deal. No matter how cheap you are, you can’t say no to that! Well sir or madam, I can. For $1, I could get a cot outside in the hall under a bug net near room of people who were partying all night or I could pay $3 and get my own room with a tv and my own washroom in a quiet area of town. Obviously, to me, that’s a great deal. Since it was late and we were getting up at 5am, I gave in to the $1 cots (not happy about it, mind you). I made my way to the Yellow Guest House (a 10 minute walk from where I was) later that evening and reserved a room there for the next few nights.
What’s more, the guy (our tuk-tuk driver) offered to drive us around Ankor Wat the next day for a set price. Since we didn’t know what reasonable rates were, we agreed at a slightly discounted price. When I walked to the Yellow Guest House, I asked them about going rates for tuk-tuks. Turns out were were paying way too much. So not only did this guy rip us off (in my opinion) by bringing us to that lame guest house, but he was also charging us way too much for the tuk-tuk. We found another guy around town who would do it for cheaper, as I didn’t want to haggle with the original guy to get a reasonable rate, and I left him a note at the guest house explaining my frustrations since no one knew his phone number and I couldn’t get in touch with him.
It seems really petty now that I think about it, but it really angered me when it happened.
The next day, we went to Ankor Wat for the sunrise (which was pretty epic) and we wandered around the temples all day until sunset. It was a long day of temples, but it was worth it. To be honest, I was a bit templed out after that 12 hours.
My second day in Siam Reap was spent sleeping in, walking around town and taking a cooking class (at a place called Tigre de Papier. Highly recommended). Overall, it was a successful day.
On my third and last full day in Siam Reap, I rented a bike and biked around Ankor Wat, no specific plans in mind, just checking things out as I passed them. I didn’t really see any new temples, but I enjoyed cruising around and checking stuff out, chewing the fat with some local kids and generally relaxing.
The morning after my bike trip around Ankor Wat, I took a flight to Kuala Lumpur in order to catch a night flight to Abu Dhabi for the last section of my trip.