A Travellerspoint blog

Cambodia

Phnom Penh, Siam Reap, Angkor Wat

sunny 34 °C

getting there now. Kyokos a bit sick so shes having a kip and I can write in secret

We took a "night bus" from Ho Chi Minh to Phnom Penh, which is a bit stupid since you get to the border about 4 hours before it opens so your left trying to sleep on a shitty bus seat. but to be fair it was a proper coach only complaint was the headrest was set too far back - i noticed it on almost every bus ive been on actually - so if you lean back you looking at the ceiling at get a stiff neck, if you dont lean back you end up getting whiplash every time you nod off, fall foward and jerk awake.

Anyway Phnom Penh is basically shit. its dirty, it stinks and its not all that cheap, about the same as bangkok maybe even more. we took a tuktuk to our hotel (which was crap) who kept telling us what we'd do tomorrow and asking what tme we wanna start tomorrow. S-21 prison museum was a bit ok, but disappointing, photos of inmates are ok but there was no really gory "after" pictures, there was a few but theyre not good quality so you cant really get a good feel. Theres no information really on how they tortured people and what information they were after, not even much information on what actually happened at the time or wh. To be honest most of what I know about Khmer Rouge comes from the Dead Kennedys "holiday in Cambdoia" and I didnt really know what that was about until I skimmed through the lonely planet. At the end of the day it was just an old prison and a room with some skulls in. The film wasnt showing when we were there dont know how long hat will go on for, but theres no discount on a ticket price for it.

The bus to siam reap was actually pretty ok, it had a toilet, and I stil lhad diarrhea, so we got on well. but going for a dump on a moving bus is bad at the best of times, on Cambodian roads, with retard at the wheel, (I still swear no one in south east asia can actually drive) and we got water and a face wipe and a sweet which was a bonus

Siam Reap was pretty uninteresting too. Probably would have enjoyed it my diarrhea had gone but still I think 3 days is too much for angkor wat. Our hotel was good though, I cant remember the name but we payed US$32 for 4 nights (fan/hot shower) including breakfast, which I ate once and regretted cos I spent most of the day with stomach cramps and looking for toilets, but it was good simple food, baguettes, eggs, sausage, etc. Green park guest house, they had a website and picked us up for free from bus terminal, arranged a tuktuk man for us, free bike hire and were actually ncie people. Its a bit out of town to so nice and quiet. I recommend it

What I dont recommend is 3 days at Angkor Wat. 3 day ticket was US$40, each, which is pretty steep to see what is basically ruins. Especially since all the restoration is done by donations from abroad. It feels like what your paying for is the wages for the millions of people to check you've paid. To top it off theres souvenier shops (all selling the same stuff, beggers, kids selling shit (all the same as each other) who wouldnt leave me alone - one actually asked to see the postcards I told him I'd already bought cheeky fuck - and over-priced restaurants. restaurants I can understand, and I guess one or 2 souvenier shops. But if I have to paid that much to get in somewhere I shouldnt have to fight off beggers and shit-sellers with a stick. Have they paid to get in? Have they fuck. Before your even out of the tuktuk theier practically fighting to be the first one to accost you with their shit, and theres no peaceful temple atmosphere just "SIR YOU WANT COLD DRINK? WATER? COCNUT?" Doesnt matter if your carrying a drink already. if someone reads this and heads that way can you find a kid you like the look of, and recommend to him he buys a bottle of sunscreen and sells one application 2000riel or something, something people actually need, but most of all tell him to keep quiet about it so he's selling something you cant buy from a million other people

My advice to best enjoy it is go by motorbike taxi, get a one day ticket the day before and start early if you wanna see a lot (but they are all the same anyway). start in the middle, work toward the start and then go from the end to the middle to avoid crowds (everyone does the same route either forwards or backwards). take a packed lunch and plenty of water save you having to deal with the shit sellers, remember your motorbike man can keep hold of your backpack so you just need to carry one bottle water and your valuables around with you. Take some earplugs so you dont have to listen to people selling all the time, and dont have any high expectations. Its just ruins at th eend of the day. And most of its covered in scaffolding.

The most interesting thing I saw was the landmine museum.

There looks to be some really good food in Cambodia though. I was trying to help my shits by eating sensible food (bread, rice, yogurt) so I didnt enjoy so much but Kyoko had some really tasty curries and noodles in Siam Reap, and in Phnom Penh there was like a massive "outdoor food court" I guess, outside the big market I think it was.

oh ps dont bother with the "waterfall" temple, its a fucking long drive to see a small waterfall. Lonely planet talk about "the river flow over a thousand linga" or something. I thought great that sounds hilarious. But its not a linga like the typical looks like a big cock linga, there just little stubs under the water, like thick CD's.

Phnom Penh
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Posted by mikeb1986 00:44 Archived in Cambodia Tagged phnom_penh angkor_wat angkor_thom siam_reap Comments (0)

Ho Chi Minh City

sunny 30 °C

Ho Chi Minh City

I thought my diarrhea was getting better in Nha Trang, passed one solid turd anyway the day before we left.
We took the train again to HCMC overnight, the dont know if I said already but trains are definatley the way to travel in Vietnam, some delays but its gotta be better than spending the same time on a bus with a driver wearing lead boots. I dont get their driving style, just hammer it, slam on, hammer it, slam on brakes. Doesnt make for a nice ride

anyway when I woke up I had to go and shit my guts out on the trains toilet(not a pleasant experience) and it wouldnt flush afterwards, the water came in but wouldnt go out, so some poor bastard had to find the toilet literally full of shitty water. Not my fault. Anyway went to the doctors and the medice took away the stomach pains, but not the diarrhea I figured it would get better soon and stuck to just eating dinner so I knew I could go straight back to the hotel and spend the night running to the bog and back.

We saw the War remnants museum, not as many AK47's I'd hoped, or anything interesting really other than the Agent Orange damage photos, good viewing if your into that sortof freak-show entertainment. We saw the revolutionary museum, which was again almost completley uninteresting.
We took a half day trip to Cu Chi tunnels, which was actually pretty good to see the booby traps and crawl round in some enlarged tunnels, which are still pretty small. Theres a firing range there too, but seemed a bit expensive, I think about $1.50 per bullet for an AK47 at a mud bank, no targets, no nothing. I figured best to keep shooting an AK as a dream, I think if I made it a reality it would only let me down, at least I still have my dream. On the way back we were forced to look round a handicapped handicrafts factory, where prices for everything was twice the price at the market, probably cos you get to see them make it or something. Maybe if anyone from vietnam comes to UK I can take them round the factory I used to work at, then they'll see how boring it is watching people work.

And we took a 1 day Mekong Delta trip. which was so-so. wasngt the let down that ha long bay was, but it was fairly dull. My tip for the woman rowing the boat down the river would be "its fucking rude to actually ask for a tip". And on the way there they took us to another handicraft hadicapped factory again, which was basically exactly the same, but since were westerners obviously we cant survive the 2 hour "coach" ride without spending some money somewhere. I didnt buy anything for the record.

I say it again and again, I am so sick of people selling me shit. Its bad enough when I'm walking about. As if I'd walk half way somewhere then suddenly decide I want a motorbike taxi, and if I really wanted to read some book about a war I'd probably have read it already or at least be looking for it. When I'm eating my dinner they can just fuck right off, I think I actually told one as much which Kyoko wasnt too happy about.

Oh, dont buy coffee at the big market, we found at least one convinience shop that sells it for half the price - in the cheap hotel area, walk with the park on your left and all the bookshops, hotels, tour shops etc on your right and its on that road, well before it merges onto the main road. We got a good feed at a street restaurant around there aswell, its on the corner of a small street. Has red chairs and menu's

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Posted by mikeb1986 00:24 Archived in Vietnam Tagged vietnam saigon ho_chi_minh Comments (0)

Nha Trang

pretty reasonable as long as the weathers shit

rain -18 °C

getting behind. I'll catch up soon. Just couldnt really be bothered the least few days. And I'm a bit ashamed to have a blog so I have to write it when Kyoko's in the shower so I dont have much time

Nha Trang was actually pretty reasonable. Or it would have been if the weather was nice. The first 2 days it didnt stop raining. Theres not a lot to do there when its raining. The hotel was good enough. Staff I guess like to practice their english they were always talking to us but not really trying to sell anything for a change.

We went to the mud baths / hot springs there which were pretty fair too, once you get past the woman trying to sell you a 900k dong package, which I couldnt really see any difference other than a quick massage, from the normal 100k package. For that we got a cold mud bath, and a hot mineral bath, plus a hot, jetwash/shower to rinse the dry mud off and sue of the pool area after. We told our moto guys we'd be 4 hours I think, which was a good time frame, maybe 3 or 3.5 would be better we were pretty bored later on

I'm sure I mentioned earlier that I thought I shat myself in the bath, my diarrhea was getting a bit better by now and I didnt eat breakfast, so I thought I should be safe but I felt my stomach bubbling away when we were sat in the bath. I knew I farted but I couldnt be sure if it was wet just from the mud or cos a bit of shit had popped out, anyway I did the right thing and just kept shtum and checked myself discreetly in the shower later. Turned out it was just a wet fart.

The last couple of days we had decent weather, which obvisouly brought out all the people selling me shit again. Trying to sell sunglasses to Kyoko who's wearing some already was a big gripe, and how many times do I have to say no again. Christ, I can see what they are and your obviously either selling them or walking round with your collection which even in Vietnam seems unlikely, get out of my face. I think it was about now or Ho Chi Minh City I learnt a loud "NO I DONT WANT ANY SUNGLASSES" works better than ignoring them, maybe it embarrases them or something. Good.

We did get some decent food, though I dont understand why they have to show me its a menu and point things out to me on it, just let me read it and if it sounds good I'll order it, if I feel lke your forcing me in, I'll walk away. I had good Hanoi style noodles one day they were one of the best I had in Vietnam, and a really good ice coffee at the same place, probably not good for the diarrhea but who gives a shit. It was at a little cafe a way north from the main restaurant area and a couple of blocks in from the beach

Posted by mikeb1986 19:33 Archived in Vietnam Tagged vietnam nha_trang Comments (0)

Da Nang

Dont go to Hoi An what a waste of time

sunny 27 °C

Well I finished my course of Smecta for the runs and its still going strong. I'll give it a few moe days and try another doctor.

I dont have a great deal to say about Da Nang, we didnt do that much because both of us were still recovering from the diarrhea.

We stayed in a reasonable hotel cant remember the name, and both days we ate at a small food court at the big C shopping mall. Pho, bagguettes, dumplings etc. fairly standard and fairly cheap.

We did visit Hoi An, I really wouldnt bother I dont know what people see in it. Basically every shop is either a souvenier shop, or a tailors or an overpriced restaurant. You can get the same souveniers anywhere, and the attraction of buying suits on holiday I'll never understand. All the buildings in the old town you can go see are pretty much the same - boring. 90 000 dong or something, not worth it. Trust me. Luckily we only went for a day trip so we didnt have to stick around for long we took the public bus which was an experience, basically foot to the floor and use the horn repeatedly seems to work well for the driver. And its quick, they have someone to drag people on and shove them off and collect fares without even stopping the bus. Ignore the gang of pricks at the Hoi An station offering motorbikes repeatedly, they told me it was about 3.5km to town - its about a 5 minute walk, which I count as about 1k.

Da Nang itself only seemed to offer the same siappointments the rest of Vietnam did. B ut the people seemed less inclined to force me to buy something. they appeared to understand "no" at least.

A bit about vietnam in general that annoys me

Footpaths exist, but they are mostly used as motorbike parking areas, and outdoor restaurants. This means you are constantly walking up and down the curb to avoid things, so I tried walking on the road, but that doesnt work because in Vietnam people drive not on the left or right, but wherever is convinient : left, right, middle, footpath. they even have ramps into thier houses to park inside. Zebra crossings exist, even some have a green/red man marking. But theyre completely meaningless since for a start you can turn right anytime. they serve the same purpose as lane/center line markings. They make the road look like a road, and thats about it

Also how many times do I have to say "no" before they get the message. Yes I can see your selling sunglasses, I still dont want any when you shove them in my face and tell me there cheap cheap. If I want some I'll let you know dickhead. Same for tuktuks and motos, youve just seen me say no to a hundred people who swarmed me when i came out of the shop, why would I change my mind ten seconds later.

But if you take home anything from this blog, let it be "dont go to Hoi An" it really it is shit, unless you like looking at the what is essentially, the same shop, over and over again
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Posted by mikeb1986 04:16 Archived in Vietnam Tagged vietnam hoi_an danang Comments (0)

Hanoi

what a shithole

overcast 19 °C

Now hanoi is where I started getting sick of this trip. Bangkok irritated me a bit more than any other big city would. Hanoi just toko the piss

We flew to Hanoi from Bangkok, it took them about an hour to sort out my visa on arrival. I think partly because it just looked like a few dudes sat in an office staring at passports for 10 minutes then passing them onto the woman who gave the visa and took the money, and partly cos they were held up by complete fucking retards, Im ashamed to say were all pom's, "I dont have a photo", "I dont have enough money to pay for that visa can we change it for the single entry" and just straight up "I dont have enough money". They all got dealt with there and then, the one woman who was issuing the visa's would drop everything to take a photo of someone, or go back through thier application to change it, or whatever. If it was my country I'd be just tell them to go home. Or wait til last so the people who arent retarded can get theier visa's and get on with there holiday.

When I finally got that done It took us 15 minutes battling through people trying to drag me into there taxi, to find the airport shuttle bus, which had people sitting on suitcases and stools and some kid throwing up half way there. Then it drops you off right in the middle of a billion taxi and motorbike guys. Why do they bother asking taxi? moto? Ive turned a thousand down already why would I suddenly want one now. Fortunatley one guys hotel flyer had a fairly decent map so we could find our hotel easy enough. Which was pretty shitty. I think it was there the shower didnt even reach over the taps it was connected to. And they were pretty pissed and just pretty rude to us the next morning when we went on a halong bay tour with another company.

And to top it off my diarreah started the first night. Just a small liquid shit before bed and then the next morning shitting my guts out . Not sure what I ate, only some bred from the supermarket, and a sandwich from a lady in the street (which was crap)

the next day we went on the Halong Bay 2day 1 night tour. Fuck that dont even bother Im sure all the tour companies are the same as ours. When we jumped on the bus there was about 6 seats left and someone mentioned theres still 12 people to pick up. The only thing worse than spotting kids wiating to get on the bus was finding out they were americans. Sadly the parents were more irritating than the kids. they just wouldnt shut up.
The first thing we were told on arriving is "I need your passport" then he handed out a paper to list our names and took it away once 3 people had signed it . And the whoel trip just contined that way. Lunch was one fish to share per table with some peanuts and rice and fried tofu or something. Anyway I wasnt eating because of havig the shits. Then they told us you cant drin kyour own drinks you have to buy ours, which nobody knew about. They took us to the caves and the guide was like a useless twat basicaly his english was crap and when no one understood him he just ignored that. We didnt go to the second set of caves we were meant to see, instead we went to get a tour of water caves, which we had to pay extra for . He tried to get us to do kayalking that night at 5:45 when it was already almost dark , we didnt do any fishing and dinner was crap
The rooms were OK
The next morning he woke us at 6, to go kayaking at 6. 20 minutes later when we were up he explained our company only hired 3 kayak so we have to take turns, you can do it later. so we kayaked in the shitty dirty water for about 10 mins before he called us back in (our 30 minutes was up) and we basically went back to the mainland while he slept, then waited an hour and a half sat on the roadside waiting for the bus to take us for lunch. And suddenly there were 3 groups all trying to get on the same bus which our tour guide went on, with a different group
You get the picture anyway we got back eventually outside some random hotel there obvisouly associated with and fought through the touts and wandered to the train station

I thought Bangkok was bad. Fuck, I wish I could be back there

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Posted by mikeb1986 01:36 Archived in Vietnam Tagged hanoi halong_bay Comments (0)

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