This was it! After some pre planning in the UK we were about to meet some of our best friends in Cambodia for a week of ruin exploring, water fights and the occasional shandy…
We met up with one of Siys best pals from uni in KL. After being on a night bus we found them curled up on a sofa in our hostel and ushered them into our room so they could get some proper kip while we went out. That evening we all went out with Emma’s cousins for food and drinks on the famous Changkat Bukit street. We were pretty well behaved as we had to get a flight to Cambodia the next day.
The hostel we stayed in was our first Mad Monkey experience. As we’ve mentioned in a previous post, these places are known for being party. We jumped on the walking tour of the city. There wasn’t loads that we really learnt but it was more of a culture trip – travelling on the commuter ferry, joining in with some public exercise and eating bugs! Bee larvae, crickets, frogs the lot. Deep fried, crunchy and honestly pretty tasty.
The next day was a visit to S21 – the infamous school turned interagation centre run by Pol Pots political party the Khmer Rouge. Some truly terrible things happened there and a well produced audio guide did a good job of bringing it all to life. Once the guards had pulled a confession from the prisoner, they were sent to the killing fields – a mass execution and burial site outside of town which we visited in the afternoon. It’s fair to say that it was a difficult day. Seeing first hand the cruelty that man is capable of and the ability of those in power to brainwash and then anhiate so many of its own people was terrible.
After and introspective afternoon we went for a few drinks, ending with drinking session with a group of locals which was good fun. Next stop, Siem Reap!
After an interesting night bus that had been retrofitted with actual beds we arrived at the bus station around 04.00 so we hunkered down and chilled for a few hours before heading to a cafe for some breakfast. We’d booked our Airbnb before we left and it didn’t disappoint! After a very hot walk with all our gear from the cafe we were straight into the pool. This is where we spent probably 70% of the week. After spending time exploring ruins or wandering around the town centre coming back and jumping in the pool was such a great feeling. It was the perfect base for us to explore Siem Reap.
We had been in the pool for less then an hour when who should arrive but 2 surprise guests, Ryan and Marian! We had no idea (ish) that these guys were going to show up so it was amazing to see them walk through the gate into the pool. That afternoon we fired up the barbie and caught up in the pool.
The next day, Isaac and Co went to Angkor Wat while we waited for Ces and Dave to arrive. They had got the same night bus that we had so we knew they’d be pretty snoozy. The guys after leaving first thing arrived back just after midday and we spent the afternoon in the pool catching up. We now at full strength chilling in a pool with some of our best friends half way around the world! An amazingly surreal experience. That evening we went into town only to find out everyone was celebrating the start of the Khmer New Year and there was a huge water fight going on! There were honestly thousands of people in the city centre, armed to the teeth with water guns, water bombs and weirdly enough, talcum powder… we couldn’t believe we were so lucky to be there during their celebrations, which would last another two nights. We vowed to return with water guns.
An early start
Soon got to the late 30s in temperature so by lunch time we were ready the pool… we’d been up since 04.00 after all. After a chilled afternoon we got tooled up and headed into town. No one was safe head shots galore! Again, an amazing vibe with huge street parties going on across the city centre. We got stuck in, giving as good as we got, although some water guns lasted a little longer than others.
The next day we were up and in tuk tuks at 04.45, heading towards Angkor wat in time for sunset. Ok, so it wasn’t that amazing but still! We were there, in Angkor Wat! We explored the main site with our tuk tuk driver Mr.Siam who came recommended by Emma’s mum taking us from site to site. The sites were facilitating. All built between 9th and 12th centurary by the various kings that ruled during this time. The scale of the site, quality and detail of some of the work and the sense of age you could feel was astonishing. These were holy sites so we had to have covered knees and shoulders. It soon got to the late 30s in temperature so by lunch time we were ready the pool… we’d been up since 04.00 after all. After a chilled afternoon we got tooled up and headed into town. No one was safe head shots galore! Again, an amazing vibe with huge street parties going on across the city centre. We got stuck in, giving as good as we got, although some water guns lasted a little longer than others.
What a week!
Over the next few days we split up and did different things, some of exploring more of Angkor Wat, some crazy individuals went to the gym (it was nearly 40 degrees!) and we chilled out and enjoyed the space. There were some pretty heated exchanges when the ladies got the Monopoly out whilst the chaps pratted around in the pool coming up with one ridiculous game after another 29!
Having our best friends all together was one of the highlights of our trip. It was amazing that everything came together and we could spent time exploring an amazing part of Cambodia with some of our best pals. Being able to catch up and chat to our friends in such a relaxed and enjoyable environment was really special.