The bus journey from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh, capital of Cambodia, took about six hours. It was cramped and hot and I had locals babbling at me constantly, grinning toothily all the while. They knew I didn’t understand a word. I didn’t take enough water and by the end I was feeling ragged. When you’re tired and hungry everything looks a bit shit doesn’t it?
I was a little grouchy. In this mood, seeing dusty shanty towns with makeshift, hodgepodge structures as we enter the capital city didn’t exactly fill me with glee. As I stepped off the bus I was immediately crowded by three or four guys saying “I give you tuk tuk” or “you change-ah mahney” and so on. I believe I may have been a little rude. Being in this part of the world you constantly get harassed by folks with dollar signs in their eyes and it gets old real quick.
I stomped across town under a blazing, glorious sun and found my accommodation. The place had been booked on hostelworld and was called Manor House. I was looking at a sign saying Manor House Boutique Hotel! I must be in the wrong place right? I can’t afford to stay in places like this, I’m travelling on a budget. What a lovely surprise to find it was the correct place, dorm bed booked with a swimming pool to splash about in! Woop!
The last week has glided by lazily. I’m happy to report my initial impressions have completely faded. This place is absolutely magic. There’s loads to see and do and some simply stunning architecture for your eyes to drink up. I’ve had some cracking nights sipping fruity cocktails, hanging out with other travellers playing pool and cards. Everyone here is full of smiles and laughter so it’s a pleasure to chat to tuk tuk drivers and randoms on the street. The food is totes amazeballs and the scenery is effing gorgeous. Staff that I’ve been served by in cafes and whatnot have all done their thing with pleasure and grace, as if they are truly happy to be helping me.
I find the word wonderful slipping from my lips in normal speech now, because this place is wonderful. They call Thailand the land of smiles but I think this place deserves that title. I am totally in love with Cambodia. x