© 2011 notworkrelated - David Rutter & Helen Roscoe. All rights reserved. notworkrelated Kratie Cambodia

Cambidia – Kratie – 9th February

The bus was due to depart from Siem Reap at 6am and we were informed to be at the ticket office for 5.30am. We arrived on time and several other travellers were waiting for the bus which was a medium sized coach but enough room for everyone on board, even if the bags were all thrown on the backseats! We paid $8 each for our tickets which was the cheapest we could find to Kratie with a change of buses in Kompong Cham, Doug and Emma were heading for Ban Lung and had to pay $19 each for the VIP bus, hotel pickup and a breakfast. It started in the usual way, drive around the area for at least an hour picking up passengers and packages to transport and then finally one last stop, it was to pick up Emma and Doug from a tuk-tuk, two hours later than they should have set off on the coach. Maybe the bus at Kompong Cham will be a VIP bus we thought!?

After 5 hours we arrived in Kompong Cham for our next bus connection and to all head off in different directions. The bus never materialised, either it left before we arrived or was non-existent, so we had to hassle the “travel coordinator” from our bus about what to do as the station office was no use and the bus driver had no inclination of trying to help. He arranged for us to go with another bus company on the other side of town, so the bus dropped us there. We would have to wait for 2.5 hours until the bus arrived so most of the stranded passengers (about 8 of us) headed for some food, fried rice with beef or noodles was pretty much the only option. Helen wasn’t feeling too good so she had plain boiled rice.

Finally a bus arrived, which incidentally looked pretty swanky, and we were informed we were all on the bus as it would stop at Kratie and then proceed up to Ban Lung. However there were not enough seats or luggage space in the hold on the coach so 5 people had to sit on their bags in the isle. Luckily people disembarked fairly quickly at random stops along the way so we all got seats within the hour. After a long journey we finally arrived at Kratie with an ounce of sunlight left in the sky and we found our preferred option for accommodation, the Balcony Guest House, over looking the Mekong River. Success, they had rooms with shared bathroom for $5. The room at the front of the building with a double bed was very large and had a huge ceiling with fan, it felt very Mediterranean in style and we loved the 70′s retro concrete building. We didn’t go far that evening and opted for some food from the Balcony’s restaurant which was pretty nice (real Heinz Baked Beans we think!!), but a bit overpriced for the portion sizes we received, washed down with some homemade Ginger Ale which tasted pretty boozy!

(Leica M9, Summicron-M 50mm f2.0 & Olympus PEN, 17mm f2.8 & 100mm f2.8, processed in Lightroom 3)

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