Here’s a report on a two week trip we took in late May/early June which was essentially a quick circuit from Phnom Penh through Kampot , Ha Tien , Phu Quoc, Chau Doc , and back.
We took a car straight down to Kampot from PNH, the last 40 km were truly trying and in times like this I’m always thankful for a good driver!
Kampot has just about shaken off its ‘sleepy’ descriptor which is both good and bad. Lots of evening cruise boats add colour and movement to the riverfront whilst a few refugees from Sihanoukville increase the sleaze factor a bit. We enjoyed the almost compulsory pepper farm visit at the BoTree - small, with a nice tour and lunch - and a morning on the river with Bjorn from Love the River - followed by a superb lunch at the Green House.
Ben at Mea Culpa did a great job on all our transport.
So, onwards through the border at Prek Chak/Xa Xia (covered elsewhere in the forum) to lovely Ha Tien. Throughly enjoyed hanging around in town and on the waterfront in the evening. The big eye-opener here is an urban panorama absolutely full of bird houses, obviously showing the importance of the bird nest industry.
Andy and Mr Tay at the Oasis Bar are cyberspace legends who do all the travel stuff for you. The cocktails were very ordinary!
Anyway, off to Phu Quoc on the Superdong. I was apprehensive about development and its downsides here but fortunately we’d picked the sleepy Ganh Dau in the north west corner for five days of sloth. Just a few resorts, a market, a couple of restaurants/cafes, and a nice beach ( Ganh Dau beach itself much better than any at the resorts). You also get the free bonus of driving past the vast Vinpearl development on the way up which is a truly scary sight.
Then back to Ha Tien and a couple of hours in a car up to Chau Doc. We splashed a bit of cash at the Victoria Hotel where they kindly upgraded us to a river view room. A fantastic location right on the intersection of the Chau Doc and Bassac rivers. It was great to watch the commerce on the rivers (and a massive storm blow over) in faux colonial comfort. Good bicycles were another bonus and made countryside exploration easy.
After 2 nights we got the speedboat up to Phnom Penh. Interesting trip with plenty of action both on the river and on shore, and only a few on board so comfortable travelling with relaxed border crossings.
Stayed on St 240 (which seemed a bit tired) in Phnom Penh with plans to revisit the palace etc. That didn’t happen (!) but ten years between visits to PP is certainly too long. Enjoyed checking out Tuol Tompoung and a few drinkies around St 308/Bassac Lane was good fun. Vanarith from Phnom Penh Food Tours (as covered by Travelfish) seemed to lose the plot on our tour but there was still plenty to like - and I’m sure he learnt from the experience!
All in all, good fun. Spent a fair bit of money on visas and transport but I can live with that these days.
#1fondo has been a member since 23/6/2006. Posts: 185
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