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Beach Bums in Otres & Siem Reap Take Two

To get from Battambang to Sihanoukville was an arduous task, I'll tell you that for nothing. We waited all day and evening for our first hotel bus in Cambodia - an experience in itself. The hotel buses are big coaches divided into pods, upper and lower that sleep two each which is where travelling as a pair is a blessing. The pods themselves are actually fairly comfortable, you get a pillow and a blanket on a spongey plastic mattress, much like the mats you'd get in P.E. classes at school. Retro!

We arrived in Phnom Penh around morning rush hour and were ushered off the coach bleary eyed - although it has to be said both Shay and I actually had a fairly good sleep. The bags were brought out of the hold and it's at this point I don't actually know how we managed to find our next transport because we were literally standing in traffic on a main busy road. I heard a woman in a suit faintly say 'Sihanoukville' and so we followed her intently to another mini-van down the road. It's at this point I have to say, it's the hectic-ness and almost spontaneous nature of getting around Asia that I love -sometimes (at the time) it is a little stressful but we always end up looking back and laughing at what we've just done. There's no real plan and everything is a little slap-dash but it always works, a welcome change from rigid structure at home.

I don't have much to say about Sihanoukville, or more specifically, Otres 2 beach where we stayed because we literally spent close to two weeks, getting to know people at our hostel and chilling out on the beach, watching sunset, after sunset quite contently. Easily done. There are boat trips to do and islands to go and see - we'll definitely have to return to go and see some islands and go to Kampot further down the coast, but it was a nice respite after spending time in a lot of towns and cities. There are two Otres beaches and whisperings of a third in the making - it's definitely an up and coming area and I can imagine that even in five or so years the beaches will look completely different with a lot more development taking place right now - a very exciting time. We found true love however, at Papa Pippo based on Otres 1 and if you're ever in the area, I'd thoroughly recommend a visit. Their food is to die for and they have a wicked atmosphere and quiz nights on Tuesdays. Can't resist a good pub quiz.

After our time in Otres we headed back to Siem Reap with the intention of moving on back to Thailand, earlier than expected. Our second time in Siem Reap was completely different than the first, something had clicked in our heads about Cambodia, the people and their culture which allowed us to look at the city with fresh eyes. We made a conscious effort to move out of the main touristy areas, and spent our last few days literally walking around, soaking in the city, which is always one of the best ways to get to know a place, in my humble opinion. Our first breakfast back we found a quiet place just out of town and had fried eggs with rice! So simple yet so delicious and when we could finally check in to our room (For dinner time - a personal favourite time of mine, I'm not sure if you can tell - we first headed straight back to Stephen Corner BBQ in the night market, as mentioned in the first post about Siem Reap.

The food here really is excellent, and extremely cheap. We opted for the grilled egg plant (or aubergine for my fellow Brits) with fried minced pork on top - the barbecue gives this the aubergine such a brilliantly smokey flavour, it's something we're going to be remembering for summer time at home - and I don't even normally like aubergine! Previously we'd also had some chicken skewers as well as morning glory with rice and a beef lok lak one of Cambodia's national dishes. Basically what I'm trying to say is, everything we tried on this menu was b-anging and so super cheap.

Other notable eats we found were the Beijing Dumpling House further up the road, for a cheap and hot, hot, spicy, hot, Chinese dumpling fix and also a meat baguette from a woman in the night market - baguettes for a wholesome £2 overall - you really can't complain. I'm glad we managed to round our time off in Cambodia with a fresh perspective with very full and thankful bellies. There's a lot to look forward to in Cambodia, we just had to look for it a little harder.