Distance: 80+ miles
Today wasn’t about cycling, but it was about traveling.
Up before dawn, we were shuttled to the port at Chau Doc to board our Hang Chau Express boat for the 6 hour trip to Phnom Penh. Initially worried that 6 hours on a small boat kitted out with airline type seats (think EasyJet without the Orange) would be purgatory, but tiredness saved the day. Can’t tell you a thing about the journey apart from this:
It was a very wide river
The boat went fast
With all windows and doors open it was cool
We stopped at the Vietnamese border post & changed money.
5 minutes later we stopped at the Cambodian border post and were counted by an official where
The flag on the boat changed from Vietnamese to Cambodian, as did the crew. 🇻🇳🇰🇭
For the rest of the time, dear friends I was out like a light, sparko, comatose, dead asleep, so we could have passed the 7 Wonders of the World & Buddha himself, for all I knew.
On arrival at Phnom Penh, we had lunch in a fantastic waterside restaurant and then had the choice to go straight to hotel for bike fitting or visit The National Museum (unfortunately Royal Palace was closed to visitors as the King & Queen Mum were celebrating a Buddhist holy day). For those girls looking for a Prince Charming, don’t bother wearing a glass slipper to a ball at the Silver Pagoda, the King is unmarried, in his 60’s and is a classical ballet teacher, his father said ‘he loves women as sisters’.
The National Museum is small and our tour concentrated on statuary from the Angkor Wat era. Our guide was a funny & fascinating lady, who had been orphaned at 11 by the Khmer Rouge and was sent to work in the rice fields. The museum was abandoned during this period and a huge colony of bats moved in. After the defeat of the Khmer Rouge, the museum had lost many artefacts from theft but also irreparable damage to exhibits made by the bat droppings.
After our tour we returned to the hotel for dinner and then jumped into a Tuktuk for a trip to the night market. As with most markets, full of tat, but a small couple of purchases made and we were also entertained by what looked like ‘Phnom Penh’s Got Talent’ on a central stage. A couple of Cambodian rappers were so good I would have bought their CD.
So tomorrow we get a bit of a lie in, breakfast at 5.15 am, before a bus ride out of the city to the start of the final 3 days cycle to Siemens Reap!
Dawn at the port
The Royal Palace