Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Back from Paradise - Kep, Kampot and Sihanoukville

Last week was officially the most relaxing week ever. Mum and I drove down to Kep and stayed in a gorgeous house in the mountains. Kep is a beautiful little town down south where the mountains meet the sea, it's quiet and there are very few tourists. We stayed there for 5 nights and made trips in the Jeep regularly to Kampot about 25km from Kep. The Jeep was a must as the road to town was pretty bad but made for good entertainment. Kampot is another small town on the river that is just as laid back with some great cafes. We managed to make a trip up to Bokor which is still open even though it has officially been sold off to developers who are just beginning to redevelop the area to build a 5 star resort. We took a pick up truck from town up to the hill station. It was a long trip which was made even longer when everyone had to get out and push the truck through knee deep mud. But we made it all the same and it was well worth it. The atmosphere was incredibly eerie this time of year with clouds rolling across the mountain and through the ruins. The peak was full of scattered ruins from the French colonial period. The most impressive was the Bokor casino and church. During the war the Vietnamese were stationed in the old casino and the Khmer Rouge in the church where they battled back and forth which would explain the bullet holes in all the buildings and the landmines in the surrounding areas. So far everything has pretty much remained untouched, but unfortunately not for too much longer. On the way back we stopped off at a waterfall before taking a boat trip along the river and back to town. The next day the weather cleared up enough so we decided to chance it and drive to Sihanoukville. It was well worth it with a day of beautiful beach weather. There was nothing more relaxing than sitting back in the sand and soaking up the sun. We drove back to Phnom Penh on Sunday which was easy enough until you reach the city limits and the traffic is insane. Welcome home.



Bokor Hill Station

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