Travel Notes from Kampong Phluk, Cambodia

11:00:00 AM Jerik De Guzman 0 Comments


Why do i feel so lazy around Siem Reap all the time? I joked how maybe too much iron in the water makes one just so damn sleepy all the time. It didn't help that out of six people in my dorm room, five loved sleeping so much. Maybe, that's why we bonded a lot. ha ha

Every single morning when we wake up, we would always tell each other, "the best part about waking up is you can sleep again." 

But thankfully, i was able to bring up my lazy ass back on the road. Bun Nak was there to pick me up from the Siem Reap Hostel where I've been staying for days now. He asked me where i wanted to go. Of course, i had the same response. I said, "no idea". 

As we scoot his Yamaha towards Road 6, i saw how a few minutes away from Siem Reap and the surroundings already look more rural. This is the kind of trip i was looking forward to doing. I told Bun Nak that i don't want tourists in sight because i wanted to immerse myself to the local culture of Khmers. I have the hostel to hang out with fellow travelers, anyway. I am also a fan of hiring a guide or driver to take me around so i get first dibs on where local people go, what they love, etc. 

As we approached towards the end of the road, the potholes become even more apparent, and i had once trouble finding my seat on his back because i was constantly moving from left to right. But the scenery made up for it. The rice paddies were so green, you want to touch the grass. Be careful though as some parts are still not cleared of land mines. There were old farmers tending their lots, and lots of little kiddos jumping around as we rip the side road. 

We got lucky, as during this time of the day, novice monks would often chant and meditate to where the sun is showing. We approached them by the green mossy rice paddies and watched from afar how such difference there is with their culture and traditions as compared to mine. 

After which, we headed straight to the great unknown where the roads become narrower, and people more shy. They would often smile in excitement when they hear the sound of a motorcycle approaching, and with a GoPro toting dude who happens to look like Khmer pass them by.

At one point, i saw the mighty Cambodian hot air balloon, and how sensitive happy kids play around as the big balloon floats in the air. By this time, Bun Nak and I stopped over for a quick ciggie break and just admire how these people are able to shell out $100 for the ride. If i am not mistaken, we passed by about five quiet little villages, one of which is even older than Angkor Wat. That made me even more excited, and i feel so happy that Bun Nak was there to give me a glimpse of how two local Khmer friends get excited ripping the enigmatic highways of Cambodia. 

The sun was about to set, and so off we go to supposedly to the stilt houses. Unfortunately, the river water was too low and so boats cannot operate at this time of the year. We continued our cruise and found a lone pagoda sitting by the hill in another village. What's fortunate is that there's nobody there but a few monks after prayer. It's a lovely pagoda with multi-colored Buddhas surrounding the extreme points of moat. Bun Nak said it's an oldie but being renovated now by the local government.

The Road 6 at dawn was a mess. Construction on the roads were happening, and every time a large car or bus passes us by, the thick smog mixed with suffocating smell of unfinished road envelopes the air. 

But this is Cambodia. I didn't go back here to be amazed of their fine high rise buildings, because there's none. Neither did i go back to experience luxury through their air conditioned cafes. Cambodia is a third world country with heaps of 1st rate adventurous things to do. And it's probably the reason why i came back second time around. 

Lo and behold, i extended my stay in Siem Reap where i finally got to visit Kampong Phluk where locals live by the Tonle Sap Lake in their awesome stilt houses. 

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