Crossroads and cross guards

“You can all proceed, but he needs to stay here”

It was a gloriously warm and sunny day when we travelled up the Mekong and crossed into Cambodia from Vietnam. The boat was uncomfortable and we were already behind schedule. Our eVisa did, however, permit us easy entry. Sadly one of the other passengers wasn’t so lucky.

He was from a country which didn’t send many visitors here, and the grumpy border guards wanted to spend more time checking his application. This, we were told, could take a very long time. Unfortunately this border post was many miles from anywhere and the only way in or out was by the very occasional boat. We voted to stay as one group.

Having now made it into Cambodia, and without an abandoned fellow tourist on our conscience, we set out to explore Phnom Penh and then Siem Reap and Angkor Wat. In retrospect, we should have spent longer in Cambodia and visited the country’s beautiful but relatively undiscovered beaches.

On a very strict budget, we pedalled our way around the immense site of Angkor Wat on rickety bikes, comically holding up umbrellas whilst we balanced the handlebars with the other hand amidst a tropical downpour. Tuk-tuks, motorbikes and cars occasionally roared by, making us realise how wonderfully serene it was to see Angkor Wat by pedal power.

Putting together this itinerary was a breeze, thanks to the availability of an online bus booking system. Cambodia seems to have become much easier to plan since we visited. As with most of my itineraries, this one can be plugged in to another – treat Cambodia as a crossroads and enter Phnom Penh from Vietnam, visit Laos (for which I’ve yet to create an itinerary) or Thailand from Siem Reap and just keep going and going and going…

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