Phnom Penh and onto Vietnam (Saigon)
After exploring Siem Reap and the touring magnificent ruins of Angor Wat, we left Siem Reap by bus, to go to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. Pics in Siem Reap and on way to Saigon attached; hope you enjoy them.
Reach Phnom Penh in the afternoon, after 6hr bus ride from Siem Reap ($12/person). Stayed at a small boutique hotel and went into the city in the evening. The Mekong River goes thru the center of the capital, and the Khmers have built a nice boardwalk along the river; there were tons of people and families walking there on the boardwalk in the evening.
The Royal Palace faces the river, and looks grand and majestic. Felt like eating some Indian food, so researched and found a small Indian vegetarian restaurant (Corriander) and so tried it; good food but hot. Met a Guju couple there so had a good chat. Seems like there are plenty of Indians that live and work here, trading for a living.
Left the next morning for Saigon (Vietnam). Another 6 hr bus ride ($10/person). The countryside looked more affluent than on the countryside from Thailand border to Siem Reap. Don’t know why.
On the way, the bus stopped for a rest stop at a small town, and there was a very interesting insect market; see pics. I wanted to try them, but Dilshad insisted that I not try them as I could get sick, and that would ruin our trip. I saw her logic, and decide to give the insects a pass 🙂
The bus had to cross the Mekong river at a ferry crossing. Border crossing into Vietnam was again a 2 step process; exit Cambodia (fingerprinted again and picture taken again), and then entry into Vietnam. Not so chaotic and a little faster than the entry into Cambodia from Thailand.
Right after the border, Saigon (or Ho Chi Minh) City started, until the city center. Seems like Saigon has expanded a lot over the years. Got to the bus stop, and had the first rip off experience in Vietnam. Boarded a taxi with a meter; got to the hotel and were told it was a $30 ride. However, we had read that taxis are cheap in Saigon. So after getting the hotel receptionist to haggle with the “taxi” driver, the fare came down to $10. Turns out the “taxi” was not a real taxi, and the “meter” was rigged. Good intro to Vietnam.
More on Saigon next.