Mar 29 11

Adventures on Rabbit Island

by Emily Benjamin

Seeing as the internet is so so fast here at our beautiful hotel in Phnom Penh, I thought I might share a few recent photos of us that haven’t made it onto the main page. Hopefully you will all note that the skies are (mostly) blue, the delta was green, the water is crystal clear, and that our tans are developing nicely!

– Em :)

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Filed Under → Words
Mar 26 11

Phu Quoc Island

by Emily Benjamin

I remember seeing a photo on Travelfish while researching our trip to South East Asia and thinking “I want to go to there!” (thank you, Liz Lemon!) ¬†With some further investigation I discovered that the island I was seeing was Phu Quoc Island, so far south and west of the bottom of Vietnam, that the Cambodians believe it should belong to them. I can see their point – when we arrived in Kep, on the Cambodian coast, a few days later, you can plainly see that Phu Quoc lies much closer to the Cambodian coastline than to Vietnam. But politics aside, it’s a gorgeous, undeveloped gem – an alternative to the busy Thai islands, and a great option for a weekend getaway in the Gulf of Thailand. Unfortunately I spent far too much time sleeping, reading and enjoying the warm water, so there are hardly any photos to share… but here’s just a couple.IMG 9097OutputIMG 9065

Filed Under → Travel
Mar 26 11

When a chair is not a chair…

by Emily Benjamin

Tickets, please.

We’re in seats 79 and 80.

Ok, up the front, next to driver. One sit up front, one on bench.

Ummm….?

Realising that the rows of seats only made it to 78 at the back of the boat, we knew we were in for another interesting transport experience. We arrived early enough for this one – a boat ride from the east coast of Phu Quoc Island to Ha Tien, back on the mainland of Vietnam, right near the border of Cambodia – hoping that would give us priority seating for once, maybe even a window with fresh air. But alas, we were given the last two numbered seats on the boat… and someone was already sitting in one of our seats.

She looked pretty angry. She wasn’t going to move. The assistant didn’t even make an attempt to move her, or explain why she was in one of our seats. Perhaps she had also taken one look at this woman’s face and decided to leave her in peace. An hour later, while breathing deeply to avoid sea sickness, I’d be hoping that she would leave me in peace – the old witch kept falling asleep and collapsing on top of me, threatening to knock me from my precarious position at the front of the boat.

This seat wasn’t my first preference. I’d started out with a third of the captain’s seat all to myself. There were no other spare seats – in fact, I think they had sold seats 79 & 80 to at least fourteen different people, as evidenced by the overflowing cabin and plastic chairs being handed out for people in the aisle. The captain’s seat had some padding, but it was still uncomfortable. At least there was a view up front, so I could keep an eye on the horizon and try to settle my queasy stomach.

Twenty minutes into the ninety minute trip and Jamie felt queasy too. I switched seats with him, and became the human pillow for the old witch. How she was able to sleep while sitting sideways, on a hard wooden bench, in the turbulent conditions, I’ll never know. There were a few others that managed a nap as well – I was jealous.

Finally we made it to Ha Tien. We wait now for our Cambodian visas to be approved and completed, then we set off for Kep, on the coast of Cambodia. We’ve booked accommodation there for one night – for only $8. And with a now less queasy stomach, I am happy – for there will be no more boat trips in south east Asia.

– Em :)

Filed Under → Words
Mar 26 11

Vietnam to Cambodia

by Emily Benjamin

After 3 weeks, it’s time to say goodbye to the coastal country of Vietnam and jump the border into Cambodia. We’ve covered most of the length of Vietnam – from Hanoi and Halong Bay to Saigon and Phu Quoc Island – and it seemed to get better the further south you went. Maybe because the weather improved, or because we had more beach time in the second and third weeks – either way I’m glad we had the time to see so much of the country.

Today we depart Phu Quoc Island for Kep, which is just over the border in Cambodia. To do this, we catch a taxi from our hotel on the western side of the island over to the eastern side, take a ninety minute boat ride to Ha Tien, a border town on the coast Vietnam, then get a minibus across the border, sign all the necessary paperwork, and arrive in Kep by mid afternoon.

With only 11 days left until we need to head back to Thailand for our next flight, it was time to make a decision about where to spend out time in Cambodia. After much deliberation, it was decided to focus our time mainly in Phnom Penh and Siam Reap, with 3 days at the beginning in Kep and Rabbit Island. Unfortunately we’ll miss Sihounakville and Battambang, two places that we’ve heard really good things about, but seeing the Killing Fields in Phnom Penh and Angkor Wat in Siam Reap get priority so we’ll just have to come back to Cambodia another time!

– Em :)

Filed Under → Words
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