We awoke to the sound of torrential rain failing outside.  This changed our plan to walk to the bus stop, with a last minute call for a taxi. When we arrived at the bus stop, which had now turned into a small river, we grabbed our bags to find shelter while we waited for the bus to be ready for boarding. As the departure time drew closer we checked with the attendant which bus was ours before carting our bags through the drenching rain to have them stowed. Unfortunately, as we boarded we were told this wasn’t the correct bus requiring us to remain in the downpour while we transferred our luggage to the correct bus. We left Ho Chi Minh soaking wet, made worse with the buses freezing air-conditioner but happy to finally be on our way.

The journey was one of the better bus journeys we had endured, with refreshments and Wi-Fi on offer. We soon learnt how bad Cambodian roads were, filled with potholes and, at times, missing complete sections. Thankfully, before long, we had arrived in Phnom Penh, caught a Tuktuk to our guesthouse and checked in.

With only a short stay in Phnom Penh we had no real plans, intending to spend the time we had just wandering the streets to see what we could find. Our feet soon brought us to the river and café strip, perfect for a late lunch and our first taste of Cambodian cuisine. The rest of the afternoon was spent along the streets of Phnom Penh, before finally heading back to the guesthouse for a few beers and an early night.

Up at 5am, packed and waiting, we were soon picked up and taken to the bus station for our next leg to Siem Reap. This was with the same company from the day before, offering the same level of service. The route had the typical poor quality roads that were so common in Cambodia but took us through some amazing countryside. Often the road would snake through the Mekong Delta, water on each side as far as you could see. When there were houses they would be stilted, amidst the river and most with their own water buffaloes keeping guard out the front. For those houses to far from the road, you would often see the inhabitants making their way by boat to where they needed to be.

On the approach to Siem Reap, as we made our way from the outskirts of the small city along one of the main roads, the change was quite apparent. Rubbish became more common (in contrast to Vietnam), the roads more dusty and filled with Tuktuks, Cambodian-style.

Our guesthouse, Tom and Jerry, was a short walk from the main tourist area, so once we were organised we headed off to see what the place had to offer. Just down the road we found a small bar that served food, ate our fill and got talking with some fellow backpackers from England and Ireland. As the night descended, the drinks started flowing more heavily and before long we were all best of friends. After numerous games of pool we decided to join them for dinner on the infamous “Pub Street”. Along the way, we came across a fellow Australian in the midst of purchasing a bag of fried crickets. With the help of beer, peer pressure and dumb curiosity, I took him up on the offer to try one. After overcoming the initial repulsion, taking my first bite, I was surprised at how tasty they were. A worthwhile experience even though I spent the next 15 minutes trying to get the tiny legs out of my teeth. We finally made our way to Pub Street for dinner, sampling some cobra while we were there, then spent the rest of the night moving from one pub to the next for a very late night.

With only two full days in Siem Reap we had hoped to see the Temples of Angkor on our first day. However, due to the previous nights shenanigans, lazing in bed seemed like a much better idea. After a nice long sleep in, we spent the afternoon exploring our surrounds, finding a travel agent for a tour the following day and transport to Bangkok the day after that. The evening found us at the Night Markets, stopping for dinner before browsing the various wares on offer.

We were picked up early by minibus, on our way to the Angkor temples, in a conveniently small group of two others and us. First stop, after purchasing our entry ticket, was at Angkor Wat. The temple complex was huge, with us entering the rear gate and catching our first glimpse of the main temple in the distance. Our guide informed us of the technical achievements of the construction, with the whole site being extremely symmetrical. With the hot sun beating down on us, Kayla sick and the crowds growing, we made our way through the cooler halls of the temple, admiring the bas-relief sculptures embedded in the walls.

We said our goodbyes to Angkor Wat and a happy hello to the air-conditioned minivan, waiting at the front gate ready to whisk us away to the Bayon temple. Here the focus was on the bas-relief sculptures themselves. Apparently, the Bayon temple contains some of the best bas-relief in the world, with extremely detailed stories being told on the walls of the ruin. Continuing on, we made our way to Angkor Thom, for some scenic views from it’s pyramidal top. With the noonday sun sapping our energy, we were all glad to make our way to lunch and a small respite from the heat. From here we headed to our final temple, Ta prohm, the temple made more famous by the Tomb Raider movie. This ruin was one of the highlights, helped in no small part due to it being shaded, but mostly due to the remarkable trees that were overtaking the dilapidated buildings. Initially from here we were meant to travel to a nearby mountain for sunset views, however clouds had rolled in, an ominous sky blocking any hopes for a mountain sunset. Returning to our guesthouse, we revisited the main streets of Siem Reap, saying our goodbyes and getting a few last minute photos before we left in the morning.