Tuesday – Bokor Hill Station and fireflies

This has to have been my favorite day of the trip so far

Woke up at about 6.30 (this was not so great) early, but the morning was cool so nice to get up and shower without being too hot and sweaty!!

Had jobs to do, go to the ATM – lovely and air conditioned, get breakfast – as I had plenty of time I went to Captain Chim’s, a family-run place, they serve great food, but the service is really slow! More veg noodle soup – yum

They also rent motos, but they were out, so took me across the road and they said they’d get me one. It eventually arrived, they took my passport as a deposit and off I went to find my friends guesthouse. Kampot is tiny, and the great thing about the random Cambodian driving is that you can stop anywhere and no one bothers, so after much map checking I found them. On the way I discovered that my brakes didn’t really work, so once the guys were ready we went back, had a bit of a discussion about yes, they do work when bike is stationery, but when it’s moving with me on it and a car to avoid, they don’t work! So passport returned and off to another place, much better brakes, filled up at the petrol station $4 all the way to the top.

Mint, the girl, had hired a man to drive her as she wasn’t comfortable driving her own moto, it was great as we didn’t need to worry about finding the way!

The drive to the top is just under 40km, a quick bit along the main road and then winding our way up and up.

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Not sure how long we’d been going for but we turned a corner to be greeted by this

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A stunning sight against the blue sky. Was also next to the first of the abandoned buildings – the black palace that was once the king’s. A very modest place, no more than a small house.

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Further up we arrived a the entrance to an area that is now run by a huge hotel/casino complex, we had to pay 2000 reil/$0.50 each to enter. The new complex is hated by most as a monstrosity and judging by the massive car park and v few cars not as popular as hoped. They now control the area on a 99 year lease and have stopped people being able to stay up there and cleared all the food stalls, one of which our moto driver and his family used to run. We did have a look inside though and use their nice toilets! Johnny, an american, after I commented that it was no Vegas described the casino as more Atlantic City, not sure what it’s like there, but disappointing was my impression!

So after a brief stop there we headed further up to see what we’d come all that way for, the abandoned hill station. There’s debate if you look on TripAdvisor and many other places as to whether the cleaning up of the old casino has ruined it, but for us it was a beautiful building with the most amazing views and the church with its orange lichen was incredible. So, if I was to rate it I’d say it was completely worth the effort, amazing buildings and equally incredible views – what wasn’t to love?

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We then decided to go take a look at the waterfall, apparently not the most impressive, but the first of my trip 🙂

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We then had our long journey back down. Johnny and I had petrol worries, my moto was still saying full whereas his was half empty. What was correct? The answer was both, they only seem to have 3 readings – full, half and empty, and not long after mine hit half it then dropped to empty.

Johnny and I did a lot of coasting down the hill just in case, but this was great as it meant we had plenty of time to take in the views and really enjoy the ride.

We got back into town around 3pm and it was time for food. Went to a place called Veronicas and I had scrambled eggs and baguette and a watermelon juice – delicious

At 5pm we went for a sunset boat ride along the river and then firefly spotting. Didn’t really spot that many, but did some great star gazing just lying on the boat.

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It was just after 7 when we got back so we headed for food somewhere random, but I foolishly spotted that they served Kampot rum and vodka. Johnny and I agreed to try it – 1 white pepper, 1 black.

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I had the black first which was nice but it set your mouth alight! Johnny said the white was horrible, I thought in the same way as the black, but no. After much laughter at how horrible it was and more laughter that we still had the other to try I learnt the the white was horrible in a taste way! No amount of tooth brushing made the taste go!!

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