Slow Boat to Siem Reap

20 12 2008

Sangker River, Cambodia

Despite what you may think, we didn’t really have any desire to go to Siem Reap. We knew that the temples of Angkor were supposed to be one of the most amazing sites on earth, but whenever we thought of those temples the images always included hordes of tourists. After traveling for so long we have become strongly averse to hordes of tourists and generally try to avoid them. So when we decided that we wanted to go to Cambodia, our plan specifically excluded Siem Reap. Another reason that I didn’t want to go there is because I heard that the 4+ hour bus ride was full of bone-jarringly bad roads and that the only alternative route was by boat. A boat that safely holds 50 people and was routinely packed with 75. But one day we were chatting with our hotel owner in Battambang and he was saying that Cambodia and specifically the temples in Angkor were losing thousands of tourists a day due to the Bangkok airport being closed. He said that last week the boat to Siem Reap had only 25 people on it. When I expressed my apprehension about boats in Southeast Asia having a bad reputation when it came to floating, he laughed and said that the water was only about 5 ft deep and the most I would have to worry about would be water quality. And so we changed our plans. Read the rest of this entry »