On Saturday, Dave and La took me sightseeing in La’s old Land Rover Lightweight, a former Dutch military vehicle.
Friday was the last scheduled day of my 10-day tour but I picked up a stomach bug on Thursday that kept me close to the hotel through most of Friday. By the afternoon, when there were no signs of improvement, I turned to my supply of antibiotics to sort out the problem.
As a result the stomach bug, none of the planned sightseeing took place on Friday. However, in a demonstration of how flexible and accommodating Dave and La are, they offered to do the sightseeing on Saturday instead.
I had already decided not to ride the bike on the last day of the tour, so I was able to at least use my day of hotel-confinement to clean up my riding gear and remove most of the mud and dust that had accumulated.
On Saturday morning, I was feeling much better and met with Dave and La to head out for the morning. We had the opportunity to use La’s air-conditioned Lexus but he had his Lightweight parked outside. I expressed my preference, and off we went in the Land Rover – with Dave bumping about on the hard bench in the back.
We drove out from Siem Reap and headed to the Tonle Sap Lake – the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia. We rented a boat to take us to view the Chong Khneas floating village on the lake. The size of the floating village is huge, and is hard to capture in photographs – and we only visited a small part of it. There are also floating shops and businesses on the tributary leading to the lake that serve the villagers.
As we headed out to the lake, it was interesting to see the various buildings along the shore and the different boats being used.
Video clip: Young boy operating his long-tail boat
Video: Panorama clip, showing the size of the floating village
Video: Women in ‘floating cafe’ boat
After the boat tour, we headed back to town with a brief stop along the way to photograph some houses on stilts.
Once back in Siem Reap, Dave and I headed to a restaurant for lunch and to exchange photos from the tour. By the time we had finished, it was 3.00pm. Dave offered other activity options to round out the day, but I chose to return to the hotel and relax for a while.
I’ve had an excellent time in Cambodia. I really enjoyed the Kickstart tour and the guys (Dave and La) couldn’t have done more to ensure that I was having a good time. Riding with Dave was like being with a friend, rather than a tour guide. Having never ridden off-road before, I was very happy with the progress that I made.
This morning (Sunday), Dave and La drove me to the airport. I’m now sitting in the Bangkok Airport, waiting for my connection to Chiang Mai. It has been a heck of a trip already, but it is only half done. I still have a motorcycle tour in Thailand, as well as a visit to Laos to come.
Life is good!