Siem Reap: West Baray, Curry Walla, and Onward to Sihanoukville!

11 July 2015, Saturday (Day 6 in Siem Reap)

The French hosts recommended us to check out West Baray – kind of near Angkor Wat – for a chill day and relaxation. It was exactly what I needed – some downtime.

Random: A peep into the 6-bed mixed dorm at Velkommen Guesthouse! I love that they have hot showers and air-con. I mean I can live without those but honestly I had too many cold shower days.
Random: A peep into the 6-bed mixed dorm at Velkommen Guesthouse! I love that they have hot showers and air-con. I mean I can live without those but honestly I had too many cold shower days. Only USD5/ night!

Walked over to Ann and Jacob’s guesthouse, hopped onto a tuk tuk and hired him for the afternoon (USD10, 3 – 4 hours). Asked him to bring us to a lunch spot before heading over to West Baray as I read online reviews that food there was pricey.

I’m glad we ate before we reached there cause the only food we saw were chicken skewers, bugs, and drinks! We would have starved there.

If you’re in Siem Reap, I’d recommend you to check the place out if you have no other plans! It’s a bit out of the way so you’ll need to hire a tuk tuk driver for a few hours – just like what you do for Angkor Wat. He’ll drive you there and wait for you till you’re done, and bring you back to wherever.

It’s basically a beach with lots of shaded hammock spots along the shore for you to sit and just chill, enjoy the breeze. There’re also tubes which I guess is for rental but we didn’t get into the waters.

I’d highly suggest you eat/ bring snacks before you get there. Jacob went to buy a drink and the guy wanted to charge him USD6 for the drink + 3 hammock spots which was a ripoff! I did read online beforehand that they’ll charge you USD1 for one person/ hammock so bargain it down if they’re trying to get more money from you!

Deep fried snack stall near their apartment! They had stuff like banana, sweet potato, taro, shrimps, etc.
Deep fried snack stall near their apartment! They had stuff like banana, sweet potato, taro, shrimps, etc.
Reached West Baray (reservoir)! It's apparently the largest baray? Not sure if it's in the world or in Siem Reap.
Reached West Baray (reservoir)! It’s apparently the largest baray? Not sure if it’s in the world or in Siem Reap.
Pretty. We were lucky it was sunny! Weather forecast said there would be showers.

Jacob thinks we take too many photos.
Jacob thinks we take too many photos.
Picked a perfect spot with noone disruptive around!
Picked a perfect spot with noone disruptive around!
We be chillin'.
We be chillin’.
Started to get restless and got all excited thinking about what to eat for dinner after about 2++ hours.
Started to get restless and got all excited thinking about what to eat for dinner after about 2++ hours.

Went back to the city to start on dinner! We had so many things we wanted to eat cause it was Ann and Jacob’s last day before they fly back to Bangkok the next day. Had to stuff ourselves silly cause who knows when’s the next time you’ll come back.

1st stop: Vietnamese!

Appetisers! Vietnamese noodle salad something something. I like the salad on the left, especially their peanut-ty sauce!
Appetisers! Vietnamese noodle salad something something. I like the salad on the left, especially their peanut-ty sauce!
Ann and Jacob stumbled into this random cheap Vietnamese place days ago and were pretty excited for me to check it out.
Ann and Jacob stumbled into this random cheap Vietnamese place days ago and were pretty excited for me to check it out.

2nd stop: Boat Noodles! (Thai)

Was exploring the streets and stumbled into this shop, partially cause Ann didn’t get a chance to eat boat noodles one last time when she was in Bangkok previously.

The portion is really small and one bowl is really cheap - 2,500riel! I'm thinking maybe on average a person has 8 bowls, thus the shop name. I could be wrong.
The portion is really small and one bowl is really cheap – 2,500riel! I’m thinking maybe on average a person has 8 bowls, thus the shop name. I could be wrong.

3rd stop: Angkor Pizza Tuk Tuk! (Western)

Jacob saw a similar mobile woodfire pizza tuk tuk a couple of days ago and we were lingering around the store for a pretty long time cause we couldn’t decide if we wanted to stomach some pizza. We had plans to head to Curry Walla because I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THEIR FOOD. I had it in 2013 and it was some of the best curry/ Indian food I have ever had and I’m not really a fan of Indian food.

After walking away reluctantly, we decided to go back and order a pizza cause… who knows when’s the next time you get to eat food out of a mobile woodfire pizza tuk tuk!

Angkor Pizza Tuk Tuk!
Angkor Pizza Tuk Tuk!
Pizza? Or Curry Walla? Pizza? Yes? No? Yes. GET SOME DAMN PIZZA!!!
Pizza? Or Curry Walla? Pizza? Yes? No? Yes. GET SOME DAMN PIZZA!!!

The chef previously worked at a hotel (I think or maybe restaurant) making pizzas too! Now he owns his own pizzeria.
The chef previously worked at a hotel (I think or maybe restaurant) making pizzas too! Now he owns his own pizzeria.

Devouring the delicious, fresh pizza by the roadside! That was the last meal we had. We were sadly too stuffed for Curry Walla.
Devouring the delicious, fresh pizza by the roadside! That was the last meal we had. We were sadly too stuffed for Curry Walla.

After this meal, we walked around a little to digest our food and that’s where we parted ways. I spent a good four days with Ann and Jacob. I guess sometimes things happen for a reason and I’m glad we all had a chance to cross paths again and make more memories! We just might meet again in Melbourne in a couple of months’ time but that’s still an open plan.


12 July 2015, Sunday

Boy, was I all pooped out from all the activities the past few days. I took my day slow and easy and decided to head to Curry Walla to relive some memories!!!

Trudged in the heat from the guesthouse to the restaurant. The walk is worth the food! I ordered exactly the same as what I had two years ago – Butter Chicken Curry (comes with rice) + Garlic Naan (four pieces). I love garlic bread of sorts!!! I get pretty excited when I talk about Curry Walla cause the food is absolutely delicious! I raved about it in my Instagram as well.

It’s a bit pricey, but I would say it’s worth the price. I had it for lunch and I didn’t eat the rest of the day cause I was so stuffed.

Kind of forgot about the portion so when the food came, I was a little worried I had over ordered. BUT NAH, I USUALLY ALWAYS FINISH MY FOOD. I just didn’t finish all the rice. I took some so it wouldn’t be a waste.

The Butter Chicken and Garlic Naan! (!!!)
The Butter Chicken and Garlic Naan! (!!!)

Too distracted, talking about food. I forgot to mention that now that Ann and Jacob left, I needed to plan the next leg of my trip. Of which I decided the morning itself. I would explore somewhere new and take a sleeper bus the next day down south to Sihanoukville! I honestly didn’t do any research about the place and had no idea what was in store for me. All I did was search for hostels near the bus terminal so I could save on transport cost when I reached there.

Bought my bus ticket for I think USD13, and then I had my late lunch.

Went back to the guesthouse after stuffing my face and just hung area and rested.


13 July 2015, Monday

The sleeper bus to Sihanoukville was at 7pm, which meant I had one whole day to kill (uurgh).

Packed up my stuff, washed up and all, and headed out to fill my tummy. No prizes for guessing where I went for lunch… again. CURRY WALLA!!! YUMMY.

Wanted to have the Butter Chicken again but decided to try something new - Chicken Tikka Masala! Not forgetting my fav Garlic Naan. Perfect meal to last me the whole day/ night!
Wanted to have the Butter Chicken again but decided to try something new – Chicken Tikka Masala! Not forgetting my fav Garlic Naan. Perfect meal to last me the whole day/ night!

Went back to the guesthouse around 4++pm. Oh, so I realised that I lost one side of my sports shoe. The day when I went mountain biking with Ann, I left my muddy shoes outside the guesthouse to dry cause I didn’t want to dirty the floor. I kind of expected my shoes to go missing and after leaving it a day too long outside, the right side of my shoe disappeared

I don’t think it was stolen cause the thief would’ve taken both shoes. Probably a dog took it. OH WELL.

Washed up, took off my contacts, and I was ready to be picked up.

Pick-up was surprisingly early – came at 5.55pm when it stated 6.00pm – 6.45pm. The driver tried to get me to take his brother’s tuk tuk to my destination when I reached Sihanoukville for USD6. Declined his offer cause I found it too pricey, especially if I was going to bear the full cost of it on my own! He wasn’t too pleased.

Picked up four other backpackers and we were brought to the bus company’s office (Virak Buntham) to wait for the bus.

So amused by the sleeper bus' layout! I have never seen such a quaint bus. We had to remove our slippers before getting on board. There are like two levels of "bunk beds" lining the sides of the bus. I was pretty thrilled to be on the ride!
So amused by the sleeper bus’ layout! I have never seen such a quaint bus. We had to remove our slippers before getting on board. There are like two levels of “bunk beds” lining the sides of the bus. I was pretty thrilled to be on the ride!
Wasn't too sure if the window seat would be more comfortable than the aisle. Didn't have a lot of leg room cause I had to share it with my bag.
Wasn’t too sure if the window seat would be more comfortable than the aisle. Didn’t have a lot of leg room cause I had to share it with my bag.

So when I booked my ticket, I was told it’d be a direct bus from Siem Reap to Sihanoukville.

  • Departure: 7.00pm
  • Arrival: 6.00am

No one mentioned that THERE WOULD BE TONS OF STOPS ALONG THE WAY. There was another option where you can take the 10.30pm bus, stop at Phnom Penh at 2.00am to change bus, and reach Sihanoukville at 6.00am. Why would I want to wake up and stop at 2.00am?!

WELL. After a dinner stop, the bus made lots of stops along the way to drop off and pick up locals. Soon, I found out the hard way that the bus stopped at Phnom Penh as well around 12++am. The staff were yelling for people heading to Ho Chi Minh to do a bus transfer. And in exchange, other people came up the bus.

Yellow bus waiting for passengers to head to Ho Chi Minh.
Yellow bus waiting for passengers to head to Ho Chi Minh.

Oh goodness I barely got any proper sleep cause the bus lights were turned on every stop they made. Not complaining though. I welcome every interesting experience with open arms.

What was really surprising is that we reached Sihanoukville earlier than expected! Plus, it started pouring pretty heavily in the morning. For that, I respect them for their time management.


That’s pretty much the end of my Siem Reap leg. More on Sihanoukville in my next post.

Till then!


 

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