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Kompong Cham, Kratie, and weeee’re ouutttaaa heeere

February 25th, 2011 by

Kompong Cham is a town that nobody visits. Which is kind of sad, because it’s lovely, but also nice…the town is mercifully left alone and it continues on with its normal non-touristy business.

The big attraction in KC is the bamboo bridge.Crossing the bamboo bridge Locals build it every year by hand after the wet season! You might wonder how much a bamboo bridge can fit. A few pedestirans? A couple crazy moto drivers? All this and more…like a van. When a vehicle drove past us on our bikes, we had to edge ourselves to the side of the bamboo, hovering and wavering over the Mekong River. Awesome!

The bridge leads to an island that has to be the friendliest place on Earth. Wait, is that Disney’s bullshit theme? Disney has nuthin’ on this town—the kids dashed out of their houses, big grins on their faces, shouting HELLO and waving wildly to us. It was amazing–we felt like ┬árock stars.

One thing we got used to in Cambodia was being on Cambodian bus time. If they tell you a bus takes 5 hours, it’s more like 7. So our 4/6 hour bus ride north lands us in Kratie, another small Mekong town but the big draw here was freshwater dolphins. The Irrawaddys are on the verge of extinction, sadly, so protection methods are in effect i.e. no more fishing on this particular stretch of the river. We took a small boat out and surprisingly saw quite a few (fast) glimpses of grey silver and heard water bursting out of blowholes. Our boat driver offered to take us up the river to a swimming hole for $3. Yes!

Swim break after dolphin watchingWe rented another moto that day, and man it is nice to have our own wheels. Moto-rin'.

We wonder about getting a scooter for Madison. Would drivers make way for us? Would it be too cold for most of the year? Things to consider…

After Kratie we took the quickest route to Phnom Pehn–“4″ hours via mini-bus. I had visions of getting a good seat. HA! We got crammed in the back, natch, and started counting how many people they could fit in our built-for-11 van. 19! (We were a little sad we didn’t reach the 20 threshold. Just for record keeping’s sake.) As soon as Ryan and I piled in the locals started snickering at us (still not sure why, but we just smiled) and whispering “farang.” Sometimes we are hilarious and we don’t even try!

We were sad to leave Cambodia. It is truly a special country and I know this won’t be our last time here.Sunset over the Mekong

Next up, Vietnam!

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