During our Cambodia trip, we decided to travel from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh by road. The other options were by flight (too expensive) and by boat (closed in this season due to water levels); hence we decided to go by road. The journey takes about 6 – 6.5 hours (so you lose about half a day in travel) but the roads are very good and the journey is pretty comfortable. The side benefit is – you get to see the pretty country-side and also how the majority population of this country stays and survives.
The drive through this region is very serene, beautiful and interesting. There are miles and miles of rural scenes with green paddy fields, typical bamboo houses, cattle, traps to catch locusts, local rural markets with interesting wares, etc etc. Sharing a few of those scenes that have been captured through the lens of instagram –
But what we thought was the most interesting, were the following couple of things –
The local bamboo houses here are typical of this region. These houses are built at a height with bamboo or concrete which acts as “legs” for the house. Earlier I thought that the houses were built at a height to save them from floods but then our guide told us that it was not necessarily so. It was also for more space which can be utilised for multiple purposes – as a parking space for the vehicles, dining area for the family, party place for special occasions, general sleeping area (all you need to do is tie a hammock and you are set), storage area etc etc. Basically space for any and everything. In some places the road is at a height and the ground is below, so the houses have been built on the level of the road (with the help of bamboo legs) and there is a small bridge built to connect the road to the house. It is an absolutely amazing and must see sight. unfortunately I don’ have pics of such houses. 😦
During our drive, we also saw another curious sight which we couldn’t decipher. There was small rectangular enclosures filled with water. This had a gate kind of thing built-in the centre with a tube light on the top and a cascading plastic sheet reaching the water. For the life of us we couldn’t understand what it was. Then our guide in Phnom Penh told us that it was for catching locusts as it’s the locust season. The lights attract the locusts, they then slip on the plastic and get trapped in the water below.
Apart from this along the way there is the Kompong Kdei Bridge which was built by King Jayavarman VII in the early 13th century but is still used today by the main Siem Reap to Phnom Penh road. I was so amazed by the fact that something built-in the 13th century has managed to survive for so long and still be in use.
So if you find yourself anytime in Cambodia then be sure to ditch that easy flight connection and try this road journey. It is very beneficial to your pocket as well your travel crazy mind. 🙂