5:30 – Awake
6:30 – Downstairs for a baguette breakfast
6:45 – Goodbye to the friendly staff at the Sawasdee Angkor Hotel in Siem Reap & minivan to the bus station.
7:15 – Arrival at bus station, which is a loose term. More like a line of old buses in the mud next to the road somewhere.
7:30 to 1:30 – Ride to Phnom Penh. Hard to sleep, but some beautiful countryside. Saw hogs as big as bears.
1:35 – Secure a tuk-tuk ride to the central bus station to catch the late bus to Takeo, our destination. It has started raining like mad.
1:50 – Tuk-tuk driver pulls over and tries to get us to take a taxi, saying there are no more buses. We politely advise that we know better and we do not want a taxi.
2:05 – Arrival at ‘Central Station’ which is an outlet for the same bus company we rode to Phnom Penh in. They advise no more buses. We explain we are going to volunteer at an orphanage and that we need to get to the Central Market Station to get a bus. They are non-plussed. After talking to many people and being rather vehemently insistent, we are driven away.
2:10 to 2:40 – Much slower ride through Phnom Penh, as our driver seems to have lost his will to fight the RIDICULOUS traffic. We had read that the last bus left at 3:00 and we’re pretty confident he was trying to make us late.
2:40 – Having secured tickets for the 4:00 bus, we wait at the station. Indi buys a baguette that has a surprise fishy filling. Awfulest surprise ever.
3:45 – We board the small, non-AC bus headed to Takeo. Aside from a middle-aged British woman who spoke fluent Khmer, we are the only non-locals.
6:20 – Darkness has fallen when we arrive in Takeo. We are greeted by several enthusiastic motorbike and tuk-tuk drivers, even through it’s an extremely small town. A taxi driver tells us he knows where the orphanage is, and we hop in. His friend also hops in.
6:25 to 6:35 – Scariest taxi ride of my life. We drove slightly out of town and when we tried to tell the driver that we were going the wrong way, both feigned they didn’t speak English, when they’d just been conversing with us. After being very insistent, we had them take us to a guesthouse that had been listed near the volunteer center.
6:40 – After trying to ask the non-English speaking guesthouse staff where the Orphanage was, a white guy on a bike rides by. He is a volunteer, and gladly leads us to the center, which is just a block away. We are relieved.
Once we get there, we meet the owner, Neville, and are given the basics. There are about a dozen volunteers at the moment from all around the globe. We all went out for karaoke to celebrate some long-timers leaving the next day. At about midnight, we got back in and went to sleep.
That, my friends, is our day trip from Siem Reap to Takeo, Cambodia.