It was 4.00 am when i heard the alarm clock, but i was not ready to wake up jet. We went to sleep after midnight so 4 hours was not enough at all and i needed at least half an hour more. So at 4.30 we were up preparing for the journey. We were not completely packed so it took some time before all the bags were on the bikes and we were ready to go.
Instead of 5.00am we left half an hour later. It was hard to leave Happy Guest House. A very cozy and friendly place which was our home for the last 2 weeks. Our first stop was just around the corner where we bought some fresh and still warm baguettes and continue to the market on the edge of town.
The road was already busy and it was not even 6.00 am. We stopped on the market and Mirko went to find some fruits and vegetables. It was a hard mission. He had to pass through smelly and muddy part of the market where they were selling fish and meat before he found what he was looking for. He bought some tomatoes, cucumbers and a bunch of bananas.
The sun was already up and we left Siem Reap riding into the sunrise. There was a lot of traffic on the road. Trucks, cars, tuk-tuk’s, ox carts, motorbikes and a lot of students cycling to school in both directions. Was nice to be on the road observing the town waking up.
Soon enough we were on the countryside enjoing the day and beautiful surroundings.
We passed few villages before we came to Dam Daek where was the cross towards Tonle Sap lake and the floating village we wanted to visit. On the way to Dam Daeng some 6 km before we saw villagers making and selling Krolan -sticky rice mixed with coconut and beans and cooked in bamboo tubes. Was nice to see how they were making it. It was delicious, fresh and still warm. We payed 2000 Riel – 0.50$ for a piece and had a short break munching on our favorite snack.
The crossroad towards the lake was not far anymore. I was excited to go and see the floating village which was 16km from the main road towards the lake. In a dry season you can reach the village of Kampong Khleang by the small road, but now the water level of the lake was so high we would need to take the boat for the last few km.
Before we turned right at the crossroad and started to cycle towards the lake, we stopped for a fresh coconut juice and the last piece of happy pizza Mirko was saving for the trip. It was so nice and quiet on this little road passing through small villages and observing everyday life of Khmer people. It felt like time was slowing down, and I was enjoying the feeling of it
I knew we would have to cycle 15km back on the same road, but i didn’t mind. I felt great and enjoyed every km of it.
We came to a place where few boats were standing and it looked like there was also some kind of check point. The police guy told us we can only take the boat from here and not from the village few km down the road. He said we would have to pay a pentalty if we were to take another boat
The price was 20$ per person. We didn’t understand why we couldn’t take the boat from the village and support the villagers which didn’t have any customers beacause of that.
The road ahead of us still looked good so we wanted to see how far we could go. We didn’t really like the rules and decided to cycle till the end of the road.
The road was getting narrow and in some point it turned to a dirt road, than a path which was getting worse and muddy until the point we had to stop and turn back. I think that the path eventually disappeared into the lake.
I started to feel the piece of happy pizza we ate before coming here enjoying the place where we found ourselves – a small village in the end of the world. It was the middle of the day now and it was geting very hot, so we turned around and started to cycle back to the main road. We decided to skip the boat journey and leave it for the next time.
By the time we came back to the crossroad it was the hottest part of the day. We had a good rest and a very refreshing coconut in a small restaurant by the side of the road where we waited for the heat to pass. When the heat of the day was over we sit on the bikes again and make few more km before the day was over.
When the sun was setting we reached Kouk Thlok Kraom, a very small town known for its ancient bridge Spean Kompong Kdey which is the largest and most important of 11 remaining ancient bridges.
We found the Guest House which i think was the only one here. It is located few hundred meters behind the bridge on the right side. We payed 4$, had shower and went for the dinner.
We had the best fried vegetables with rice. Very big portion of veggies with a big pot of rice for only 3$. I was tired and had just enough energy to reach the bed and fall asleep.