The hotel was not too bad (surprisingly) the breakfast wasn’t great: a slice of bread and 2 fried eggs inside, and black tea. This was considered a luxury for the Viets. After breakfast we were brought to a port, which really wasn’t what it seemed. From there, we were told to wait for 1hr 30 min for a boat tour along the Mekong River so we can visit fish farmers, local tailors, and a mosque.
Honestly, after all we’ve been through, I didn’t give a damn. It was rough morning so I was pretty bitchy. All I wanted was to get to Cambodia. I already know the boat tour was gonna be rubbish.
Finally, after 1 hour and 30 min, we got on our very ordinary boat and saw lots of floating markets selling fish. We saw a fish seller who lived on a boat and under his boat was a cage where he breeded cat fish, which were quite voracious. I think it was mating season….He then exports the cat fish to other countries in Southeast Asia.
- Cat fishes take 3 years to grow into their adult size.
After the boat ride, we visited some religious communities in Vietnam. Buddhism is the #1 religion in Cambodia. However, there are also non-believers. About 80% are non-believers, 10% are Buddhists, and 7% Catholic. The 3% are a mix of protestants, hoahaoists, and Muslims.
We visited a mosque, which had a mini graveyard and a Koranic school for kids. We came back to the boat and sailed for 2 hours into this jungle-like river path and headed for the border to Cambodia. Surprisingly, people lived on that river. All were friendly. “Hello!”, they all said. We stopped at the customs office and gave $35 and a couple of ID pics and in return they gave us our 1 month tourist visa.
After border control, we sailed for an hour before a heavy tropical rain storm fell on us. We were like miserable people under the rain. 30 minutes later we reached our meeting point! After the boat, we caught a bus and passed through a village full of cows, chickens, goats, and much more. We made a pit stop there and there was an American girl who slipped and fell into cow shit. LOL. Eh, shit happens.
But it didn’t matter, we finally made it to Phnom Penh. The 6 hour journey + 1 hour:30 is finally over.
We reached our hotel, changed our currency and got myself a Cambodian SIM card.
We walked to Wat Phnom: their sacred hill with a buddhist temple on top. The beginning of the stairs there were temple guardians. The nagas. Seven headed cobras inspired from Hinduism and they were founded everywhere. It was a symbol of loyalty, protection, and defense. And also, they were suppose to spit fire at you if you have evil intentions.
The temple was small but beautiful. I learned that the country’s main religion was Mahāyāna Buddhism. It was basically Buddhism but with a Hindu twist.
As we walked down the streets, we noticed everything was written in 3 languages, Cambodian, English, and French. There were even French restaurants, resorts, and hotels. I couldn’t help but tried a french restaurant just because. It was pretty good and I was pleased to eat my native cuisine than Asian food.
Tomorrow we’ll explore the capital, Phnom Penh.