Having talked to a few people, who had already visited Cambodia, and hearing about the beggars and conditions in the town, we decided to go on an organised Tuk-Tuk tour.
After travelling in a recent luxury Tuk-Tuk in Lisbon, this one proved to be slightly different; being drawn by an old motorbike that struggled to get up the hills. If the roads weren't bad enough, the traffic was just as chaotic, I will not be complaining about our pot holes at home as much!
The town was really run down in places but in-between the old houses, new hotels and casinos were being built by Chinese investors.
Why bother to invade a country now, when you can simply buy it!
Unfortunately, the locals were being forced out because of the rising prices caused by this and the driver showed his distain quiet openly. Another noticeable thing was the smell, with the sanitation sometimes leaking onto the road. Not a pretty ride for our senses!
Along the streets, there were several stalls selling food and several motorbike repair shops; a necessity considering the vast number being ridden everywhere. We did see some interesting landmarks such as the Golden Lion sculptures on the roundabout, which our driver circled twice to make sure we didn't miss it. I'm sure there will be more to enjoy, once the infrastructure of the place improves.
Then, we made our way through the traffic, closing our eyes at times as there didn't seem to be any road rules in p!ace. It was a case of set off and go-regardless of who was in your way!
We arrived at our first surprise stop, a local beach, where we were given nearly an hour to have a wander.
After a stroll along the pleasant beach, we arrived at the end of part and our fellow members of the Tuk- Tuk convoy, soon found bars for a refreshing drink and a chance to get rid of the dust in our mouths. Going to the toilet in these bars was also an experience. Luckily, we carried tissue and sanitized hand gel with us. The beach was very nice though and we could see why investors were showing interest in this area.
After another short stop, at another beach, where there was a nice hotel on one side, with its own private facilities, it was back to the ship. Unfortunately, the weather today was disappointing. Still very hot but cloudy, so the photographs we took didn't really show how nice the area was. Nothing can beat golden sunshine reflecting off blue waters!
After seeing the town, we were pleased that we hadn't gone out on our own; although we never felt threatened in any way, there were very few pavements to walk on and the whole area near the ship was very run down. A place that in a few years time will probably be completely different, which in some ways will be a shame as the local, traditional ways of life will most probably be gone.
Back on the ship, sat having afternoon tea, it was fascinating watching the small fishing boats sailing out for the evening. There was also an interesting small peninsula jutting out with small houses on it. There was even a building with a full sized aeroplane on top of it. An interesting day.