Rachel and Matt’s World Tour
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Cambodia and Southern Laos

Hello everyone.

Here’s what we’ve been up to in the last few weeks….

From Saigon we took a very long and tiring 12 hour bus journey up to Siem Reap in Cambodia. The journey was made much worse by the constant Vietnamese karaoke videos, which no-one seemed to be interested in! We arrived in Siem Reap late and arranged a Tuk Tuk to take us to the Temples of Angkor the next day. The temple area is huge and contains far more sites than we imagined. We have been overdosing on temples in SE Asia so opted to visit just the most famous ones, Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom and Ta Phrom. Angkor Wat was the first stop and didn’t dissapoint. The place is huge, surrounded by a vast moat. We hired a guide, who explained how the temple was built and what a few of the thousands of intricate carvings meant. We had a very cloudy day, which while good for us, made the pictures a little grey. It is far more impressive in real life. Next was Angkor Thom. Built after Angkor Wat, the huge walled city housed over 1 million people at a time when London was 50 thousand strong. We passed through the very impressive walls to the main temple located in the centre. Over 100 Shiva faces are carved into the temple walls and towers so that there is no escape from her gaze! Finally we visited Ta Phrom. The first Tomb Raider movie was filmed here and you can see why. It was much more like we were expecting… collapsed ruins, huge tree roots forcing the stones apart and very atmospheric.

Rach wouldn’t do any Angelina/Lara Croft impressions for me though 🙁 . Siem Reap has a great selection of restaurants and we enjoyed a very good and very rare Mexican that night.

After we spent the next day mooching around the markets in Siem Reap we headed to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. We arranged to see the Killing Fields of Cheung Ek and the S21 prison. We have learned much about the Khmer Rouge and their regime while planning our trip, but actually seeing the methods of their extermination and the results of the torture of thousands of Cambodians, including children and even babies, was very harrowing and disturbing. We spent the second day in Phnom Penh getting our Laos visa sorted and visiting the extremely boring National Museum and Royal Palace.

Our hotel was located next to a particularly smelly fruit and fish market. There is a fruit in SE Asia called the Durian which seems to be very popular. On the way through the market late one evening the smell nearly overcame Rach who doubled over and was very nearly sick! (She has a very sensitive gag reflex). Our final stop in Cambodia was Kratie, home to the Arrawaddy river dolphins. We spent over an hour on the river watching in awe of the beautiful creatures swimming around our boat. They were too quick for our camera though, so we only managed a few shots!

The next day we passed over the border and into Laos. Only a few KMs up the road was Si Phan Dhon, a collection of large and small islands on the Mekong River. We spent 4 extremely relaxing days on the beautiful islands of Don Det and Don Khong. With nothing much to do apart from drink beer, eat, sleep and read it was a very welcome change of pace!

We hired bikes one day and enjoyed cycling to the Lyphi falls via very photogenic rice paddies and small villages. Oddly enough they also have a cracking Indian on Don Det! After we thought we had lazed around enough we headed up the Mekong to Champasak. Here we found Wat Phu Champasak a very early temple of the Khmer who built Angkor Wat 400 years later. It took a good hour of cycling in a humid 35 degrees to reach, but the view from the top terrace of the temple was well worth it. There wasn’t much else to do in Champasak so that evening we got a night bus (with real beds!) to Vientiane, capital of Laos. So far we haven’t seen much but it does seem very nice and quiet for a capital city and the food is amazing: pain au chocolat for brekky and juicy steaks for dinner thanks to the french invasion!

That’s it for now. We hear you are all enjoying a sunny summer.Rach says it would be nice to get a few more comments on the blog – is anyone still reading (apart from our parents) ?!


1 cool car { 08.22.09 at 1:49 pm }

Ah ah beat you all to top place at last this time .Them kamer rouge seem awful people ,very cruel ,now you wont be able to sit around drinking beer when you get home so make the most of it . afters

2 Carol, Dan and Harry { 08.23.09 at 6:05 pm }

Hi. I know we haven’t been writing on the blog but we are all watching and reading about your progress on your travels, I can asure you. On that note, can I just say that there seems to be an issue with the software. You can’t view the slide show for some reason. Can you sort it out quickly as I want to see your photos! Lots of love. xxxxxxxxx

3 Louise { 08.23.09 at 6:49 pm }

Hey you two! Totally still reading, the blog is keeping me entertained and always looking forward to the next part of the epic journey. Glad to see your relaxing and taking it easy, loving the feet up on the veranda look !!

Take care, looking forward to the next episode in Matt & Rach take on the World.


4 Steph { 08.23.09 at 7:35 pm }

Hey! Just watched the video of Matt shooting the AK, Rach did you not do it???? I think it is the loudest thing EVER!!! Toyne said that he wouldn’t have been very good a war, as he would be moaning about the noise! I know you’re thinking “Toyne moan, never”. However, when we were there we were given ear defenders, which I noticed you didn’t, so must have been MEGA loud!

I see you’ve made it into Laos, Vientenne is pretty dull, but I’m very excited for you as your next stop will probably be Vang Vieng, which was my favourite place ever!!! Floating down a river with a Beer Laos, rope swings and a great place to make friends. I hope you manage to leave ok, we were supposed to be there for 3 days and spent a week! Great fun indeed!!!!

Enjoy xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

5 Mum and Dad Silsbury { 08.23.09 at 9:22 pm }

Enjoyed the temples and ruins,so much work in them.The boats don’t appear so well made though,l would certainly want to know where the lifejackets were before getting onboard one of those.Appears by your happy smiley faces your both still having a wonderful time,miss you more each day.We have just had a really nice sunny weekend,we went to Brighton yesterday,had a nice time and the Shoreham air show was on so had a few glimpses of the aircraft but guess what -we were in the garden today and a Vulcan Bomber flew right over the house ,probably playing a courtesy visit over Southampton airport on it’s return from the Bournemouth air show.Dad was soooooooooo excited !! Ha Ha. Take care. xx

6 Ria { 08.24.09 at 9:09 am }

I’m still reading it!! Sounds like you’re still having a brilliant time!! Tha Phrom looks so very cool – with all the trees growing in and around it. You’ve really made me want to visit Vietman – it looks so lovely. And Cambodia too. In fact you’ve made me want to go do a world trip myself. There are just so many brilliant things out there in the big wide world. I want to see them all. But instead I’m stuck in Beastly Eastleigh! Oh well, maybe once I’ve made my millions I’ll do it!

So things here are good – need to reply to your FB message. Will do that at lunch today!!

See you soon (but not too soon),

Ria & Tom, xxx

7 Mum Doran { 08.24.09 at 12:33 pm }

That little nudge in the ribs did the trick Rachel! All coming out of the woodwork now!! Speak later or (afters) Iris

8 Sheila { 08.24.09 at 2:36 pm }

The Durien fruit is called ‘Golden Pillows’ but the first taste is like sick, and the smell is disgusting. The after taste is supposed to be worth it tho LOL. They won’t allow it on aircraft as the smell is very hard to get rid of. Can imagine the ‘killing fields’ would be upsetting. Sounds like a fabulous adventure though 😀

9 Emma Wareham { 08.24.09 at 2:47 pm }

Hi there – the ladies in marketing are still reading don’t worry! We look forward to hearing what you guys have been up to. It sounds like you’re having an amazing trip of a lifetime – and you both look really good on it. How much does the Durian fruit stink! I remember seeing signs banning them in public places in Malaysia – quite right too! I hope you get to try some proper Vietnamese food rather than steak!!! Enjoy the next stage of your trip.

10 Fiona { 08.24.09 at 9:09 pm }

Hey guys, great post!

I ate some Durian in China at a market, it did stink but it was tasty! I just got back from another weekend on the Isle of Wight. Had a nice Thai green curry, not that you would be interested as it was Sharwoods and not authentic Thai! Weather has been really nice, it’s great sitting in Ashleys biddy bus as it has windows all round, nice panoramic views for sunsets! Oh, apparently Gary Glitter is back in Warsash again. Will he ever learn?

Fee xx

11 Rachel { 08.25.09 at 4:01 pm }

Brilliant! Pleased to see we still have some readers!

Steph – we are currently in Vang Vieng and LOVING tubing! Bit bashed and bruised tho! Didn’t shoot Ak47. After watching Matt I was so disturbed by the noise I wimped it.

Don’t worry Emma, we do try to live on the local food, but you gotta treat yourself sometimes! Pho Bo (beef noodle soup) and Amok (bit like a mild curry) are new favourites and v. cheap!

Keep in touch people! We miss you!


12 Mum and Dad Silsbury { 08.25.09 at 8:28 pm }

The ‘wrinklies’ want to know what the ‘biddie bus’ is.
Is it a bus for old wrinklies and does it run from Dibden into Southampton and if so what time is it as there are loads of would like to jump on with our bus passes.!!!! See you there.

13 Matt { 08.27.09 at 12:36 pm }

The Biddy bus is Ash’s (Fiona’s boyfriend) converted OAP bus – now a campervan!

Not so far off the OAP bus passes then Sue and Bob?!

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