Cambodia greeted us with the stringent faces of the custom officers and a very modern and spacey airport building. It was almost empty, as the scale of it doesn’t really relate to the number of flights it serves. As soon as we’ve got out to the landside, the warmth literally hit us in both – the temperature (it was +32C/89F!) and smiley faces of the people who came to meet the flight. Our hotel sent out a tuk-tuk to pick us up at airport.
Tuk-tuk deserves a separate mentioning. It is a …motorbike. With the side-car, only it is a back-car, a carriage attached to the back of the bike. Takes in four passengers, or, up to whateverwillfit if they are Cambodian passengers. Tuk-tuks are pride and joy of their owners (they are also the only source of income), so they are well looked after. Not only they are daily washed and cleaned, but also – richly decorated to attract potential clients. Decorative elements are mostly diy, but so very creative!
Our tuk-tuk, for example, had a pink (?!) silk seats covers! With the frill! And the shiny handles made from…a stainless steel shower hose. So very classy. Later, after a day of sightseeing, I realised that such creativity served yet another purpose. As most of the tourists would use tuk-tuk to get around the ancient temples of Angkor, and most would hire one tuk-tuk for a day, it was a challenge to find your own after exhausting hours of templing about. So decorative carriage comes rather handy to single out the one you booked.
Since we are talking about tuk-tuks, it is worth to mention traffic in Cambodia. In particular – there was none. Instead there was a chaotic random movement of all kind of vehicles in all kind of directions, all at the same time. After our thrilling flight into Siem Reap I thought, nothing would scare me more than that. But our trip from the airport to hotel was a proof that there are still enough thrills in the world. This one came in shudders and shrieks from the various types of vehicles that were overtaking us from the left, from the right, from behind and even from upfront when they suddenly changed their mind, reversed and changed direction. There are no road markings in Cambodia. Full stop. Anything that could move, moved along, across and diagonally on what seems to be a road. To look for any sense in all this is futile and judging how our driver without a blink went through the crossroad regulated by the traffic lights (which were, actually, fully working and indicated red at that time), we realised that we better relax and trust our fate into the hands of Cambodian Traffic Gods. I have to say that in all 5 days of staying in Cambodia, we haven’t seen a single road incident or even road rage situation! Everyone on the road moved along happily and contented and in whatever random direction they fancy. Simply phenomenal!