Sunday, 8 February 2015

Weekend in Kratie

Banlung to Kratie

Again, the journey to Kratie was quicker than expected! Long may this continue!

We were waiting for our tuk tuk to the bus station bright and early at 0605 having come down and found the strange young receptionist asleep on a mattress on a teak platform outside the front entrance. 

The temple in Kratie under construction
He took our money for the room and curled up in his bedding in the sofa in reception! We couldn't decide whether he has a very odd sense of humour or was on drugs or both! Bus left the bus station on time at 0630 drove round the block to the ticket office 20 metres away and stopped! We were issued proper tickets more people got on and we left again!

Another sunset photo over the Mekong. This one in Kratie, showing the boat dock for the ferry to Trong Island. The beach and trees in the distance is the island
Nighttime street scene in Kratie from our roadside dining table
I was filled with doom and gloom about Kratie, all the accommodation was much of a muchness, same price, average reviews so we hadn't booked, going with the theory you are going to Get a better room as a walk in than if you make a booking! Worked OK and all was cheaper than if pre booked, I just haven't always got the bottle! Like tomorrow, Phnom Penh, very big so walking the streets with rucksack particularly as we might arrive late with, no, room booked in advance!

Stairs up to Phnom Sombok temple. Many monk statues on the right
We were accosted as expected by a guy from our first choice hotel wanting us to stay (free tuk tuk ride so can't argue with that) and then wanting to sell us tours, and then onward bus tickets, he got very grumpy but finally got the message and left us alone. This is why we are unsure of arrival time tomorrow, the minibus Mafia tell you the big bus takes 12 hours, theirs 4.5 but they also tell you there will only be three to a seat and we know that's rubbish! The big bus man says the two early buses take 7 hours but the 1100 bus, which is the one that we got off doesn't have to make all the stops and takes 5.5 hours! It is $2 cheaper, more comfortable and on our way here the AC was so good we were cold! So comfort and cost have won, just hope it is closer to six than twelve hours!

This is what can happen to you if you don't keep a pure Buddhist lifestyle!
First meeting - a bit unsure....
Went into a temple yesterday with very bright new murals on the wall and got talking to a chap who said he'd done some of the painting, not convinced, but interesting man anyway who then stiffed B for a few dollars! Had a good cat experience last night – a big older tomcat, most of whom run away decided stroking was ok and then actually came and sat on my lap as we had a beer, very honoured!

30 seconds later
Up bright and early this morning, breakfast of Heinz baked beans on toast before heading off in a tuk tuk to Phnom Sombok temple, up 300 and something steps to the only hill in the area so good views around. Half way up is a little diversion to an older temple which had many cats and kittens milling about. Always good! A web entry about the temple says “what it is really remarkable is the paintings on the inner wall depicting torture scenes awarded to those who do not keep a holy life.” These will be the same scenes we’ve seen depicted at other temples, and very nasty things will happen to you, involving sharp pointy things, and being forced to swallow fire amongst other things. And we thought Buddhists were calm peaceful people!

The views were quite good at the top, but the photos don't really show it
Descending the stairs next to the monk statues
Back to Kratie and over to the island billed as the Don Det of the future, at the moment though a small boat takes you over and you can hire a bike (a rubbish one for a dollar, but it wasn’t far!) and cycle round the island. We did this at a very leisurely pace stopping for drinks at a couple of places, one very posh hotel with two very comfy cats and one that was no more than a table outside a house, except for the price the drinks were remarkably similar! Back onto the mainland as it got really hot, so after a quick bite of lunch we’ve retreated to AC and blog writing!
The ferry ride to Trong Island
This is actually the main road on the island. We decided to get out of his way!
A typical house on the island
The posh hotel on the island. Rooms here range from $60 to $150 per night
Yoga for cats
This one needs the whole chair - in fact the chair isn't big enough!
One of a few temples on the island
Drink break halfway round the island
Floating houses on the far side of the island
The ferry back to the mainland
Decaying French colonial architecture in Kratie

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