Today we are travelling to the provincial town of Kampot close to the Vietnamese border. We have some breakfast and after our showers quickly pack up our gear, it doesn’t take too long. Simon usually packs most of it and is now an expert. We have arranged with one of the taxi drivers to pay 35 dollars for the drive to Kampot. Although there are buses the service is stopped today because of the election but as we didn’t really want to spend any longer in Phnom Penh we decided to cough up and get moving.

We leave at 11am. The driver is careful, that’s good and the road is largely ok. It is mostly surfaced although very bumpy at times and I quite enjoy the journey. I’m sure that the rural Cambodian countryside probably looks very different in the wet season when the rice fields are ready for harvest. As it is almost the height of summer everywhere looks brown, dusty and dry and in need of a good rainfall. Some areas are still flooded and there the bright green of the water plants stands out. It is very beautiful, really so different to what I imagined.

I wouldn’t describe the appearance as desolate but at times it’s almost deserted with maybe a single motorbike driver with a thick scarf covering his face from the sun and the dust. We stop off at a small village to buy a drink; next to the Fanta box are 3 skinned cow halves hanging up. Maisie is disgusted especially when Ali helpfully points out the hooves are still intact and blood is dripping onto the floor.

After several hours of being jolted around we arrive. We haven’t booked any accommodation and ask the driver to take us to The Bokor Hotel. It is described as the best hotel in town and as there are no other tourists around at all we think we will be able to get a decent discount. In the end we pay 12 dollars per room. As they have 2 double beds in each and all mod cons we’re pleased with this. They are very smart and definitely the best place we have stayed since we left Surat Thani in Thailand.

We walk up to the river and sit and watch the sunset, its lovely sat on the riverside in the heat watching the sun go down. We have a drink, make our way back to our hotel and Simon goes out to get pizza for tea. Very expensive at 12 dollars but worth every dollar. We are going to visit the deserted Bokor Hill Station tomorrow and have read the journey is a very bumpy ride. Described as “rump reducing ” by one traveller, we’re all excited at the thought of visiting the hotel straight out the film “The Shining” even if the prospect of developing a bum bruise isn’t quite so enticing.