Day 8 – G Adventures’ Cambodia and Laos Mekong Adventure

May 26 – Breakfast was across the street and not included so it was self-pay. It was very slow but good; I had french toast sans syrup. After breakfast it was back to the bus to the ferry to a temple then to the home stay.

On the way we went to see Wat Phu (mountain temple) UNESCO World Heritage site –  that had a lot of steps (77 at one point). We ate fresh mangoes off the tree. At the top, there was a fountain that claimed to have holy water. They had us put some on our heads 3 times and made a wish – which is kind of odd because if it was truly holy, we should have prayed or something instead, I would think. The experience was all very hot; my skin felt like it was literally melting off. I have never been that sweaty in my life. During the hike, we saw rocks that resembled an elephant and a crocodile.

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After we finally dragged ourselves (okay, maybe I was just dragging myself) back to the bus, we took a people-only ferry to the home stay. Well, “ferry” is generous.  It was a very skinny boat that only held 4 people. From there, we walked a long way on the beach to our homes. My roomie and I ended up with a house on stilts that we thought would keep the snakes and rats away. Instead a rat ran at the foot of our bed in the morning and roomie had heard them scratching all night in the wall by her head.

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We were lucky and our bathroom had a western toilet and was overall decently nice. Our beds were in a corner of the room where the owners slept in so that was a bit weird. Our house had no walls so it felt like modified camping. We slept under mosquito nets but bugs got in roomie’s bed anyway. We could hear the bats all night. Early in the morning the roosters began singing and all the people got up. When they walked, the whole house shook. Breakfast and dinner were served on the floor in a communal room.

When we arrived first arrived on the island, we walked around the island for a tour. Overall the houses and properties were well-kept. There was a resort on the island that was several hundred dollars per night and was very beautiful.

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I feel homestays are always a waste of time. You don’t socialize with the residents – they don’t even eat with you. My owner came with me to the bathroom in the middle of the night to turn on the lights and that was all the interaction we had. You are basically there to give them money and gifts.

Side note: Bring pens and paper from home so you don’t waste time and money hunting for these things during your trip. Anything you have that you aren’t going to use anymore bring it with you and stop letting it take up space in your house.

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