When we wanted to leave Siem Riep, we decided to take a boat. We had taken lots of buses lately and we wanted a change. The boat from Siem Reap to Battambang was going to be six hours long.
To get to the boat docks, we first had to get on a bus. It wasn’t really a bus. It was a mini van. They squashed as many people it could in it. It was an uncomfortable ride to the boat dock but I lived through it.
At the boat dock we had to wait for a while. Eventually a guide showed us to the boat. It was long and narrow with open sides. The bags went on the roof and the people sat on wooden benches inside. Some people sat on the roof with the bags. Dad didn’t want us up there, so we sat on the benches. They were not very comfortable.
When they started the engine, it was really noisy. It was so loud, it was hard to talk. Dad had some ear plugs, so Emma and I put them in our ears.
After about thirty minutes in the boat a fire broke out on the engine. They had to turn off the engine and put the fire out with water from the lake. We were in the middle of the Tonle Sap lake. We drifted for quite a while before they fixed it and we started going again.
While we were drifting, there was a lot of smoke. That’s when Emma and I discovered the top deck. It was in the sun and it had a nice view. You couldn’t smell the smoke or hear the loud engine, so Emma and I stayed up there for an hour. We slept for a bit on the bags. It was a pretty view on the top deck.
We went through three different types of waterways. There was the lake (Tonle Sap lake), some small rivers and some tiny passage ways. The tiny passage ways were actually flooded walking trails, since the water level was very high. There were trees and bushes on both sides that scraped along the sides of our boat. Our boat crushed and broke branches as we went through to make the paths bigger.
On one of the small rivers, we stopped at a floating corner store. I went into the store and got a lollipop and cookie wafers. I also went to the bathroom. The funny part was that it had squat toilets that went straight into the river. You could see fish swimming by.
Before I new it, we were on the boat again. Emma and I went to the top deck again for another hour. A local kid came up to me and said something. I did not understand him. I just smiled and he walked away.
After a while Emma and I went and sat on the bow. We played a game called “Chance”. Chance is a game where you hang your legs over the side of the boat and try not to get hit by the branches. This was hard in the skinny passage ways because the trees where constantly banging the boat.
We came out of the narrow passage ways into a small river that went on for a long time. The boat was very late, but we finally got to the boat dock at the other end. It wasn’t much of a dock. We had to climb up a steep hill with our packs. We almost slid back into the river a couple of times.
At the top of the hill there was a lot of tuk-tuk drivers. Our boat trip was over, so we had to take a tuk-tuk to our hotel.
We found a tuk-tuk to take us to the hotel, but he would only leave with six people. He found two more older people and we all crammed on to the tuk-tuk. It was a tight fit with all our heavy bags. I think that the driver purposely hit every bump on the road to our hotel to make it even more uncomfortable.
It was quite an adventure.