Monday, April 8, 2013

Phnom Kulen and Battambang

Believe it our not our second day topped off yesterday at Angkor Wat. First thing in the morning, we all got ready to go to Phnom Kulen to pinic at the mountain top and swim under the waterfalls. But of course we couldn't do that without my family making changes, catching us off guard. The plan is still to go to Phnom Kulen, but with our bags packed and ready to go to Battembong after. Laurel and Susan will stay at Siem Reap after Phnom Kulen to explore more of the area and to challenge themselves getting around without a native speaking person with them. So Saran and I rushed to pack our bags and checked out of the hotel to make it to Phnom Kulen at a decent time.
We were told the trip would be about a 20 minute drive. We learned quickly their timing was way off. It took about 2 hours to get to the mountain! It could be due to the fact that we got lost a couple times and that there were frequent stops on the way. But even with those factored in it had to be more, since driving up the mountain was more than 20 minutes itself.
Yes we had frequent stops, but only one was an actual pit stop. The multiple stops were to for food.
There are an amazing amount of vendors on and off the roads. Most of them sell food, mmm yum. And the others sold souveinirs and clothing.
Our first stop was to get pinic food from. We pulled into a parking lot and searched our options. We were able to sample before purchasing so you don't have to worry about not liking what you purchase. We got enough food that could feed our group (12 people) twice and it only cost $36.
As we head out leaving the city for the mountains we saw the transition to rural. Most every home were wooden stilt houses, some were small, some were bigger, some had dried leaves for rooftop and others had rigid metals for their rooftop that can collect rainwater. Most of the residence were seen underneath their stilt house, working/cooking in the shades.
Our other multiple stops were to purchase more fruits and snacks for the picnic. We noticed right away mangos and pineapples are abundant since most everyone sells them but there are many exotic fruits we wouldn't even know to buy if it weren't for our family.
Once we got closer to the mountain, stilt houses and paved road dissappeared and were replaced with tall dry vegetation and red sand and gravel. The road kicked up red dust and clouded our view, giving enough clarity to see ahead. We now really understand why this is the dry season.
Once we got up the mountain we realized why people were willing to make the journey over. The picnic area was divided from the vendor area with a short river that flowed right into the waterfalls. At the bottom of the waterfalls, people swam around and hungout on the rocks.
Saran, Laurel, Susan, our army cousin and myself had to take the once in a lifetime opportunity and jumped right in. Thank goodness Laurel had a waterproof camera to capture this breath taking moment. We took photos right in the waterfalls and took quite a beating as we became the ones taking the impact of the river crashing down. Once we got done imitating "waterfall scene" (most of us try to keep a smile, posing for our photo op, while violent buckets of water gets dumped on us. Lol).
Little fishes were all over the place, nibbling on our toes and legs. We to swam around the waterfalls though found ourselves more smashing our knees and toes into the sneaky rocks underneath. We also sat right under the waterfalls after a few more bumps and bruises just trying to climb up the slippery rocks.
It may sound like a painful experience, but the beauty and being in the waterfalls surpasses everything.
Unfortunately, our stay at the waterfalls came to an end. We travelled back to Siem Reap where we parted from Laurel and Susan. The family back on the road again towars Battembong to visit another  more family members from our dad's side and even a few of my mother's.
A post on how the rest of night to follow.


  1. What an amazing story to be living - it must seem like a dream! I can't wait to hear what other adventures await you and your family on this journey.

  2. Thank you for your comment! There's been plenty times where we had to pitch ourselves and it's only been a few days. We have plenty more ahead of us and can't wait to share with you our journey. Thank you for reading.