A 30 minute scooter ride south put us in Phnom Krom which is a small wetland community located just off Cambodia's largest fresh water lake the Tonle Sap. If I had to explain the situation in this community in a single word it would be heartache. It's unbelievable to see this level of poverty so close to a world heritage site that, according to The World Bank, made a profit of 107 million USD in 2017. Despite having Siem Reap so close to Phnom Krom, it is still one of the poorest provinces in Cambodia. You don't see any support from the local government or the earnings of the tourism industry.
We wandered around for about an hour taking photos, checking out the local village on stilts and interacting with locals. Despite having nearly nothing to their name I am constantly humbled by the citizens in south east Asia. They have more smiles than frowns and know nothing of our posh and comfy lives. We have everything and we still find reasons to be miserable.
After I had my fill of photos we decided to get a better view from the mountain and visit the temple from which you can see the ferry terminal and the Tonle Sap lake out on the horizon. It would be hard to imagine a fresh water lake that large if I hadn't grown up on one of America's best kept secret wonders. 😉
At the top of the "mountain" there was a small Buddhist temple and a few locals that I was able to make trouble with for a little bit. I got to play with a puppy and then we headed over to check out Phnom Krom temple.
Once we finished up we headed back towards the guesthouse to drop of the scooter, get our bags and go into town to wait for the bus.
I booked an overnight sleeper bus with Ibis bus services. Although there are a lot of bad reviews about Cambodian bus services on the internet, I do not have one for this particular journey. I bought our tickets online, they were reserved, the ride was overnight, comfortable and on time. 10 hours on the dot we arrived in Sihanoukville the next day to continue our adventure on the tropical islands of Koh Rong.