We reached Takeo at around 5pm. The 75km ride was pretty unaventful, good road from Kiri Sela with a couple of steady inclines but all in all pretty flat.
We headed to the north of the town which sits on the Rohkna Khnong Lake and after cycling around for a while we eventually found a guesthouse (Nita Gueshouse) on the canal which is pretty basic but was $6 a night, friendly and had a safe place for the bike.
Takeo is quite an important town, it acts as the major trade link with the border of Vietnam and it has a university, language school and plenty of government buildings, banks and a big market. The major draw however is the nearby 7th Century Funanese sites, (the only such sites in Cambodia) Phnom Da and Angkor Borei, which are both reached by boat via the extensive canal network which stretches across the entire province.
We met a nice German couple who were also staying in the gueshouse – Dirk and Karin – who were also aiming to head down river the next day so we agreed to charter a boat between 4, helping to bring the cost down significantly ($35 total).
Dirk and Karin were a pretty amazing couple. Both into their 60s, they have travelled all over Asia and this was there 4th trip to Cambodia alone. They were incredibly knowledable about Angok Wat and to top it off, over dinner, Dirk told us all about his love for speed road rollerskating – when he was in his 50s he completed a marathon in just under an hour and 10 minutes (that is an average speed of around 36km ph!!!!)
Anyway, we headed down river at 8am the next morning first stop being the two temple ruins at Phnom Da ($2 each). Theres not too much see of the main site but there wasa good view from the top.
All in all, considering how much the boat ride cost we’re still unsure whether the trip is actually worthwhile. I guess the boat ride is quite fun (take a jacket) but during the dry season the canal is pretty low which means you don’t get a great view of the surrounding countryside. I would encourage other travellers to head to the site at Tonle Bati instead, where there is a lot more to see with the added bonus of no entry fee.
We spent the afternoon blogging, picking up our washing and trying to sort a warm showers host forPhnom Penh (no such luck, we left it too late). To save on cash we set up the stove on a picnic table outside the guesthouse and cooked up our own noodles for dinner.
Our lovely hosts soon came out to see what we were up to and after a appreciative nod brought out a light and sticks of insense to keep the mozzies at bay. We ended up having a great evening with them all drinking beer and they even let us finish off their freshly caught lobster and shrimp. Dirk and Karin arrived in time for the viewing of the wedding album!
The next morning we had a long shopping list to get so we headed the main market in the south of town to stock up on kerosene, foodand toilet paper. We’ve got a great couple of days ahead as we head north towards Phnom Penh.