Trip from Phnom Penh to Koh Kong

Because the street by the DDP office is too small to accommodate buses, our departure point was DDP House, our job training hostel. Everyone was to meet there at 6:30 AM. We finally got away at 7:15 AM and arrived at the Koh Kong City Hotel 7½ hours later. It was a long trip but the staff were in good spirits.

Gathering in Phnom Penh It is the custom of Cambodian people to eat on the road for breakfast, probably because it is inconvenient to get up, start a charcoal fire, cook rice and food, and eat before leaving for a trip. Eating toast and fruit (it's not a meal if it's not rice) or in the drive-through at McDonald's is not an option. The trip organizers had asked everyone to choose a box breakfast and these were ready when the staff gathered at DDP House.

Boarding the buses We had two buses for the three-day trip. Everyone was assigned a seat and asked to sit in that seat always so that it was immediately obvious if everyone was present and ready to travel or not.

At a rest stop For a variety of reasons, we ended up stopping ten times on the way to Koh Kong. The first time was at this restaurant about an hour out of Phnom Penh where people had a chance to buy some snacks and takes lots of pictures. These are all deaf members of the DDP staff.

At an animist shrine About halfway to the coast, there is a shrine set up on top of the high hill that marks the divide between the coastal area and the inland area. It is basically an animist shrine to a spirit woman who inhabits the forests there but all the Buddhists stop their cars and buses there to make offerings.

Lunch was about six hours after our departure from Phnom Penh, in a small restaurant the organizing team had discovered on an exploratory trip earlier. It wasn't anything special either in locale or ambience or food, but the family running it had impressed our team with their friendliness so they arranged our stop to eat there today.

Arriving at the hotel Finally we arrived at the Koh Kong City Hotel and got off the bus. There was no time allowed even to check into the rooms, though. The organizers had us go straight into the meeting room for a two-hour session.

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