I woke up around 9:30 and had breakfast on my own.
Mike and Atke woke up and we took the motorbikes to Kep National Park to do some hiking. We paid the $1 entrance fee and parked our bikes just inside.
Mike and Atke hadn’t eaten yet, so we stopped at a random guest house in the park to have some food. I knew I would be hungry soon if I didn’t eat, so I got a fruit salad.
We started on the main trail, and continued on that for a mile or so. We saw a little trail off to the side, so we decided to explore it. It led us up to a small peak, but the view wasn’t that great because there were too many trees in the way.
At the peak, we had the choice to either go back the same way we came, or take a different trail that we spotted.
We decided to take the different trail, which turned out to be quite the adventure. About 10 minutes into it, we looked at our phones and saw that it was not leading us anywhere near where we started. We decided we’d go on for 10 more minutes, and if we were still off track, than we would turn around and head back.
The path was not as well-laid out as the previous one, and there was a lot of pushing through bushes and plants.
After those 10 minutes, none of us really wanted to head back and go through the same crazy trail that we had just rummaged through. We continued on, and the path got continuously crazier. We were crawling on the ground, swiping at plants, and getting caught in spiky branches.
We saw nobody the entire time, which was nice. It’s crazy that there is this huge, gorgeous park and barely any tourists.
When the trail ended, we were outside of the park. We kept walking, and we got to a monastery. Past that was a large temple, which we decided to explore. It was really worth it— it gave us the best views of the day.
We were still three miles from the motorbikes. As we were walking toward them, I got really hungry so we stopped at a random restaurant near town to get some food.
What we thought was a restaurant wasn’t really one; it was more like a special events venue for the hotel across the street. The process was hilariously inefficient—
1. We ordered food
2. A random venue worker took our order
3. That worker communicated via walkie-talkie with someone at the hotel to come down
4. The hotel employee came down on his scooter to take our order again
5. The hotel employee scootered back to the hotel with his little pen and pad
6. 30 minutes later, the hotel employee scootered back to us, entire plate of vegetable tempura in hand
7. The hotel employee scootered back to the hotel
8. We wanted to pay, so we asked the random venue worker for the bill
9. The venue worker walkie-talkied with the hotel
10. The hotel employee scootered back down with the bill
11. We gave him money
12. The hotel employee scootered back to the hotel to get change
13. The hotel employee scootered back to us with the change
It was hilarious.
That said, the food was absolutely delicious. Maybe some of the best tempura I’ve had. At a random hotel restaurant in Kep, Cambodia.
We didn’t feel like walking 45 more minutes to the bikes, so we tuk-tuked the rest of the way.
Once we were back on our bikes, we rode to the Kep Crab Market because Mike wanted to try some crab.
It was cool to see the local economy, but it was also very depressing. I used to think catching, shelling, and eating crabs was so normal, but seeing them being caught in such mass quantities, boiled alive, and then pealed apart and eaten like they’re nothing made me realize how much I’ve changed. It just really made me sad and disgusted. I have officially turned into THAT vegan.
I ate a coconut while they ate the crabs. The parallel of them pealing and shelling the crabs and me shelling the coconut on the other side of the table was somehow pretty powerful to me.
We rode back to the hotel, chilled for a bit and then went out for Mexican food at Gringo Loco.
First I asked if he could make a burrito with just vegetables, and he told me that he’s “tried to make a veggie burrito many times before, but it just gets all mushy and gross when you only put veggies in.”
I just laughed in his face because it was just so ridiculous— you can make a vegetable burrito so easily.
I got vegan chili instead, which was actually quite nice.
We all went to bed after that. 😃