For this month's linkup the topic is 'the travel experience I will never do again'. When going back through my travelling career, one story in particular sprung to mind.
When my travel buddy and I were looking for the best way to get from Siem Reap to Battambang, we got pretty excited when we read the following in the South East Asia on a shoestring Lonely Planet: "The boat from Siem Reap to Battambang (US$18-20, daily at 7am), arguably Cambodia's most spectacular boat journey, follows narrow waterways, scrapes marshland trees and passes through protected wetlands - a birdwatcher's paradise - but can take anywhere from five to nine or more hours, depending on the water level." Okay, so we were prepared for the length of this boat ride, but we figured as long as it's breath-taking it will be worth our while.
Until we saw the actual boat we were going to be taking. This was no luxury boat ride. This boat was equipped with hard wooden benches that were barely big enough for my bottom. There were no soft cushions on them either. There wasn't much legroom either and my knees were knocking the back of the wooden bench in front of me. This was like being on a Ryanair flight, but the boat version.
This was going to be the boat ride from hell. Yes, the scenery was awe-inspiring at first, but after a couple of hours of the same floating villages and the same protected wetlands,things don't inspire so much awe anymore. In the afternoon, it got so narrow and shallow that the boat couldn't go through the river at full speed which meant that the cool breeze that the speed of the boat had created, had disappeared. And with this hungry mosquitoes started nibbling on my legs.The boat had no roof or tarp cover and my sunscreen lotion nicely packed away in my backpack in the hold, I could feel the UV Rays toasting my skin into a nice lobster-like hue.
Finally after what must have been the longest 12 hours in backpacking history we finally reached Battambang where eager tuktuk drivers were awaiting us to drive us to the hotel. We took a cold shower and jumped straight into bed where we enjoyed a good long sleep.
The rest of the trip we opted for comfy bus rides and plane flights. Never never will I be going on a boat ride again when Lonely Planet calls it scenic.