Big day today! We arose at 4.23am (jade was excited to get going), and headed out before 5. We were given a packed breakfast, and drank coffee at room temperature from water bottles.
We had a 427m mountain to climb, and managed to do most of it before 6 am, so settled on a rock platform for breakfast with the most magnificent view! We got to the top of the mountain before 8, then had an undulating hike through rainforest.
For the next 12k we wandered through villages, cashew plantations, and lush rainforest. We saw groups of butterflies, termite highways, and ancient carvings. Karyn, in her customary curious way, sampled a cashew fruit (apparently if you eat too much you’ll get a cough, we think he meant fart).
In one funny incident, a cow cart trundled up and stopped, and a man came out with a car-battery powered air pump, and pumped up its tyre!
We arrived at the River of 1000 Lingas in the middle of a public holiday. The place was packed with people, markets, kids, picnics, and food stalls. While we waited for our camp site to become available, we went and visited the reclining Buddha. He is carved in sandstone about 10 metres high. This was also packed, but not with tourists, with Cambodian pilgrims. It was fascinating to watch the rituals, chanting, and prayers.
After this we walked an additional couple of kilometres (bear in mind we had done over 20 already) to the base of a waterfall (106 stairs precisely, thanks Jules) and swam in the filthy water. It was delightful despite the pollution.
We are now awaiting dinner with freshly washed hair, listening to the river.