The best way to get around Cambodia for short distances is via Tuk Tuk. A Tuk Tuk is a motorbike with a rickety, little carriage attached on back. Finding a Tuk Tuk is never difficult, as you will likely get twenty offers for Tuk Tuk hire walking down a single street in Siem Reap. But I recommend that you turn all of them down. All except one. Only one.
His name is Boray and he has been a Tuk Tuk driver for the past few years. Dressed in Dockers, a black, skin-tight muscle shirt and a fedora with an ‘I Heart Kiwi Girls’ button, Boray bears a contagious smile as he greets you with a firm handshake and the promise that he only wants to make you happy. The funny thing is that he is better equipped than anyone in Siem Reap to do it. Wiser than any of his Tuk Tuk counterparts in the ways of the tourist and what makes them happy, Boray equipped his Tuk Tuk with a DVD player, a stereo system, and a microphone making his Tuk Tuk the only Rock and Roll Karaoke Tuk Tuk in the Siem Reap province if not all of Cambodia.
Why would you want any other Tuk Tuk? It would be absurd to make another choice. You can even plug in your MP3 player and create your own soundtrack for the day as you tour the Ancient Temples of Angkor. If you get weary from the sun, Boray can pull over in the shade and turn on a movie for you–he has several different pirated films including a TLC documentary on the mysteries of Ancient Angkor. This movie came in very useful as our guide book left a lot of questions unanswered about the giant monuments surrounding us. If you get hungry, Boray will take you to a decent restaurant, or even feed you Cambodian snacks like Palm sugar cubes, sticky rice in a Banana leaf, or Coconut fruit. If you get bored (which is unlikey), have no fear. Boray keeps up the energy by regularly yelling through his microphone, “Welcome my friends to the Rock and Roll Tuk Tuk, Welcome! Whoooooooo hooooooo! The Only One in town!”
Boray’s English was not so hot, but it didn’t matter. We spend two days touring with him and our faces got tired from smiling so much. Over and over again Boray shared his belief that that tourists only come to Cambodia to be happy, so he figures happiness is what he will give them. But it is not only tourists who benefit from his energy and equipment. Everywhere we went Cambodians and tourists alike would light up in joy as The Rock and Roll Tuk Tuk motored by. Boray was famous. Everywhere we stopped Boray knew someone. Many folks came up to us and said, “You very lucky. He iz da only one,” to which Boray would reply laughing, “Only one!” When we would come down from a Temple, we would always know which Tuk Tuk was Boray’s because, not only was it the only one blasting music, or the only one with plastic flowers attached in a magnetic vase, but because it was always surrounded by a throng of people. Children got really excited as he drove up, knowing that he was the man with the funny movies. We returned from one visit to find about fifteen children pinned to the Tuk Tuk, each of them trying to catch a glimpse of the film, the title of which, roughly translated, means “The Adventures of the bald, fat boys.” They were utterly delighted. We couldn’t bear to pull them away until the movie was over.
We gave Boray the gift of Bob Marley. He approved.
If ever you visit Siem Reap, find this man. He will likely be hanging around Pub Street. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you can’t find him, pay another Tuk Tuk to bring you to him. It’s worth it.
I’ve never been on the party bus before. But who needs a bus when you have a karaoke Tuk Tuk?