Cambodia short but sweet...
Trip Start Apr 08, 2011
30Trip End Mar 23, 2012
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Where I stayed
Siem Reap Temple Villa
What I did
Cambodia is my last country before heading back into Thailand to chill on the beach for a few weeks and I wasn't sure what to expect, I had heard a lot of stories about the poverty and corruption and that is certainly evident especially as I travel by bus and see more of the countryside.Its seriously hot 35+ every day, certainly the hottest I’ve been since leaving India
So we arrived by bus from Hoi Chin Minh City on the strangest bus journey to date! We had the back seat to ourselves which would have been fine apart from none of the seat cushions were attached to the seats properly so everything we went over bump or the bus stopped suddenly (which happened a lot) you went flying. Also about 5 rows of seats had been removed in front of the back seat so Lisa and I were separated from all the other passengers
First stop in Cambodia was Phnom Penh, we did the 3 hotel check policy and the third was only slightly better than the other 2, no window but the room was big, water hot, and staff really friendly, we came back one day and they invited us to sample the Clams and Snails they were eating, well when I say they invited we sort of looked at their food and went "oh what’st hat, looks nice….. making appropriate um noises and they offered us some!Snails were interesting; they were some sort of water snails cross between snail and shell fish, nice! Had the most amazing Tagliatelle Carbonara, which I know is not very local or traditional but sometimes you just need pasta and wow it was lovely (we are going back to Phnom Penh tomorrow - not just to have this again but it’s definite must have before we leave Cambodia on Tuesday.
Phnom Penh is a bit of a dirty, crude city but as I started to understand the history of Cambodia it starts to make sense, I will admit I was not aware of everything that had happened in Cambodia and if you are please skip a few paragraphs. Basically in the mid 70’s under the rule of the Khmer Rouge and the leader Pol Pot almost 1/3rd of the population were removed from their homes, held captive and tortured before being brutally killed and buried in mass graves
Here there is a memorial to the 9000 people that were killedthere and now feels calm and respectful. You get an audio guide which reallyexplains (often in the words of people directly affected) exactly whathappened. There are very few buildings they were town down by the Cambodianpeople when the Khmer Rouge party was removed from power, however you seegraves where people were beaten, pushed into and died, there is a monument thatis full of skulls, bones and clothes from the dead.
Our next stop however was a complete contrast and shows the historic beauty side of Cambodia. Angkor Wat. We got a bus for 6 hours to SiemReap which is the nearest town to the Historical Angkor. We had been given details of a hotel from a hotel in Phonm Penh however when we got there the small entrance to it leading down an alley did not look promising Lisa went and checked it out and was not over joyed, luckily out Tut Tut driver knew of a place for £12 a night (between us) and with a pool. Bargain. Unfortunately we do think the Tut Tut driver ripped us off a bit with our tour of the temples but we sort of forgave him since he did a good job on getting us the hotel. So the next day we went on our first Wat visit…….. Angkor Wat – Wow totally amazing, it is sort of in the middle of nowhere with a moat around it, then you see the towers of Angkor on the horizon. You can walk all around and climb up the top which provides an amazing view. Now there is only one negative I would say and that’s the bloody Japanese they are seriously everywhere, getting about in mass group, with unbelievably bad dress sense, they wear so many clothes as they are paranoid about getting sunburn and then fan themselves all the time, its actually quite funny looking back but at the time it gets a bit much
Siem Reap is quite a tourist town, lots of western food and great markets to shop in. I was going to save buying all my tat from Bangkok but its so good here just could not resist. The bartering is amazing I got twoT-shirts for $5 where as originally the lady wanted $6 each, basically you just walk away and they come after you. One thing that is really sad in Cambodia is that everything is in Dollars, you only ever get Riel the Cambodian currency as change if something costs less than $1 really sad that they don’t use or value their own money.
So that’s it’s for Cambodia, had a really chilled last day today and enjoyed a body scrub, sauna, steam and massage to get ready for the beach. Yes its back to Thailand next we have decided to spend last few weeks there so flying to Bangkok, then Phuket on Tuesday, not heard much good about Phuket so thinking of Ko Lanta and a really chilled island we have been told about Ko YaoNoi but no plans so any advice from anyone welcome. Can’t believe less than 3weeks to go….. I’m sure I’ll fit in another couple of blogs so catch up soon
Lots of love