We only had a brief 6 days in Cambodia, but managed to cram a lot in during that time. After a horribly hungover, long, and cramped journey across the border from Vietnam our first stop was Phnom Penh. We only spent 1 full day in the city before moving on to Siem Reap, but would definitely recommend a visit as there was so much to learn about the country’s history. We hired a tuk tuk from our hostel which took us first to the S21 museum (a former prison used during the Khmer Rouge regime), and then on to the Killing Fields.The audio guide and whole implementation of the museum was done in a really respectful and humane way. It was an eye opening experience, and one that will stay with us. I don’t really know what to say about the Killing Fields, as the name and history surrounding this place speaks for itself. Again we felt the whole exhibition was presented very well, and would seriously urge anyone who heads to Cambodia to visit. We personally felt awful that we had known so little about the Khmer Rouge and the atrocities they inflicted upon the Cambodian people, even though it happened such a short time ago. But we learned a great deal from our visit and felt that both locations have been opened to the public in a way that serves the purpose of both educating and commemorating the victims of the regime in a sensitive way.
Siem Reap surprised us as one of the most ‘westernized’ cities we’d visited on our trip. Which really should have been obvious seeing as it is the gateway to the largest religious monument in the world, but I don’t think any of us expected to see quite so many huge Costa’s about! Regardless it was actually a really nice place to spend a few days in, and we enjoyed ambling about the night market and generally just walking the city.
Angkor Wat was, obviously, incredible. We might have been feeling quite templed out recently, but it was a phenomenal place to visit, and I can see why Lonely Planet voted it the no.1 sight in the World to visit. The number of tourists was ridiculous though. Evidently we can’t really talk because we were touristing as hard as the next person, but the hordes of people did tend to get in the way of actually being able to appreciate the amazing place! Regardless we still took about 10,000 photos and wished we had a bit more time to go back and explore more of the temples further out.
In Siem Reap we were also able to take a bit of time to sort out where to go next, as our plans were screwed a bit by the torrential downpours that have hit many of the Thai islands, even though this is technically the dry season (thanks Mother Nature). We didn’t much fancy being potentially stranded on a flooded Koh Tao, so asked about a bit, googled a bit, and eventually decided to head to Koh Chang to get our diving qualification instead. So that’ll be the next blog post, probably in about 85,629 years time (whoops).
A & K