If you are tired of Thailand, give a Cambodia go and you wont regret. Traveling gives us so much, most of the times we don’t even notice that we been blessed by someone’s smile, warm look or nice word. We collect those memories deep inside and changing that memories into a new experiences. But the smile of the youngest is what amaze me the most. Few months ago I traveled to Cambodia and these small faces left me speechless .
Ever since Angelina Jolie swung trough the ruins in Cambodia as Lara Croft, Tomb Raider, the place has been crawling with tourists. Despite that it is still charming and easy to walk and explore. Try Great Wall on Sunday or any other holiday then you will see the real meaning of “packed with tourists”.
The beauty of this country is definitely in their citizens.Their way of living it’s so simple, they work just enough to buy food and some basic things beside that they just enjoy life sharing simple moments with there close family. Cambodia is still pure, not ruined with money from the western people so this is the right time to travel there. Beside people, food is so cheap and amazing, real paradise for all senses.
Don’t forget to visit Siem Reap, place where is hidden amazing complex of ancient buildings built almost a thousands years ago when the culture of Khmer was at their cultural top of development. With the agriculture reform they became one of the most developed culture of that time which we are lucky to witness with these historical buildings. Siem Reap is the biggest place by population settled near ruins of famous Hindu / Buddhist Temples.
Don’t miss the sunrise at Angkor Wat, everyone does it but still you’d be amazed by how many tourists show up at 5:30 am. You have to be skilled to skip all the crowd; the best way is to go opposite of the flow. Find your perfect spot and just enjoy Sun play. Angkor Wat is the biggest temple of all and was unknown and undiscovered until France colonized Cambodia in the mid 1800’s.
Tha Proham is the tample you saw in Tomb Raider and shows a beauty and power of Mother Nature. It was left as found – crumbling walls intertwined with tree roots and it’s impressive picture. While you are driving across this complex you will witness real Cambodian life passing by many villages and houses around the forest jungle.
Moving around it’s easy and cheap with tuk-tuk if you know how to negotiate. Don’t settle for more then 2 or 3 dollars per ride because that money there is huge. Average income for Cambodian per month is around 80$ so count how much money rikshas drivers make.
Also while you are there you can experience hot air ballon ride. It’s around 100 $ but it’s still the cheapest one you can get anywhere in the world. Honestly it was not the best way to spent that much money because they didn’t drive us for 30 minutes like they said and most of the time we were only 4/5 meters above the ground because it was windy. And the landing was really horrible, not to say scary. The best thing around that all hot air ballon thing was the chance we got to see children from the villages while we were up in the air. They were running and following us for a chance to grab a candies.
There are many ways to get to Phnom Penh from Siem Reap but I recommend fast boat. It will take you around 7 to 8 hours but you will be able to witness real life of Cambodia. Tonle Sap Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. During the dry season the lake drains into the Tonle Sap River witch flows into the Mekong River. But in the rainy season (June to October), the huge amount of water in the Mekong causes the Tonle Sap River to reverse its flow. The safety on the boat is quite ok so you just need to enjoy scenes while the boat passing wooden houses and all the working people along the way.
When you get to Phnom Penh you will find yourself in a bustling city surrounded by many imperial buildings which this capital is full of. If you want to experience the Cambodian not that bright past go to S-21 also known like The Toul Sleng Genocide Museum. Pol Pot, the Hitler of Cambodia as his army were responsible for the deaths of nearly three million Cambodians between 1975 and 1979. Once a peaceful high school, S-21 become a torture – interrogation center from which only a few survived. Those who survived were taken to the killing fields for a final extermination. S-21 is now Toul Sleng Genocide Musem, in memory of those tortured here.
The Killing Fields, 15 kilometers away from the city center witness how cruel were Pol Pot’s regime. In the center of this complex there is a monument unlike any other in the world, crammed with skulls and other bones unearthed from just one of the hundreds of Cambodian Killing Fields. This place is both cemetery and hallowed ground. This is a difficult place to visit but like other Holocaust places one must learn so that it never happens again.
Kindly recommend everyone to put this beautiful country on the travel list because it will leave you breathless and those who already visited feel free to comment and share your experience.