My only regret about going to Cambodia is that I didn’t have more time to explore this wonderfully cultural country.
With less than a week to explore I wasted no time. My first stop was Phnom Penh after taking a 6 hour bus journey from Ho Chi Minh City costing me £8.
Home to the Killing fields. I believe that this is a must see when visiting Cambodia. Neglecting this landmark is ignoring the country’s history; relatively recent history. We used a Tuk Tuk driver for half the day costing us $10. He first took us to the killing fields taking us around 30-40 minutes from the city centre with an entrance fee of $3: this included an audio tour which was very much appreciated opposed to having men chase you around offering a guide!
The raw truth exposed for tourists to see. Wandering around the grounds was spine chilling. Each point that the audio tour lead you to gave a detailed monologue of what happened nearby and how many children, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, cousins, friends, doctors, lawyers and many more Cambodians were killed and buried where your feet now stand. Below is a picture of a lake where hundreds of innocent victims’ bodies still lie underneath.
The last check point took you to a tall, white building. It held glass boxes full of skulls, murder weapons and items of clothing once worn by the deceased: they aged from new born babies right up to the elderly.
Accidentally, we stumbled upon a crocodile farm. I say accidentally because when the driver asked if we wanted to see it, I thought he said coconut farm. I’m scared of crocodiles so I stood far away. Entrance was $1 in case you fancied seeing 400 crocodiles.
The driver then took us for some lunch. He drove us to a street restaurant where a young woman was cooking spring rolls. They were delicious! We even bought more, along with a banana sweet snack and rice crackers for the journey to Battambang that afternoon. The package below cost us $3…
Battambang: famous for its’ bamboo train running through rice fields and countryside. Sadly, this track will soon be destroyed due to a new highway being built as we speak so if you’re thinking of going to Battambang I recommend that you ride this unique train before it no longer exists.
Battambang > Siem Reap
The same afternoon we hopped on a bus which took us to Siem Reap where we would stay throughout the remainder of our trip.
The secret to seeing the Angkor Wat sunrise:
Tip: Buy your entrance tickets the day before you plan on seeing the sunrise. We learnt this the hard way… there are check points along the route to the gates in which you cannot buy tickets, you have to go to the ticket shop first. We were too late in catching the sunrise on our first attempt so the second morning we were prepared with tickets in hand breezing through the security checkpoints. We parked our scooter at the east gate then walked through a very dark Angkor Wat to the west side where we would find the best angle for viewing the anticipated sunrise. Tripods were lined up ready to take the perfect shot of the sun touching the magnificent temple’s shoulders at 05:45.
The area in which the temples are located was a lot bigger than expected; it took us 40 minutes to drive from Angkor Wat to Ta Som where the gates opened at 07:30.
We shared the whole temple with just one other person giving us peace to roam freely without the hassle of weaving in between other tourists. Start with the furthest temple away from Angkor Wat or the one you want to see the most as many tourists are doing the same route meaning flocks of people will crowd going from Angkor Wat to Bayon first.
Make sure you stop off at one of the gateway bridges along the way, it almost feels like the stone statues are welcoming you to their home.
Bayon Temple: the most interesting of all. You’ll find this temple to be one of the most crowded so I recommend getting there early to beat the rush!
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