08.03.2005 - 16.03.2005
Cambodia with all it's wonders captured me and is definitely one of my best loved countries. The Cambodians are all friendly people. Progressing from the era of Pol Pot's reign where many of the people who were considered educated were tortured and killed violently, this country has sinced tried to rebuild itself and opening up for tourist to come as well as external parties to help rebuild the country. Cambodia itself does not have much of it's own cultural heritage left besides it's language which is considered one of the oldest language around. Most things sold around Russian Market and Central Market are imported from nearby country such as Vietnam, Thailand or China.
The place to visit to get to know some history of Pol Pot's regime would be to visit Toul Sleng. Now a museum and once a school, it was turned into the main torture centre for Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge's commander and soldiers. Gruesome photos of the tortured victims, bones, cell blocks where they held the prisoners and torture devices can be seen on display there. Definitely not for those who's heart is faint. The Killing Fields is not much but a ditch and not worth the visit.
With it's recent year's development, Phnom Penh itself has a mall and fast food restaurants and many eateries along the riverside. However, true Cambodian dishes are rarely sold because it's mostly being cooked at home. There are quite a number of Chinese migrants who are living in the city, therefore, you may be able to get by with some Chinese if you speak the language.
We took a ride from Phnom Penh to Kratie which is about 6 hours and crossed many bridges and smaller towns along the way. We took a detour once because one of the route had a bomb exploded earlier which destroyed the bridge we needed to take. The government did not ensure all the mines were dug out and removed. Therefore sometimes, an unsuspecting driver who decides to use uncommon roads may stumble upon one and causes it to explode. The roads are paved only up to the point where the high government officials have visited, paved for their convenience.
Pure unadulterated living can be found in the suburbs villages. Do try travelling along less travelled roads by tourist to experience this. Weather is hot and humid most year round. Travel light because everything is cheap here. You can buy on along the way if you need any.
Cambodia in Bird's Eye View along Mekong River
Suburb Roadtrip to Kratie
Detour crossing a bridge
The Boat Ride
Monk on the Walk from Monastery to Monastery