Land of Humidity
11.16.2007 - 11.21.2007
We had a great trip to Cambodia spending time in both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. We started in Phnom Penh and visited the major sites there, including the King's Palace and the National Museum. One of our favorite parts of this visit was people watching while sitting on the wall between the river and the main street. We lost count of the all the street vendors coming up to us asking us to by things from sugarcane and mango (with spicy chili powder) to local guide books and postcards.
The number of tuk-tuks and motorcycles/mopeds on the streets of Cambodia is amazing. A major highlight included us hopping on the back of a motorcycle taxi and being driven to our hotel through busy streets by a driver who had no idea where our hotel was. Now that's good fun!
Although a "must do" when visiting Cambodia, our visit to the famous S21 prison and the Killing Fields of the Khmer Rouge has to be the most depressing day of our lives. It's truly astonishing the level of atrocities committed by the Pol Pot regime to their own people. The fact that all of this took place a mere 30 years ago is also disturbing.
You cannot possibly visit Cambodia without going to see Angkor Wat. It was as good as billed and a major highlight, though all of the temples and ruins around Siem Reap were amazing. Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm (of Tomb Raider fame) were overflowing with tourists all day and was sometimes frustrating to get good pictures and truly experience the beauty of the temples.
Here are a few pictures of Angkor Wat, Ta Keo, and Ta Prohm:
We also visited the major lake in the area, Tonle Sap, which is occupied by hundreds of people living in floating villages far away from the mainland. Floating homes and restaruants were all over the place as well as bars with pool tables and believe it or not a floating basketball court!!!
Here's a picture of the sunset over the lake:
Food - We always have to mention the food. Like Bangkok, it was also very good and inexpensive throughout Cambodia. Our favorite dishes were the amok, loc lac, and sauteed morning glory. Please try them if you have a local Cambodian restaurant.
Markets - Cambodian life revolves around the markets. They are incredibly busy and chaotic with narrow walkways. These markets sell everything... from hardware and bicycle tires to raw meat and clothing.
Humidity - Visiting temples during the heat of the day combined with being unaccustomed to Southeast Asian humidity, we often became drenched in sweat and found ourselves seeking shade everywhere we went.
Look for our New Zealand entry soon!