Just recently I have been thinking a lot about our trip to Cambodia a few years ago. This was Caliph’s favorite vacation so far, I think. It ranks very high with me as well and I have been meaning to write this post for so long. So now I will take that long overdue walk down memory lane and discuss some must see places.
1. Phnom Penh- The Capital
We arrived here by bus from Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. This is about a 5 hour bus ride and there are several options for bus from luxurious to basic. I’ll revisit this later. The main thing to see in the capital city is the royal palace. Besides that we just visited some local markets and got some r&r at our hotel.
2. The Killing Fields
As in many countries around the world, Cambodia has had some dark days in its recent past. Between 1975 and 1979 the Pol Pot led Khmer Rouge led a campaign of terror and genocide throughout Cambodia. When the dust was cleared 20,000 graves were uncovered in one area known as the killing fields. There is also an excellent film of that same name released in 1984 covers events during that time. To pay respects and take a sobering look in to history you can visit this area today. I did not get a chance to go there on my first visit, but I hope to pay my respects next time.
3. Kampot and Bokor National Park
Despite its ugly past or maybe because of it, Cambodians are an incredibly resilient people. They are kind and open-hearted and never made us feel unwelcome. In Kampot we rented motor scooters and rode our hearts out for hours. The weather was beautiful. It was warm and breezy, but not humid as the park is full of lush vegetation. We spent just 1 day and night here, but it was blissful and not well known to the common tourist. http://www.bokor-mountain-cambodia.com/
Cambodia has beaches! and Sihanoukville is a nice little beach resort area. This town is still off the beaten path so only well heeled travellers will make it here. There are developed hotels, resorts and restaurants and we actually had a very nice traditional American Christmas dinner there. The restaurant was adjoined to a crowded little bookstore that was stock full of American and English literature.
5. Siem Reap- last but not least
We finished our jaunt through Cambodia in the world renown Siem Reap. This is the town closest to the Angkor Wat temple area. We spent several days exploring the town here. We cycled through the city’s parks, shopped in the night markets and partied at the international bars. This town is a hub for foreigners from all over and a place where you’ll get harangued constantly for tuk-tuk rides. I admire the hustle of the locals and shake my head at times at the naivete of the revelers, but we certainly enjoyed ourselves here. Be warned, however, the air in siem reap is dry, dusty and hot so prepare yourself for that.
We will definitely be visiting Cambodia again and I can’t wait!