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Ah Cambodia, Cambodia, Cambodia!

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by , 06-13-2014 at 02:49 AM (2751 Views)
      
   
Ah Cambodia, Cambodia, Cambodia! (based on this article)

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What an experience!

What a wonderfully colourful, educational and relaxing country you have been. My home for the past five weeks. It is with a heavy yet happy heart, that I leave you.

From the streets of Phnom Penh where I ate nothing but street food from the little pop up cafés by the roadside. Where I met a crazy Kiwi called Ian who was convinced the Cambodian drugs cartel were watching him. (One too many pills I thought).

To the Killing Fields and Toul
Sleng Museum where I spent an educational and emotional day walking around mouth agape, as I listened and learned about the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge amongst its own people only 30 years ago.

To the wonderfully colourful and vibrant city of Siem Reap with it’s night markets and Khmer street food. This city proved to be an entertaining gateway to the mighty Tonle Sap lake and the beautiful 15th century mangrove forests that surround the stilted houses an vibrant markets of Komplong Pluk village. A waterlogged village where those with ‘nothing’ smiled and waved as if they had everything. Perhaps they do.

To the early 12th Century Khmer King Suryavarman II, and his vision and commitment to building the largest and one of the most spectacular religious monuments in the world. One of the ‘eighth’ wonders of the world no less. The incredible Temples of Angkor. Monks, burning incense, giant trees bursting forth from stonework and a not very discrete plug of a certain Hollywood movie staring Angelina…

To the lesser known and rather bohemian city of Battambang. With it’s French colonial architecture,
unsurfaced, dust laden roads, numerous art studios and stupendously cheap accommodation. Seriously. Go here. It’s pretty cool.

To the paradise like Island of Koh Rong where for $20 you can chug South East across the Gulf of Thailand for a couple of hours to palm tree covered, pure white sandy beaches whilst enjoying laid back soundtrack and beach bar vibes. If you fancy staying a night or three as I did, book yourself into one of the many simple bamboo bungalows that line the beach. It’ll just be you, the geckos and a rat or two. Seriously laid back. A great place to shake off the long weeks of overland travel that can take their toll.

To the port city of Sihanoukville where my Cambodian odyssey ends. A port city with no real history to speak of as it only came to be in 1955, but exudes a calm and hippyish vibe, not mention the home of Angkor Beer which myself and many of my travelling buddies have come to know rather well as the 25 cent beer! Yes. I got a little tipsy on $1!. What can I say. I’m a cheap date!

The jewels of this city are it’s beaches. The booming dance music and beach party vibe of Serendipity beach, the middle aged and somewhat seedy Victory beach, and the beautifully secluded and always empty Otres beach, my personal highlight. Each one a world apart from the one before.

And last but not least, the people. The welcome, the curiosity, the smiles, genuine warmth and resolve of a population that, let’s not forget, was severely decimated within many our lifetimes. Thanks to those I met and conversed with, I leave a little of my heart within your borders.

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Something tells me, to quote a rather large Austrian fellow… ‘I’ll be back!’

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