Where: South East Asia
When I visited: 2012
Places I visited (2): Phonm Penh, Siem Reap
When I crossed into Cambodia from Vietnam, I was greeted with a sign saying ‘Welcome Tommy’ as well as in Cambodian. I had spoke to a Cambodian agent at a bus stop whilst journeying from Vietnam, and he had arranged us a pick up to my hostel in Phonm Penh. Thats something I’ll always remember!
One place I had pinpointed to visit throughout SE Asia was Angkor Wat. Its mysterious presence and asian authenticity had always drawn me to visit it one day from what I had seen in photos, read online and watched on TV. Ruins have a way of luring people to visit, and I’m one of them. I took a 3 day tour and spent time wandering these ruins and learning as much as I could.
Siem Reap, home to Ankor Wat, has Pub Street, which is a mini Khao San Road but of Cambodia. It has bars and stores and is heavily filled with tourists, travellers, backpackers and westerners.
S21 and The Killing Fields were REAL! They are a bit depressing but are distressing too. Its something visitors should understand when visiting Cambodia of how recent the Khmer Rouge was back in the 1970’s.
Angkor Wat is a fantastic bit of history and is the main attraction in Cambodia. The ruins of these temples are quite incredible. Recently in 2016 there has been work to suggest there is more to uncover too. Hoards of tourists visit daily so try catch the sunrise if you can make it up. I had one hour to go before I passed out asleep on the floor after a heavy night on Pub Street!
Phonm Penh is a real somber place because of the S21 prison and killing fields. Due to the Khmer Regime these sites are now tourist attractions but represent some devious and desperate times back in the 1970’s. Get the tissues out as these are quite emotional places to visit, but that being said are definitely a must visit.
Food in Cambodia wasn’t great. I remember having some street food which was noodles like and it turned to be more like fish food. That was a bad experience of food in Siem Reap. Saying that, Cambodian food is similar to there rest of Asia as a whole, meat, rice, spices and some noodles so you’re bound to find some delicious food for sure. My experience just sucked thats all!
Unfortunately there maybe some obvious sex tourism at all levels that are obvious in Cambodia which is shocking. Along with huge poverty still, Cambodia is getting more and more popular, especially with the islands and beaches, but is very poor still. We are privileged to visit there.
Things to know
Mosquito’s are little more aggressive in Cambodia, and its more common to get dengue fever here. The beach locations are on the uprise for backpackers but a lot of the country is still very poor. US Dollars can be used here. Mad Monkey are the biggest chain of hostels in South East Asia and are dotted all over Cambodia.