Siem Reap and Phnom Penh
02.02.2009 - 06.02.2009 30 °C
Hi again - sorry for the entries in quick succession...We have been busy! Now we are actually in Japan and trying to catch up!
We had a total of 5 days in Cambodia, primarily to see Angkor Wat. As soon as we arrived at Siem Reap airport, we knew we were at a tourist mecca...funded by US$ (the only currency you can withdraw at ATMs)...modern airport and fast efficient immigration meant we were ready for our first visit to Angkor Wat after a quick lunch.
As anyone who has been here would know, the Angkor temples are extremely impressive and it is actually difficult to adequately describe with ordinary adjectives...but we will post some pics later which will hopefully do a better job than anything we could write ourselves! One of the highlights of our trip so far has been hiring bicycles and cycling through the jungle and stopping off at the temples as they appeared through the trees (over 2 days we clocked about 90km!). Our favourite was the Bayon, which we visited everyday and spent many hours exploring the maze of passageways and catching different perspectives of all 200+ of the mysterious faces looking out over the temple.
Unfortunately, our wake-up calls kept getting earlier as our tour continued - this time it was to catch the sun rising over the main Angkor Wat temple at 4:30am. We made it up, but it was a big day!
The food here was great too - we loved Cambodian BBQ ostrich, fish amok curry and hot pot.
Phnom Penh was a much more sombre (but important) place to visit as it contained so much history and truth about the horrific experience that was shared by the Cambodian people under the Khmer Rouge regime only 30 years ago. We visited the Killing Fields at Cheung Ek and walked on ground where thousands of Cambodians were tortured and killed - out of a population of 8 million, almost 2 million were exterminated and the scars are still visible today.
We left Phnom Penh with somewhat heavy hearts, but were very much looking forward to Vietnam as we boarded another boat for the last stretch of the Mekong River, which we have followed all the way down from the Golden Triangle, across the border.
At least we had some better transport options here - and who said a Roll's had to have doors!
More to come soon!
HT and Tez