World Travel 2013-2014, Cambodia Wrap Up

  • Overall what we did: 12 days split into: 5 days in Siem Reap and 7 days in Phnom Penh from 6 December 2013 to 17 December 2013.
  • Favourite part of Cambodia: Would have to say the Angkor Wat Archaeological Park. So many incredibly beautiful temples
  • Key tip: There is no public transport within Cambodia (no public buses in the city, no trains etc). Be prepared for it, and make sure you have a bit extra budgeted for tuk tuks and private buses.
  • Cultural points:
    • Traffic: Traffic if possible was worse than Thailand, but somehow still coordinated ish. I really don’t know how they weren’t more accidents considering a two lane road always had four directions of traffic (two going the right way, two going against traffic on the verges). If you plan to ride a bicycle keep in mind that traffic drives on the right hand side of the road and no one uses their mirrors or glances behind them – proceed with caution!
    • Street Vendors: We had a fun time trying to make ourselves understood in Siem Reap to some lovely street vendors. Turns out pictionary works very well for ordering, and creates a lot of amusement for the staff
  • Highlights: Walking through the temples of the Angkor Wat Archaeological Park. An incredible experience.
  • Best Experience: The super friendly staff at the Green Village Park Guesthouse we stayed at in Siem Reap. They always greeted us with a smile, and made our stay in Siem Reap very memorable. The cooking class we did in Phnom Penh was also fantastic, a lot of fun to learn how to cook some of the meals we’ve been eating and we had a fantastic instructor!
  • Chopping banana flower at the cooking class, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

    Chopping banana flower at the cooking class, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

  • Worst Experience: Crossing the border from Thailand at Poi Pet, and seeing a crowd break into a fight and a guard using a baton on people. We think it was a food ration point as people were running away with large sacks once they had gotten to the front of the crowd, but it didn’t inspire me with confidence about travelling around the country for the next 12 days
  • Must See Attraction: Angkor Wat Archaeological Park, in particular Banteay Srei (a bit of a hike out of town, but absolutely worth the time in my opinion) and Bayon. Obviously if you are in the park you’ll be visiting Angkor Wat and Ta Phrom, but Bayon and Banteay Srei are also worth the time to visit and explore. Added bonus is the crowds weren’t as bad at these two temples as at Angkor Wat or Ta Phrom
  • Most Over-hyped Attraction: Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda in Phnom Penh. In my opinion, considering you can’t enter any buildings except the Silver Pagoda, it’s just not worth the visit
  • Would I go back? If I had been asked at the start of our time in Cambodia would I go back, the answer would have been a flat out no. Now, I’m not so sure. The country has a lot of problems, it’s still finding it’s feet and it doesn’t have a lot of infrastructure (a legacy of its civil war). The gap between the poor and the well off is heart breaking and an enormous gap. But with all the said, the people are friendly and always seem to have a smile on their faces. It’s not a country to relax and have a ‘holiday’ in, but if that’s not what you’re after then Cambodia isn’t such a bad place to visit

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