cambodia

Location

Egypt
12° 41' 38.1588" N, 104° 36' 0.5148" E

Land of the Angkor Wat and the Khmer empire, it suffered from a horrific past (during Khmer Rouge, Pol Pot’s era) but

it is regaining its consciousness and becoming one of the must visit destinations in the world.

Quick facts:

Visa: 30 days on arrival for 30 USD

Time zone: GMT +7

Location, Boarders: South-East Asia, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam

Capital: Phnom Penh

Language: Khmer

Religion: Buddhists, some Muslim minorities

Currency: Riel, 1USD = 4000r, USD is widely used and you may not need to change money

Price guide: pepsi can = 2000r

 

 

 

 

 

Phnom Penh:

The capital of Cambodia developed a lot in the last few years. Restoration after the damage in Pol Pot’s era was not easy, especially for the people, but here you can never see a city that has to many contradictions as Phnom Penh, damage from the war- modern new buildings, stories about the genocide and tortured relatives – children laughter near the museums.

The capital of Cambodia developed a lot in the last few years. Restoration after the damage in Pol Pot’s era was not easy, especially for the people, but here you can never see a city that has to many contradictions as Phnom Penh, damage from the war- modern new buildings, stories about the genocide and tortured relatives – children laughter near the museums.

Where to stay

The area around Pasar O Russei hosts a lot of cheap accommodations ranging from 3$ for a single room, though it is a bit far from the town center. The roads between the museum and central market have some good options, slightly more expensive than Pasar O Russei but its closer to the action and touristic attractions.

Sights:

National Museum: admission 3$, photography is not allowed inside the halls Hours: 8-5pm

Royal Palace: admission 6.2$, photography is not allowed inside the halls. Hours: 7:30-11am,  2-5pm.

Tuol Sleng museum: it was a school converted to a torture prison (security prison S-21) during Pol Pot’s era, admission: 2$, try to catch the movie at 10 am and 3 pm., hours: 8- 5:30pm

 

Killing field of Choeung Ek: these are the killing field were the tortured victims in S-21 were mass murdered. There is a memorial building hosting the skulls of the victims in the middle of the fields. It is 14km from town and a tuk-tuk trip should cost around 6$ return. Try to see the short video shown starting 9 am every 35 min. Admission: 2$, hours: 7-5:30pm

Getting there and away

Phnom Penh is the travel hub around Cambodia with buses to almost every destination and boats through the Mekong river. There is also an international airport for travelers who are coming from long distances or prefer to fly.

                                                                                                       

 

 

 

Siem Reap:

So, you came to see the Angkor temples, if not; then you should skip Siem Reap. Here is the home of the Ankor temples, probably the most magnificent group of temples in the world, they were built between the 9th and 13th centuries. Siem Reap is like the life support city to these temples.

 

So, you came to see the Angkor temples, if not; then you should skip Siem Reap. Here is the home of the Ankor temples, probably the most magnificent group of temples in the world, they were built between the 9th and 13th centuries. Siem Reap is like the life support city to these temples.

A good place to stay is garden village guesthouse, it was recommended by lonely planet and travelfish.org, and it is great, dorms at 1$ and rooms from 3$, and it is 2 min away from the only mosque in Siem Reap, so it is near to halal food.

 

Activities:

Angkor Temples: Admission tickets: 20/40/60$ for 1/3/7 day(s). plan your visit before purchasing as the tickets can’t be extended. These are the Must-See temples, though other temples are worth visiting and may be less crowded for photographers.

 

Angkor Wat: this is the main temple, Cambodia’s symbol, the “Angkor Wat”. I can’t describe it as you have to see it but a good tip is to try visiting it after sunrise or at noon when all the tourist buses go back to the city for lunch, so that you can have it to yourself. Monks hang around the surrounding lake in the afternoon; their orange robes make a good contrast with balck stones of the temple.

Ta Prohm: this is the temple where the “tomb raider” was filmed. With its massive trees emerging through (and destroying) the stones; it is a huge attraction and you might find a crowd more than that in Angkor Wat, as everyone wants to have a picture with the tree. It impressive but try to be there really early, at sunrise, to be able to explore it peacefully.

Bayon and Angkor Thom area: for Bayon try going there in the golden hours when the sun is low as it illuminates the many faces on the walls, Bayon is a temple with faces on each column,

Other temples should not be missed if you have the time (more than 1 day)

Preah Khan: this is believed to have been a Buddhist university is just north of Angkor thom.

Bantey Srei: this temple with its fine carvings is about 32 km from Siem Reap. It is included in the Angkor ticket

Beng Mealea: this far temple (70 km out of town) has an admission ticket or 5$, but its totally worth it. Better to bisit it with the other far temples of Bantey Srei and Kbal spean. Its alarge temple said to have similar structure as Angkor Wat but it is hard to seethat due to the large trees that destroyed the temples. It is far more photogenic than ta prohm and there is less people who make it that far.

Cycling is a great way to explore the temples though it is tiring. Water is available around the temples; it is advised to buy isotonic drinks from town and cover your head with a scarf from the sun REMEMBER AVOID SUN BURNS AND DEHYDRATION.

Getting there and away

From Phnom Penh: buses start at 5$, 6hrs. while the boat (only at 7:30 am) starts at 25$ and takes 5-7 hrs.

To Bangkok: there are 4 buses to Bangkok each day (6am, 8am, 12pm, 1:30am) drop off at Khao San road.

N.B. Avoid the scam bus from Bangkok, it is widely advertised in Khao San rd., it is obvious by its significantly low price, but you’ll suffer and most probably get ripped off (according to many reviews).