The first Impression:
Cambodia will be always special for me. The country where made me taste of happiness, sadness, mystery and love. Somehow the direction of my life has changed in Cambodia. Cambodia gave me much and took from me much… Still possible to feel it under my skin…
The country had been through the Khmer Rouge in 1975-1979. Over 3 million people were killed by the government. The reason of the killings was, government was thinking the citizens were on spy activities against their own country. The main targets were the educated people: Teachers, solicitors, accountants, artists, doctors… they have been all killed. The impacts of those years can be still felt in the country. They would have been more improved by now. But they need to start over again which has taken the country decades back. I will write more about that mass murder below and share some photos. I highly recommend you that watch the movies ´´first they killed my father´´ and ´´the killing fields´´ before you go to Cambodia.
I can easily say the cost of traveling; food and accommodation are affordable if you compare with Thailand and Vietnam. The country has 2 currencies: American Dollar and Cambodian Riel. So I highly recommend you to keep your 1 USD notes for Cambodia.
Also please be informed that every stores making pizzas also sells happy pizza J . Means they put weed in it.
Visa Process...Easy! pay 30 usd on arrivals desk and 30 days visa is in your passport
1. Siem Reap,
I contacted with my friend as she has been living in Cambodia for a while. She offered me to stay together. Actually it was a very good idea for me; however I like the hostel life, it was like a dream to stay in a proper place even for 3 nights. That is the reason I cannot suggest you a specific place but the place where is very close to Siem Reap Hardrock Café where is very close to the night life.
Drinks are affordable (in cocktail is about 2 usd). If you like to smoke Shisa there is Shisha culture in Cambodia. You can drink your alcohol and enjoy you shisha. Also good night clubs are available in the area which I didn’t prefer to go. You can go street 8. Also the hostels are in that area.
Despite the prices little bit higher than other restaurants the meals are best in Khmer Touch Cuisine Restaurant. If you want a budget restaurant but still good meal i suggest you to go Khmer Grill restaurant. And try grilled frog here. It was so delicious
I was here to see Ankor Wat of course the biggest in the world and oldest Temple in Asia. It became more famous with Tomb Rider series as you remember Angelina Jolie was the star of the movie.
- Ankor Wat:
When you see many temples in Asia, after a while all of them are seem same. But not Ankor Wat! This temple is approximately 900 years old it has been built by Khmer Empire. The thing that I first noticed was the headless statues. During the war with Hindus and Buddhist the temple has changed hands. When Buddhist abandon on temple they cut all the statues heads off… Any way it has interesting stories. I won’t tell them here all of them. Please check it on Wikipedia…
I rented a motorbike as I always did during my Asia trip. Also you can hire a tuktuk from the city center. It takes about 20 mins. First you need to buy ticket from ticket office which is 10 mins from the temple. Despite the entry ticket is expensive, it is worth it; 3 days ticket 62usd 1 day ticket 37usd. Highly recommend you to get the 3 days. The temple is really big and you can’t finish it in one day. At least you need to stay there 2 days. Before arrive the temple you pass through in a really wide road like 7-8 km. In that moment you understood something big was coming :)
How to go there...Please take account you are in Asia and the weather is hot as fu**. So what I can recommend you is wake up at 4am catch the sun raise over Ankor Wat and start your sightseeing early in the morning. It will be very warm afternoon and the best photo capture is catching the Sun raise in the morning. Okay now I can hear like how we will go there that early. Easy… just deal with a tuk tuk driver. He picks you up in the morning and takes you back to your hotel in the evening from Ankor Wat. Do not pay more than 20 USD …. Or you can rent one of them and pay 45 USD/day. He waits for you when you are in the temple and then takes you the other temples as other temples are far away and you cannot walk. Or the other option is bicycle which I do not recommend. HOT HOT HOT :)
As i mentioned before the area is very large and there are many other temples: Ankor Thom, Ta Phom, preah Khann and many other small ones… you will be supplied a map of the area by ticket office. You can do planning with the map.On the way back from Ankor Wat there is a beautiful lake side. You can have beer here and chill out with hammocks.
After i spent 3 days in that legendry city I was heading to Phnom Penh by night bus. I paid 9 usd for transport.
2. Phnom Penh
Where to stay... I arrived to the city very early in the morning and i had forgot to book a hotel before i went there :) one of a Dutch lady; Angelique understood that from my face and suggest me a hostel: Onederz Hostel...i accepted offer as i had no other option. But i didn’t know that decision would change the direction of my future life…
We arrived to the hostel at 5 am and it wasn’t possible to check in that early. However they let us to sleep in the common area. After 3 hour sleep I opened my eyes…the first thing that i saw was going to change of direction of my life...
After checked in i and Angelique decided to go to Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum together.
- Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum:
It is very hard to describe what we saw there. The Museum is about everything what people have been through in these days.The statements from the victims and executioners, the bones and skulls of the victims, the torture rooms and tools, blood which has been there for over 40 years. That day was the day that I can never forget. It is not an easy to see all of these but still one of the best way to see how monster the humans are.
The entry fee is 5 USD. If you planning to do the killing zone and the museum in same day. I wouldn’t suggest it. I needed to process each event. And you might want to sleep over it first before visit the other one. The stuffs that you will see are not that easy to get over suddenly.
Where to eat...That was enough for the day. We back to the hostel and made some Friends here. We people decided to go out for a dinner altogether. Are you coming too? MokMony Restaurant; really nice food and affordable prices. We paid 26 usd for 4 people then. Also there are many place to eat in the area.
The night life...After dinner we were 3 of us. Went to Dusk Till Down bar had some beers and played pool. The bar is in Rue Pasteur Street 51. As you can notice the name of the street is French. France ruled the country many years. I will give you more information about it later on. After we played Pool just crossed the road of the same street and went to Pontoon night club. 2 of us… The club is high quality the drinks are expensive but still good choice for dance. Me and Ruth got out from the club at 4am and back to the Hostel after we grabbed 2 big burgers in somewhere else … good night...
-The Killing Fields:
The next day it wasn’t that easy to wake up. But it is the best part of traveling. If you want to sleep you go on sleep. I and Angelique jump on our scooter and drove to Killing Fields.
How to go... It wasn’t not easy to ride to the place; the traffic jam was awful and Angelique was little bit stressed because of the roads. It took 40 mins at least by motorbike or you can deal with a tuk tuk driver and arrange your trip to Killing fields.
It costs 5 USD again. They will give you a device with headset and you can listen the stories in every station. There is no point to try to explain what I see. It is better you check the below photos.
If you are not hangover like me it is better you go early in the morning and back to city before rush hour. We had some difficulties in traffic in rush hour.
I was planning to go to Koh Rong Island. We decided to go there together with Ruth…