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…
We took a bus to Sihanoukville before noon to catch the last ferry at 16:00 but we couldn’t. They were all full and we had to spend one night there. We found the same hostel in there: Onederz Hostel. This time it had swimming pool paid 6 USD for each.
Where to eat...To be honest there is nothing to do much there. I dont know maybe i find there boring because the weather was really bad in that time. We just spent the night there to get the earliest ferry the next morning.But still there are some places to spend time.Olive and Olive Mediterranean restaurant would be a good choice. We ate 1 kg Lobster and drank 1 bottle of wine. Paid 32 USD. And then had some bears in Monkey Republic Restaurant and played pool…Playing pool was going to one of our routine even if I win always:)....that place is also nice to chill out and talk...
Woke up in the morning very early and headed to Koh Rong…All i can remember is it want that easy to wake up in that morning...
4. Koh Rong Island:
The island of virginity... Just couple of years ago there were limited electricity. After Turkish people came to island they brought electricity properly. I can say that %70 of the bars and restaurants belong to Turkish people. Still you have to go to the island with cash otherwise you have to exchange it in restaurants or shops with low rates.
The sad thing is %70 of the island has been bought by an American company and they will build a big resort on the island. The virginity of the island will be ruined. Therefore I highly recommend to you be there before it ruined by human.
We stayed in Starfish Bungalow. It was far away from luxury but that place was like our home for 4 days which we never want to leave…
The island is just for chilling out and relaxing. Beautiful ocean beautiful beaches and food… if you go there do not forget to buy a bottle of rum&coke and drink it on the beach accompany of the Stars…This is something i still dream about it.
The bars are open till late (12-1) but every Wednesday there is a beach party in Police Beach. It goes on till the morning. Also there is a huge beach: 4K but you have to hike first to reach there which was amazing. You can spend all your day here far away from the noise. God it was like Paradise... Koh Rong is one of the best destinations in my trip. It was like Nora Jones song. ´´Come away with me´´ that could be the place where nobody can find you…
The best attraction in the island is to join Adam adventure boat trip. It is 25 USD but I can say that it is totally worth it. He is an English guy who visited to Koh Rong and decided to stay there and set up a business in that small island.
The best part of the tour is it goes to other part of the island there is only one small village and it is purely virgin. Even there is no electricity there. It was a great experience to be there with these people. Their conditions weren’t so good but it looks like they are the people for that nature. There was a boy in the village. The first time I stepped in to village he hugged me and didn’t leave me till i was leaving.I wish I could bring him to Europe with me. (The pictures are below)
We bought coco oil from the villagers and I believe there is still some left from that coco oil in somewhere else… you can use it while cooking or apply it to your hairs/beard or you can give massage with it.
After that sweet village we stopped in the middle of the ocean and play frisbee after had our lunch and rum&coke. That one was a good activity.
Also we were able to see Song Saa Private Island. The island has one resort and daily fee is around 3000€. Maybe you might think to take your wife there for honeymoon?
We were planning to stay 2 nights in Koh Rong Island but we extended it two more nights. After chill out days i was planning to go back to Bangkok to take my flight back to Turkey. But it didn’t happen. The next destination was beautiful Kampot…
After four hours bus trip (we watch a Jason Statham movie in Cambodian language on board. He was killing again everyone in Thailand:))) to Kampot we checked in our hotel: Ramo Resort. Probably it was the best accommodation during my trip. Bungalows on Kampot River…Again we planned to stay 2 nights but we stayed 4 days. I highly recommend you to stay in Ramo Resort or in the same side of Ramo Resort. You can watch the sunrise from your bed on the river, Drink wine or rum&coke on a hummock which is on your little terrace opening to the river.
- Bokor Hills:
We rented a scooter and riding over the hills. The journey takes about 45 minutes and you have to climb up a mountain to reach that historical city. After the heat of Cambodia the environment were getting colder and foggy. We were riding the bike through the fog over the hills to the sky…that was one of the most beautiful rides in my life.
Bokor Hill is a formal French town from 1920s over the hills of Cambodia. The place was a luxury in those days but it wouldn’t be wrong to call it Bokor Hill Ruins. The city also called the Ghost town. Actually it was looking like a ghost town in that day because of fog.
There were a casino, post office, church and school. If you like history and ruins I highly recommend you to see Bokor Hill.
My favorite building was the little chapel; it is almost in a perfect shape. We have still connection with that little chapel somehow eventought we might not see it again. But we know the connection will be always there forever…I put that little chapel in the center of my trip. It deserves it…
The area is very large. There are also some other ruins, viewpoints, waterfalls. It would be good choice one day tour with a scooter.
-Tada Ruong. Chang Waterfall,
It is the place that you can visit for an hour in the same day of Bokor Hill trip. There are also little pools that you can cool down.
We decided to stay in the city in the last day. We hang out in the city as there are plenty of restaurants and cafes you can enjoy. Also the Bungalow was enough to spend our one day here with our best friends : Rum and Coke...
***See you in another life...
It was the last day of our traveling adventure as well. I have to go back to Bangkok to take my flight back to Istanbul. I booked my bus to Bangkok and say good bye to Cambodia and her.
I was leaving with heavy heart. Even I didn’t know what happened to me, why I wanted to stay there forever? Far away from all other things… never come back from the hills…ride that fucking scooter till the end of the time with her. Which was never going to happen… that thoughts were buried in that little chapel forever.
And I said goodbye … See you in another life…..
I didnt know that i would come back to Asia 10 days later to find out what it was...The fairytale was going to continue in Malaysia...i had a new soulmate or i thought it was...