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California Coast RV Road Trip

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Tag Archives: Phnom Penh

Quality Tours of Cambodia

Every country has its iconic sight, and in Cambodia’s case this is undoubtedly the vast temple complex of Angkor Wat, familiar from thousands of images in glossy travel brochures. But as in most cases, there’s a whole different side to the country and a great number of other aspects and attractions to explore to get a fuller and fairer picture of what Cambodia really is. Put the temples into their proper context of history and cultural influences and you get a far better idea of Cambodia as a whole. With quality escorted tours to Cambodia you’ll be able to make the most of a short visit here and take in the main sights, as well as gain a unique insight into the many extraordinary facets of this stunningly beautiful land.

Apart from the Angkor temples, the old French capital of Phnom Penh has its own strangely faded allure, full of more recent ghosts and redolent of a bygone age when young reporters like Graham Greene were sending their bulletins back from the Indochina front and getting drunk in the evenings before filing the next day’s copy. There are numerous museums and pagodas here, and beyond the towns and cities a timeless natural beauty in the sandy, unspoilt beaches and the majestic mountains of the interior.

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum barbed wire

Phnom Penh’s fabulously exotic location at the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers adds greatly to its considerable old-world colonial charm, and spending a relaxing day or two exploring it makes the ideal start to a vacation in Cambodia. The crumbling French colonial mansions are reminiscent of Havana, and you can have a good trawl through the city’s chequered past in the Tuol Sleng Museum. This contains amongst other things a graphic account of the appalling rule of the Khmer Rouge, which leaves you full of admiration for a people who seem able to not quite forget it but to move on so cheerfully and resiliently when it might have taken others generations to deal with the trauma. Stepping back out into the fresh air, don’t miss the Wat Phnom hilltop pagoda which gave its name to the city and the stately Royal Palace and amazing Silver Pagoda with its solid silver floor tiles. For another dose of grim reality and to pay some respects you could take a trip outside the city to the Killing Fields, where 18,000 people were butchered by the Khmer Rouge.

Temples and trees at Angkor Wat, Siem Reap Cambodia

At Siem Reap we get reality of a different and more worthy kind in the age-old Angkor temples which tower majestically above the surrounding landscape. Here, a great empire still speaks to us, consistent, serene and full of wisdom. Angkor Wat, the most famous, is only one of the many temples here which were in their prime at the height of the Khmer Empire of the 12th and 13th centuries.

Cambodia is a land of contrasts, offering great natural beauties and a history and culture to rival any in the world. Its people have been through more than their fair share of suffering but remain the friendliest and most hospitable on earth, eager to show off their country to visitors who often have little idea of the wonders in store for them.

David Elliott is a freelance writer who loves to travel, especially in Europe and Turkey. He’s spent most of his adult life in a state of restless excitement but recently decided to settle in North London. He gets away whenever he can to immerse himself in foreign cultures and lap up the history of great cities.

10 Things That Make Your Head Spin in Cambodia

Bizarre Sights of Cambodia

Cambodia is often overlooked as a tourist destination in favour of its bigger brothers Thailand and Vietnam. And while most of Asia has its fair share of bizarre sights, those who do take the time to travel to the land of the Khmer are rewarded (and sometimes appalled) with some amazingly head-spinning sights that you just won’t see anywhere else. Like these…

Bizarre Sight #1: Motorbike Shops

Bizarre Sights of Cambodia, Motorcycle overloaded with toys and brooms, Krong Koh Kong, cambodia

These motorbikes, and sometimes bicycles can be seen in most towns in Cambodia. They ply anything from children’s toys to balloons to brooms to baskets. How they manage to weave through traffic is anyone’s guess. Which leaves us with the question – do they accept credit card?

Bizarre Sight #2: Long Loads

Iron beam on a truck, Krong Koh Kong, Cambodia

It’s safe to say you probably wouldn’t see something like this in Kansas. All sorts of engineering feats are accomplished in order to get goods from point A to point B. At least in this case, there is someone securing the beam in addition to the piece of rope strapping it to the back. There’s always that.

Bizarre Sight #3: Babies on Bikes

Baby and groceries on motorcycle, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

I suppose at least the driver is wearing a helmet. That’s about the only positive thing I can see here.

Bizarre Sight #4: Street Meat

Pig Roasting, Krong Koh Kong, Cambodia

Cambodians like their meat. And in most cases, they like it displayed right out in the open. this is a one of the common bizarre sights of Cambodia. It’s not hard to find a full animal being roasted on the sidewalk. This chap does have a jaunty chef’s hat though. Wouldn’t want to have the health department breathing down our back now would we?

Bizarre Sight #5: Children Selling Fireworks

Child selling fireworks, Sihanoukville, Cambodia

One of the sadder sides to Cambodia’s rampant poverty is that children often do not get the education they need. In the beach town of Sihanoukville, many start work at a young age to help put food on the table for their families. It’s common to see kids as young as four years old collecting pop cans by day, then selling fireworks by night.

Bizarre Sight #6: Cocks Before the Fight

Caged roosters, Krong Koh Kong, Cambodia

Cockfighting is part of the cultural fabric of Cambodia, and has evolved into a sport featured right across the country. One of the most bizarre sights of Cambodia is to see these colorful creatures getting some fresh air before the fight — outside a bar. Or maybe they’re just eyeing up the competition?

Bizarre Sight #7: Pyjamas in Public

Mix and match pyjamas in public, Krong Koh Kong, Cambodia

Like China, Vietnam and other Asian countries, Cambodian women have embraced the PJ’s in public phenomena. Women here prefer to mix and match their outfits. The down side for visitors is that you’re not sure who’s working or who’s sleepwalking.

Bizarre Sight #8: Monks on the Beach

Monks on a beach, Sihanoukville, Cambodia

Cambodia is XXXXXX % Buddhist, so monks are a fixture in every town and city here. Stereotypes have them praying all day and night in a mountain monastery, but in reality, you will see them everywhere – the supermarket, the bus stop, and in this case – the beach.

Bizarre Sight #9: Garbage, Garbage, Garbage

Garbage on the beach, Krong Koh Kong, Cambodia

Garbage is a huge problem in Cambodia. Trash bins are hard to come by, recycling is unheard of, and most are more than willing to chuck their garbage anywhere they happen to be – in this case, at the beach in Krong Koh Kong. (Yes, there is sand under there somewhere.) It’s a real shame. And that brings us to the last of our Bizarre Sights of Cambodia…

Bizarre Sights of Cambodia #10: Sunsets to Make Your Head Spin

Sunset, Sihanoukville, Cambodia

Cambodia is blessed with jaw-droppingly beautiful sunsets. This makes our list of bizarre sights in Cambodia because it was so unexpected – and welcome – especially after our number 9 bizarre sight.

Cambodia has a  lot to offer visitors, and if you’re looking for an adventure on a budget, this country is certainly going to be very hard to beat.  We don’t think anywhere can beat the Bizarre Sights Of Cambodia.

Have you seen any Bizarre Sights of Cambodia?