Immediately after crossing the boarder from Thailand into Cambodia I was intrigued. Driving through the country side down to Siem Reap, I couldn’t believe how much the area reminded me of India. Back to proper backpacking in my eyes, it was a nice change in pace from how ‘easy’ Thailand was to travel. With under a month to see the country, I only had three ‘must see’s’ – the Angkor Temples, the history sites in Phnom Penh and Koh Rong.
Starting in Siem Reap I tackled the Angkor Temples right away. Hitting Angkor Wat for sunrise was beautiful. I wish I could say it wasn’t filled with hundreds or people, but we all know that would be too good to be true! It was nice to wonder around in the cooler morning air though. We spent a good part of the day at Angkor Wat, Bayron and Ta Prohm – along with a few other small temples. Sun rise at Angkor Wat was beautiful but Bayron was easily my favourite. It was in in more ruins than the others, but it was clear how much detail once stood. Ta Prohm was beautiful because all the nature and trees have started to overcome and grow throughout the brick – plus ‘Lara Croft; Tomb Raider’ was filled here, a neat bonus.
Phnom Penh was intense. I went with the purpose of seeing the S21 Museum and the Killing Fields. What Cambodia went through, not that long ago in the late 1970’s, was astonishing to me. From 1975 to 1979 the Khmer Rouge was responsible for at least $1.3 million executions – I would recommend reading about this if you haven’t heard. I had not idea until traveling Asia myself. More than that fact though, I was and still am in shock as to how recent this happened. Traveling Cambodia it was clear the country was rebuilding after this devastating history.
On a lighter note, after tackling my ‘tourist check marks’, I headed for the coast and hopped the ferry to Koh Rong immediately. On my journey out there, I had a funny feeling I would find myself happily stuck on the island – and I was right! I ended up being offered a job at Skybar my fist night on the island and I couldn’t say no. Not only because the island was beautiful, had lots going on and an awesome group of people, but because I was itching to sit still. The thought of not moving my bag, and having one bed to call my own for a few weeks sounded like heaven. So I ended up staying three weeks. I am still missing my Koh Rong family and ‘island life’.