Welcome to Cambodia, a beautiful country located in South-East Asia. Many years we’ve dreamed about visiting the temples of Angkor and appreciating the diversity of landscapes, from paddy fields and rural sceneries to the beaches in the south. Also, we were particularly excited to taste the authentic Cambodian (Khmer) cuisine. We were told that it’s a fine combination between Thai and Vietnamese food, yet with its own touch.
TEMPLES OF ANGKOR AND CIVIL WAR
Before our trip to Cambodia in November 2015, we knew we would visit a country with a history both inspiring and depressing. Inspiring because of the grandeur of the Angkor temples in Siem Riep. These can be compared to famous places such as Machu Picchu and Petra. The temples of Angkor are the remains of the Khmer empire that ruled during the Angkorian period (802 AD – 15th century).
However, what touched us most were the gruesome crimes committed by the Khmer Rouge between 1975-1979, also known as the Cambodian Holocaust. We learned much about the dark side of Cambodian history at the Killing Fields and the Tuol Sleng Prison in Phnom Penh. While traveling through Cambodia, we also read the book ‘Survival in the Killing Fields’ co-written by Haing Ngor. This is the same actor who starred in the famous movie ‘The Killing Fields’ (1984). We highly recommend you to read the book and watch the movie to understand more about Cambodia’s past and how this relates to the country’s present state. It really helps you to understand the suffering of the people and why the country is underdeveloped compared to its neighboring countries Thailand and Vietnam.
Despite of the civil war in Cambodia taking place recently, it’s a safe country to travel and definitely worth a visit. We loved the city of Siem Riep with its lively ambiance, night market(s), cool bars and good restaurants. With Angkor Wat and other temple complexes at a stones throw, Siem Riep is one of the main highlights of Cambodia. Phnom Penh is a must visit if you want to understand more about the Khmer Rouge war crimes (visit the Killing Fields and S-21 Prison). You can also get good bargains at the Central Market or soak up some culture at the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda. We also loved to chill out at the beaches in Sihanoukville, Otres Beach in particular. Then there’s Kampot, a most charming town which has stolen our hearts. The city is located on the banks of the Prek Kampong Bay river. It’s known for its eye-catching colonial architecture. You can also cycle along the riverside and hop from one cafe to another.
Enjoy our video featuring the highlights of our trip through Cambodia! Tips for accommodation are listed below.
WHERE TO STAY IN CAMBODIA
House Boutique Hotel
No 76, St 57
BKK 1 Chamka Morn
N. 45, Street No. 50, Sok San Road
Svaydongkum Village, Siem Riep Angkor
SIHANOUKVILLE (Otres Beach)
Sunset Lounge Beach Resort
Fish Island Road, Kampot, Cambodja
Coming up soon: blogs with travel tips about Siem Riep, Phnom Penh and Kampot!