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In the end of January till the beginning of February 2009 I was traveling with my Girlfriend Moun at Central Cambodia. We start at Koh Chang in the morning at 8:00 AM. We book a Minivan to Siem Reap. We was lucky, on this day we was the onliest one who go by this Travel Agency to Siem Reap. So we don’t go by Minibus, a private Car pick us up from our Bungalow at Big Elk Steak House. The Car bring us to Aranya Prathet the border city between Thailand and Cambodia on Thai side. The stop at the boarder took us three hours to get a Visa for the Kingdom in Southeast Asia. The boarder was busy, we wait and wait till we arrived Poipet in Cambodia. From here we had two options, go by bus or by Taxi. The Taxi was 400 Thai Baht for each and took us 2.5 hours to Siem Reap. The Bus Turn should be around 6 hours.
After two days at the City of Angkor Wat we book a boat to Phnom Penh. The Boat trip was 26 USD and six hours on the Tonle Sap. A Mini Van picked us up at 07:00 AM and brang us to the Tonlé Sap Lake where the famous floating village are. The Boat start in the north of the big Lake in Central Cambodia. After 2 hours traveling by bus we arrived the Tonlé Sap River which runs direct to the Capital of this Kingdom in Asia. We Travel atlong nice landscapes and small fisherman villages, a nice Trip on the top of the Boat. The Ferry stop at a pier in Cambodias Capital, from there we took a Tuk Tuk to our Hotel which we found in the Lonely Planet Travel Book. Here we was staying here as well two nights.
We Travel back to the Island in the Gulf of Thailand by bus. The turn was all in all 7 hours on less developed streets. The Bus drive true green landscapes to Koh Kong, the boarder town to Thailand in south Cambodia. At the had Lek Boarder we was waiting about a half hour to get my Thailand Visa. From Had Lek we need one hour to the Center Point Ferry Pier were the Ferry leaves to Koh Chang Island. From the Center Point Ferry we had a nice view to the Sunset. From the pier a friend picked us up and brang us back to our Bungalow at Klong Prao Beach. This Central Cambodia Travel Trip was nice, we saw alot in short time.I think this was not my last trip to Cambodia, the people are friendly and Traveling with English is mostly no problem. Especialy not in the Tourist areas. This Country in South-East Asia is less developed but still it’s nice for Backpackers and Travelers to see how simple the life can be.
In the beginning of February 2009, my wife and I was travel with a boat from Siem Reap to the capital Phnom Penh. The ride over the Tonle Sap River took us six hours and coasted 24USD. A bit more than with the bus, but the view was amazing to the small fisherman’s village on the river. In the early afternoon we arrived at the Royal Highness Hotel in Phnom Penh. We paid 20 USD per night for two person include TV, air-condition, fridge and a warm water shower.
Our first “sight” was the Tuol Sleng Museum“. In 1975 the Tuol Svay Prey High School was taken by the clique of Pol Pot. The Khmer Rouges turned this school into the S-21 prison. Between 75 and 78 seventeentousend people are hold and lost they life by barbarism torture acts. When 1979 the Vietnamese army comes into Phnom Penh they found 21 prisoners, 14 dead and just 7 alive. We felt really bad after the visit of the security prison 21. We were driving back by a tuk tuk to the Royal Highness Hotel to relax and take a nap. In the evening we eat some Khmer food in a riverside restaurant and took a massage opposite our guesthouse. On the next day we had full program of sights, first we visit the National Museum of Cambodia.
The Museum is home of many old Khmer sculpture. The building is built in 1920 in terracotta structure of traditional Asian temple design. One of the highlights is the eight armed Vishnu statue of the 6th century. In the middle of the national museum of Cambodia is a nice Asian garden with four lotus pools and a Buddha statue in the middle. The admission fee was 2 US or 8000 riel per person. After we visit the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda of Cambodia. All maps we used are from the Lonely Planet travel guide Cambodia. The picture shows the Chan Chaya Pavilion which build for classical Cambodian dance.
The tower of the throne hall is 54 meter high. It replaces since 1919 a wooden building of 1869. The Royal Palace from the Kingdom of Cambodia is built in classical Southeast Asian architecture. The silver pagoda is covered by over fivetousend silver tiles. Every tile is about one kilo heavy. Inside are the Emerald Buddha and a golden statue of Buddha with nearly 10000 diamonds. The heaviest of this stones are 25 carats. In the late afternoon my wife and i went up to a hill in the Southeast Asian capital to visit Wat Phnom. The first pagoda here was erected in 1373 for four Buddha statues. The name of the woman who discover was Penh. The temple that stands here now is rebuilt in year 26 of the 20th century.
On this evening we were going in the “Chiang Mai Riverside” restaurant at the Tonlé Sap River for dinner. The Thai restaurant was about 15 minutes away of our hotel. We pass a Khmer food market. The Asian market was busy, everywhere was stands with fresh fruits, meat, dead or living fish and clothes. Many locals buyed food here for cocking. An interesting spectacle for a European guy like me.
The next day we travel back to Koh Chang in Thailand, the tuk tuk who brang us to the travel bus picked us up at 7o´clock in the morning. We arrived the center point ferry pier at about five pm. From the ferry to Ko Chang we saw a beautiful sunset at the mountains of Klong Son.
Phnom Penh on the Mekong River is one of the dirtiest cities in Southeast Asia I ever saw! Many traffic islands of waste are in middle of the roads. The kids are peeing and do their big business on the walking line, many organic waste rott on the streets and smell. But still the capital of Cambodia has many fantastic sights and a long history. It was interesting to visit this Asian metropole with about 1.5 million habitats.
Report by Travel Reports & Pictures.
In the end of january 2009 Moun and me was traveling from Koh Chang to Siem Reap for see Angkor Wat. The temples of Angkor are the biggest religious building in world and from Koh Chang easy to reach with the minibus. We was starting at 7 o´clock here on the Island. Our first station was Aranya Prathet in Thailand. Here we cross the border to Poipet in the Kingdom of Cambodia. The border was buisy and we need about 2 hour to come into Cambodia. Direct after the duane of Thailand are many casinos and big hotels, many people of Thailand make holiday over here for have moneyplay because on thai side it´s illegal.
From Poipet we took a taxi to Siem Reap. The turn needs 3 hours thrue Cambodia over sand streets. Compared to other countries in southeast Asia the Kingdom Cambodia is less develloped but everywhere they build, Many projects are supported by states like south Korea or Japan. Wat AngkorIn the late afternoon we arrived our hotel “Bequest Angkor Hotel”. The room had air-con, TV, fridge and hot water for 15 USD. Here in Cambodia rule the dollar, even if you go to a ATM you get the US notes. 1 dollar are around 4000 Cambodian riel. In the morning of the next day we was going with a Tuk Tuk to Angkor Wat for watch the sunrise behind this spectacular Buddhist temple. This Wat are built for King Suryavarman 2th in the 12th century. The entry fee is 20 USD so really expensive for Cambodia but ok for this amazing wat (wat = temple). When the sun was up we gone inside to view the spectacular architectural and the old Buddha statues in the floors of Angkor Wat.
After we took breakfast in a small Khmer restaurant near the temple. The next point on our day plan was Wat Byon which is a Buddhist and Hindu temple. The 54 Gothic towers of Bayon temple are decorate with 216 Avalokitesshvara faces. Bayon are planed from Cambodias legendary King Jayavarman 7th.
For me was the highlight the Ta Prohm temple. This atmospheric ruin at Angkor is famous from the movie Tomb Rider. At the temple of Ta Prohm you can see the might of the jungle. Big vast roots locked like tree muscles the walls of this beautiful monument of Siem Reap.
Some years before it was danger to go around Angkor because of the landmines from the Khmer Rouge. But now it´s ok around Angkor, but still here in Cambodia many people lost a leg, a arm or the life from the weapons of Pol Pot´s clique.
After 7 hours exploring the Angkor we drove back to the Bequest Angkor Hotel to taka a nap. In the afternoon we walk to a restaurant which we found in the Lonely Planet Cambodia travel guide. The “Butterfly Garden Bar” close to the “Stung Siem Reap” river are nice for a brake for a fresh fruit shake. In the tropical garden here are many butterfly’s under a net. We was sitting under a palmtree next to a pool with koi-fishes. A good place to take a deep breath in this busy city in Cambodia. A bit south of Siem Reap are the floating village of Chong Kneas on the Tonle Sap Lake. We was visit this fisherman village on the 3rd day of our travel tour through Cambodia we took a boot from Siem Reap to the capital Phnom Penh. The boot pass the Tonlé Sap Lake into the Tonle Sap river. After this six hour bootstour through Cambodia we arrived Phnom Penh.
The landscapes and the Khmers are nice. We was sitting on the boots roof and watch the people during they take in they nets. Every year the cambodian fishing about 430000 tonnes of freshwater fish out of the Mekong and the Tonle Sap.
Cambodia is beautiful for travellers who want to traveling a less develloped country. My Lonely Planet travelguide was a good choice for this trip. I will come again to Cambodia to visit the sea region and the islands like Koh Kong for scuba diving. The locals invite you, with a smile, to a great country in southeast Asia! Cambodia is easy to travel, many TAT´s offer bus and boot tours to many destinations in Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. Angkor Wat is amaizing, i can recoment this old monument in Siem Reap to all people who are intresting in magic places and great cultures.