Cambodia, what is that country like?
First I want to apologize for the silence in my blog. It has been a while since I last time updated my blog. To be honest, I was enjoying my Christmas holiday with my mom, who traveled all the way from Finland to spend Christmas and New Year with me, traveling around Asia.
But I had a plan, that I will write something always at the end of the one visited place.
And I didn’t, I was always too tired to open laptop. I opened it just one time, and then I was doing my school work at late evening, when my mom went to sleep already.
Keep it short
To keep all my posts as short as possible, but same time tell as much as possible, I’m trying something new. I’ll put more pictures, because someone once said, that one picture tells more than a thousand words.
I have so much to tell about all the places we visited, so I will probably do own post about every place.
Phnom Penh and Siem Reap will be in the same post, because both are in the same country. But then Kuala Lumpur in its own, and also Batam Island.
I think this is also better for readers, they can read about every country separately.
And I have to tell beforehand, that I am not going to write about every place. Or even put pictures from everything, because it is just impossible. So there is much more what we went to see, where we explored, but I just write about some of those 🙂
We were in Phnom penh just couple days, and then continued our trip to Siem Reap. I will tell about that trip more at the end of the Phnom Penh section.
So Phnom Penh is capital city of Cambodia. I traveled there without even knowing it before on the plane.
And when we arrived, I was sitting in the taxi and thinking ”wow where
the hell here can be some unique nice modern hotel?”
The area wasn’t anything like capital city normally is.
Poverty, dirty – capital city of Cambodia?
I didn’t like the city. Not because it didn’t look like capital city. But because the poverty was so much visible. And even more difficult to even understand, that between those big and modern buildings and hotels, there were fishing villages, other local villages, people living even without home – on the street with small child.
It was something too much.
If there is money to build up those hotels, how there can’t be money to build up proper houses for the poor people?
All Phnom Penh was also very dirty, streets full of trash, full of dust. I seriously tried to take ugly photos, so that I could show the dirtiness, but all my photos looks so beautiful.
Moving Around the city
It wasn’t easy to walk around Phnom Penh. Streets were so full of trash, that sometimes we had to walk on the driving line. And that is crazy, because traffic and driving culture in Cambodia is just crazy.
But there were much possibilities to take Tuk Tuk. In Phnom Penh tuk tuks were everywhere. It wasn’t possible to walk anywhere without someone coming to offer their possibilities to took us to see some nice attractions.
And when we finally took Tuk Tuk to take us somewhere, he didn’t understand any English. He just knew the places where majority of tourists go to visit. But those who want to see nature and local life, no way.
When you decide to take Tuk Tuk, it is important to haggle price and remember to agree the price of the ride/tour beforehand, so that they will not lie to you and ask some crazy amount after reaching destination. Even if you feel sad, that they are making their money for the family like that, you have to remember that it is part of their culture to haggle. And you can’t let them ”steal” your money.
Killing Field Museum
However, the main reason for traveling to Phnom Penh was, that my mom wanted to see Killing Field Museum – S21 prison. Only 40 years ago it was place where almost all 20 000 innocent residents get killed in 4 years, and only 7 survived.
That museum is something what I never forget. I won’t never see Cambodia in the same way. I can even understand better the poverty and sadness.
Most prisoners were students, youths or children, other were workers, farmers etc. Just normal people, who didn’t do anything wrong. They didn’t do anything that would make them deserve torture or/and death. And the 20 000 prisoners were not enough, because many, or almost like rest of the middle-class or poor residents did forced work in farms.
If you ever decide to visit Cambodia, please visit also prison S21. Don’t only travel to Siem Reap and see the Angkor Wat. And then after Siem Reap think, why there is much poverty.
When you visit S21, I recommend to have tour guide. You will pay what you feel like after the tour.
Most of the guides have been either in the prison as prisoners, or working in the farm as forced worker. So you can be sure, that you will learn much. And you will also learn about the things what kind of place Cambodia is nowadays.
To Siem Reap
There is several ways to get from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, and from internet it is easy to find recommendations about everything.
So which one we chose?
Most cheapest one is local bus, but it is not safest one. And it takes long time, as it stops in many places. You can also choose taxi – which is not so much, as considering that it is over 300km. Or you might want to take speed boat – however, I have heard it is not safe. People are climbing to the rooftop to see more, and there is not any barriers at the rooftop. And also many locals tell, that staff in the speed boat doesn’t have any kind of training for the first aid situations, or if something happens for the boat. Most of the workers don’t even know how to swim.
So, we decided to take bus from kind a good company; Giant Ibis. Trip was approximately 5.5h, with one 20min stop. However, the start for the trip wasn’t so good. Our bus was late over hour, no one told us what is going on. No one offered water for customers waiting the bus. There were people waiting outside (like me and my mom), because they told us that we can either wait out or in. And after all they were telling all important stuff in the office, not even bothering to come out and tell people there, that ”hey we are telling important information inside. You want to listen?”
I liked so much more Siem Reap than Phnom Penh.
Even if there was also poverty, people living on the street, begging money, and most terribly using drugged child as a way to beg money. Local guide told us, that child is always sleeping, so obviously the mother (probably not even mother) is giving drugs to that child. And people are so sad by seeing mom with a child on the street, that they give money, and you should never do it.
Same as you should never give money for the begging child – because that is way for them to realize they get money, and won’t go to school.
So no, you are not helping them, you are making the situation even worse.
But whole city was more cleaner, people were so nice and friendly, and there was not those tuk tuk drivers all the time driving us crazy. They were actually ready to give us directions how to walk different places.
I wanted to visit Cambodia because of Angkor Wat.
It is really beautiful, amazing to think how it have been build up etc. History is always interesting.
And I’m happy we decided to take tour guide, even if we first thought we would not. It was so good to have someone to tell stories, to take photos of me and my mom.
But all things about it wasn’t that cool. There is some issues about where the moneys go from all of the visitors…
The fact is, that I won’t write about it more here. It is not possible to know, who I might make angry by writing it public. And since I am still in Asia, it wouldn’t be hard to find me…
So I’ll just leave it here, and maybe write about it later more when I am back in Finland. Or you can drop me message via Facebook/Instagram/email, if you want to know more 🙂
I’m just saying, Angkor Wat is beautiful. But if I would’ve known some of those issues beforehand, I might have skipped that tour.