A Travellerspoint blog


Phnom Penh, Cambodia

A chilling visit to the Killing Fields

sunny 85 °F

Phnom Penh now holds the record for dirtiest market we’ve seen on the trip; even some friends of ours (we met through a pub trivia night in Siem Reap) who eat street food exclusively wouldn’t touch the market food here. We didn’t explore much in this capital city other than adventure out to Choeung Ek which is the largest of the Khemer Rouge killing fields.

Prior to visiting the Killing Fields we prepared ourselves on the bus ride by watching the S-21 documentary film on one of the prisons that interrogated, tortured, and finally sent prisoners to the their death. The documentary interviews and presents both the guard’s and the victim’s view of what happened. The memorials built on site commemorate all those that perished by housing skulls, bones, teeth and clothing that continue to be excavated and preserved at the site.

What makes the killing fields feel so real is how recent Cambodia’s genocide occurred. It is days like these where we get a true taste for how lucky we are to be where we are in our lives and are thankful for our families and friends. Just think that when Kevin was enjoying soft diapers on one side of the world, Pol Pot’s regime was slaughtering 1 in 5 Cambodian civilians as threats to the Rouge. In fact, just the other day we saw that one of the top news stories on Yahoo was that the trial of “Duch” (the S-21 prison chief) has just begun.

Posted by Robin-and-Kevin 02:51 Archived in Cambodia Tagged fields killing khemer Comments (0)

Siem Reap – Angkor Wat

Our fav place on the trip so far!

sunny 85 °F

We flew from Vientiane into Siem Reap and immediately fell in love with this compact city. With ample $1 bike rentals we were able to explore the best of the city as well as quickly escape into the outskirts and into the surrounding rural villages. The town is set up perfectly for tourists with a ‘pub street’ connecting the old and new markets with multiple bars offering all day ‘happy hour’ with 50 cent beers. The market food is amazing and the 50 cent coffee was the strongest and tastiest so far on our trip.

Temple Bar was offering a cooking class for just $10 per person, including an extra small t-shirt, so we signed ourselves up! In the cooking class, our instructor had to be either hung-over or still drunk from the night before. What did we expect, after all we did sign up through a bar :-) Good news is we had a fun time and a lot of delicious food with a large selection on the menu including fresh spring rolls, and our favorite food in Cambodia: Amok! The highlight was of course wearing our super stylish chef hats

We prepared for our trip to Angkor Wat by having an hour long dollar massage while watching a documentary on the ruins at one of the big screen movie massage parlors. We chose to explore the temples via bicycles, rather than by tuk tuk so we could be on our own schedule and started our 30 km journey in early morning alongside the school children and then had a leisurely traffic free ride around the temples with the occasional elephant crossing…

Angkor Wat and its surrounding temples are like a mashup of Tomb Raider and Indiana Jones. Roaming around the vast grounds and ancient stones and architecture sent our minds spinning with awe into the past. The details in the sandstone layer blend seamlessly between stacks of blocks held together with nothing but their weight.

The vastness compares to our visit to Machu Pichu a few years ago. We did a loop hitting Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom (Bayon & Elephants Terrace), out the North Gate to Preah Khan, back into Angkor Thom and out the Victory Gate to Spean Thma, Thommanon and Ta Prohm. Even though Ta Prohm has hordes of people, it is definitely a must see for the famous trees growing through and on the temples. However, Preah Khan was our favorite to explore because there were a fraction of the tourists and no fencing or paths, leaving the deserted place an open labyrinth with half crumbled roof tops, walls and even a few of the famous overgrown trees.

Explanations and pictures cannot describe how amazing Angkor Wat is, and it has easily topped our charts as ‘favorite place on the trip so far.’

Robin unfortunately couldn’t explore much on the bumpy terrain due to her injured knee, but fortunately there was little pain on the bike and we were able to talk our way into riding close up to the ruins and find ice along the way to keep up her rehab. With a bit of internet investigation we are pretty sure it’s a tear to her meniscus. After a long day on the bikes we dipped our feet into a fish tank with a million hungry little fish that nibbled away at our feet and ankles. This was a seriously weird feeling and we could barely stand it for the first few minutes because it was so ticklish.

Posted by Robin-and-Kevin 04:33 Archived in Cambodia Tagged angkor wat reap siem Comments (0)

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