The last week of December was my winter vacation from my school/hagwon. With roughly 5 days off (not including weekends) I decided to visit Cambodia. It was a great trip, until the end where I got sick. A friend from a local university here is from Cambodia and told me about the place. I thought being from South Texas, where the heat and humidity are record breaking and off the charts, would prepare me for the heat. That was a big NOPE! Without further ado, let’s get started.
I spent roughly four days in the country, not including my flight. The only way to get around was by taxi or tut-tut.
A tut-tut is basically a carriage pulled by motorcycle. The recommend you change drivers frequently because if you book a person for a day, they can rip you off and cost more than you plan to spend. The guy outside my hotel had a sign of popular places to visit.
I was planning on going to most of the places, but it was great to know there were many people who wanted to go to these places too. All the tourist places were surprisingly busy (considering it was the Christmas season) but I learned a lot.
Also, Cambodia is not pedestrian friendly. There were hardly any sidewalks. The few I did see were few and far between. Everyone either took a tuk-tuk or drove a scooter/motorcycle. I didn’t notice any female drivers either. So, yeah. I am pretty sure they exist, just didn’t see anything.
The first day was the majority of my cultural experience. I went to the genocide museum and the killing fields.
The genocide museum was a high school turned prison turned museum that showcased a lot of the torture and crimes against humanity commited by the Khmer Rouge. The Khmer Rouge was the name popularly given to the followers of the Communist Party of Kampuchea and by extension to the regime through which the CPK ruled in Cambodia between 1975 and 1979.
During the audio tour I learned the history of the place and got to hear stories from the people who experienced it. Out of respect, I kept my pictures to a minimum. Some of the stories still haunt my mind.
After spending some time explore and reflecting, I had a quick lunch and headed off to the Killing Fields.
The Killing Fields were a beautiful sight before learning about all the history. To sum up, the Khmer Rouge used this places to continue and finish off their mass genocide. It was disguised as a Chinese/Buddhist monastery to cover up the exact crimes from the surrounding neighbors. We were asked to stay on the path and not touch anything on the ground. After all, rain and floods continue to surface some the remains that have been buried. Again, out of respect I kept pictures to a minimum.
I stayed at my hotel by the pool relaxing and drinking. The first day was rather hot and depressing. I was on vacation to relax. So relaxing is what I did. Kind of glad I didn’t go out because it started to rain.
More cultural activities. I started at the National Museum. I snuck some pictures of sculptors and chilled at the cafe. I tried to get a picture of the courtyard but some couple in love wouldn’t get out of the way. They were taking pictures and selfies for 30 minutes. I am not even exaggerating.
The museum showed the history of the country and its religious beliefs through the years. It was great to see, but I wish I got the audio tour to go along with it. I also stopped by the gift shop on the way out. I was tempted to buy a Budda head statue but did not want to carry it around with me all day. Now I am filled with all of the regret. ALL OF THE REGRET.
The next stop was the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda. It was beautiful to see, but I didn’t get a tour guide so the history was lost on me. However, the place was great to see.
It got too hot afterwards, so I retired back to my hotel. I should have toughed it out. There was a lot more I wanted to see. Curse me and my weak hear constitution.
My last and final day I went shopping at Central Market. There I tried local foods (regret since I got hella sick the following day) and went shopping for knock offs. There was cool stuff. I got myself some belts and many souvenirs for my sisters. Shhh don’t tell them. Hell! I doubt they even continue to read or even check my site anymore. I did see some killer shoes but they didn’t have my size. The few they did were quite ugly. There is a reason I don’t wear white.
Well that was my vacation in a nutshell. Two days were used for travelling by plane. I hate flying quite a bit. Overall, I did enjoy my time and want to go back. I still have things I want to see in Phenom Phem and also got to check out Siem Reap. However, my next trip should be Thailand. If I don’t want to say money or pay back my student loan.
Thanks for reading!