From Thailand, we flew to Siem Reap in Cambodia. Apart from Angkor Wat, the temple which Cambodia is famous for, I didn’t really know what else to expect. However, we absolutely loved it, especially Siem Reap which is such a fun town with loads of cool bars and restaurants. The main part of the town is called Pub Street and that pretty much sold it for us. We ended up spending a week here because loved it so much. Apart from eating and drinking copious amounts, we also visited Angkor Wat. We heard it was amazing to watch the sunrise over it so we psyched ourselves up for a half four wake up call to see this once in a lifetime view… but it ended up being so overcast that it really wasn’t that spectacular and absolutely did not resemble the post card photos that were being flogged.
The temple itself was incredible and because we went so early we were able to explore it while it was still cool out. We went back twice… mainly to get our moneys worth.
After Siem Reap we took a bus to Phnom Penh, which is the capital of Cambodia. Here we saw a lot of poverty that we hadn’t really experienced whilst in Siem Reap. We only stayed for two nights but after one night we moved to another hotel because our charming find was actually ridden with bed bugs. Not the best night ever.
Whilst in Phnom Penh we learnt more about the history of Cambodia. We were horrified to learn about the genocide that took place in the 70s under the Pol Pot regime, where an estimated 1.5 million Cambodians were massacred. I felt ashamed that I was unaware that something so catastrophic had happened in recent history. We visited the killing fields and the prison in the city where thousands were tortured and killed. It was a harrowing day but educated us on how the people of Cambodia had suffered only 35 years ago. It was remarkable to then understand how much Cambodia had developed in such a short space of time and how much further it will change in the next 20 years.
Our final stop in Cambodia was the beach town Sihanoukville. We only spent two nights here but spent one full day at the beach. The beach was gorgeous and a lot less touristy than the ones we visited in Thailand, for that reason it was probably the best and most untouched one we visited.
After Sihanoukville we flew to Saigon to start our travels in Vietnam.