A quarter of the way through our trip
16.08.2007 - 20.08.2007 35 °C
We had a good 3 days in Phnom Penh. Cambodia is a little more expensive than Vietnam, but we still managed to eat a 4 course Khymer meal, washed down with several really nice Angkor beers, for nine pounds for the two of us! Phnom Penh is a very beautiful city, a mixture of French colonial buildings that have fallen into disrepair and really grand Khymer/Thai looking palatial buildings and temples. The Central Market (a huge building) is a throw back from the French colonial era and is a great place to wander round and pick up bargains. There was so much there to buy, but with the prospect of having to lug everything with us for the rest of our journey, we settled on a few t-shirts and a mini kettle that we picked up for one pound 50 pence, (we can now have a cup of coffee in our hotel rooms as Asian hotels don't supply kettles!).
Whilst in Phnom Penh we visited the Cambodian National Museum which was crammed with architectural relics of bygone Indochina. We also visited Building S-21, a former Secondary School that was used as an interrogation centre by the Khymer Rouge during the Pol Pot regime of the 1970s. This was a really horrific, graphic account of the way that Pol Pot's interrogators forced confessions from and then murdered opposers of his regime. It was difficult to believe that this actually happened in our lifetime.
Although we really like Phnom Penh and could have stayed there longer, there was a seedy side to the city that was quite disturbing, the exploitation of young girls by foreign men and was evident thoughout the city.
We left Phnom Penh by boat for a 7 hour trip up the Tonle Sap river to Siem Reap. The scenery along the river was really amazing with stilted houses and floating villages on both sides, with losts of happy, smiling children waving as we sailed by. We were met off the boat by a tuk-tuk and taken to our hotel, where after a bit of argy bargy over room pricing I settled into our room while Steve went to sort our our airline tickets for a flight to Pakse, Laos.
Siem Reap is absolutely crammed full of travellers, all here to scramble over the ruins of Angkor Wat and the various other Wats in the area. We have bumped into several people here that we had met previously along the way. Yesterday we got up at 4.30am to take a tuk-tuk to witness the sunrise over Angkor Wat. Steve thought that we would be two of a handful of people who were crzy enough to get up at that time in the morning. However by the time we got to the Wat, there were several hundred people all vying for the best photographic position for the sunrise. When the sun did rise it was a bit disappointing as the sun was hidden by dense cloud. We had breakfast sat among the ruins of Angkor Wat and then we spent the rest of the day on a mini tour of various Wats and took some spectacular photographs which will be uploaded at a later date.
We're in Siem Reap for 2 more days, then we fly to southern Laos which should be a bit more off the beaten travellers trail.
We've just uploaded some more photos today. Please keep your messages coming as it's great to hear from you.
Love and miss you all