Regretfully, we only spent one week in Cambodia, which was a shame as we very much enjoyed our brief stay. We spent four days in the city of Phnom Penh and then took a boat ride to Siem Reap, where we spent a further three days. Near to Siem Reap is the fabulous Angkor Wat and other ancient temples in various states of decay.
If like us you enjoy exploring ancient sites then Angkor is not to be missed; you can tell how much fun we had by the sheer number of photographs we've placed on this page! Not that they do it justice however, if you want to appreciate the full magnificence of these wonderful old buildings you'll just have to get off your arse and go and see them for yourself!
Whilst in Phnom Penh we visited the Killing Fields, where Pol Pot tortured and executed 20,000 people. We learned how Pol Pot decided to produce a totally subservient population by exterminating the entire section of the population that had any kind of an education. Four million people were executed in four years, thats 2740 people, every day, for four years. Think about it.
Words cannot express the sorrow we felt as we looked around this site, and we were left feeling really quite hollow for several days.
It wasn't even the sheer number of people that died here, which is quite bad enough, but as we learned about the slow and painful manner in which they died it was all we could do to avoid being physically sick.
There is a monument to those who died which contains many of their skulls, sorted by age and sex ..... and as we walked around the field we saw a number of human bones poking up from the ground and hanging from trees, pieces of wire which had been used to restrain people as they were slowly executed..... eve writing about this now I am almost crying.
Cambodia is very much a country struggling to get up off it's knees after the excesses of this evil regime. The people here are very poor, and the majority live in awful conditions. To give you an idea, there is a new hotel in Siem Reap which charges 1,900 USD a night. I said to out guide that this was an outrageous sum, and that I could travel for two months with that much money. He replied with words to the effect of "Sod that! I can feed my family for two years on that kind of money!"
The people that we met in Cambodia were all very friendly and kind to us and left us with a good feeling about the future for Cambodia. In particular we very much enjoyed the company of the staff at the Sok San guest house and we would like to help them out in a small way by mentioning that it's a new place, very clean with comfortable beds, good food and a great atmosphere. It's not in any of the guide books yet, so should you come to visit Siem Reap consider staying here. The phone number is 012 849 642, ask for Heng and tell him we sent you.
Ok, enough free advertising, here are our photographs. Unfortunately, we have not yet managed to scan the shots from the Killing Fields, so check back in a couple of days for those.
Cambodia; We'll be back!
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