Published: October 25th 2011October 17th 2011
Crossing the border now from Vietnam to Cambodia, the first thing showed up was casino, it is not allowed in Vietnam. Get into Cambodia is very easy, you can make Cambodian visa on the border, and they charge USD 25 to make visa for you, actually it can be done by 20, but I think it only if you go by yourself, at least from bus they charge USD 5 more as service, Cambodia has a high corruption index.
Now is the rain season here, Phnom Penh, as Cambodian capital, is flood in many places, just like my dear Swatch watch, my watch got so much vapor in Hue when I drove in the rain for more than 3 hours, and I was trying to dry it from last days in Vietnam, and it was only complete dry in Siem Reap.
First night we stayed in Eric's home in Phnom Penh, Eric is a couchsurfer with a big house for couhsurfers, so many couchsurfers in the same house, at least more than 10, people from all sides of the world, pretty cool indeed.
Cambodia was a great kingdom, almost all Southeast Asia was their territory, after Angkor empire, the kingdom was
losing the power. You could also find a lot of influence from Buddhism and Hinduism in the Cambodian culture.
A recent remarkable event in the Cambodian history was Khmer Rounge, a tentative to do the communist revolution after American attack, and it transformed into the one of major genocide in the world, more than millions of lives were gone, so many innocents died by hunger, the most of products were for exportation, not for local people. The current government was who allied with Vietnam to defeat the Khmer Rounge army in that time. According to a local Cambodian Chinese, the corruption of current government is really strong, the money run under table is much more than above.
We decided to go to Siem Reap today, because Lais had no such, she wants go to Bangkok in the end of her trip. Arriving in Siem Reap almost midnight, we took a Tuk-Tuk, kind of tricicles, very popular in Cambodia, and we realized how the city was flood, the Tuk-Tuk almost was swimming to reach the hostel.
Angkor Archaeological Complex, the scene of movies Tomb Raider by Angelina Jolie, was the place of Angkor temples, main tourist point of Cambodia, it is
also the symbol of Cambodian national flag, you can see how powerful was Angkor empire there. The place was full of tourists and some monks, and the price of entrance fee wasn't cheap, it was USD 20 a day, one of the curious things in Cambodia is currency, US dollar is like national currency, almost everything is in USD, even in ATM you get the USD, maybe the reason is the tourism be one of pillar of Cambodian economy.
Lais stayed only one day in Siem Reap then headed to Bangkok finishing her vacation, I went back to Phnom next day and Gundi decided to stay one more day in Siem Reap. Back to Phnom Penh, I stayed in my father's friend house, he is a Cambodian Chinese, he told me a lot of Cambodian history, also about the Khmer Rounge, how is the current situation, and showed me some local foods, inclusive some insects, like beetle, maggot and grasshopper, who said the grasshopper is a pest? That is a tasteful food, much better than beetle and maggot.
Next day we went to Sihanouk, about 250km to west from Phnom Penh, the main port of Cambodia, also is a beautiful
beach with clean water and nice seafood. On the road I saw a interesting also dangerous transportation, they put almost 30 persons in a van, somebody over the van, somebody at back with backdoor open, it happens even for raining day, they said sometimes people fall, but not very often...
Cambodian people is very simple in general, the people can be happy easily, they don't think a lot, but it is not good to develop the country, I saw a lot of donation house or village around the Siem Reap, I saw a lot of child speaking English but to sell stuffs to tourists, I didn't see so many schools as I saw in Vietnam, maybe the corrupt system just make the people as simple as possible, it is always better to control.
I discovered in last day in Cambodia, my favorite watch although complete dry it seems dead... I am trying to revive it, but I think I can only fix it in Bangkok, not in next country, Laos.
There are more photos below