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Cambodia is somewhere I never thought of visiting - and if it wasn't for a special friends recommendation, I would never have come here.
I need to preface this post with something: I never did History at school and to be quite honest am not really interested in it at all. Now that that is out the way I can get on with telling you how much I enjoyed the History behind Cambodia and its BEAUTIFUL temples, people and places! As a photographer (action Sport predominantly) I was really intrigued by all the ruins that were once beaming temples of worship for both Hindus and Buddhists.
I broke my time in Cambodia up into 3 nights in Siem Riep (North) and 3 nights in Phnom Penh (South).
My time in Cambodia started with a stay in Siem Riep or as I like to call it "Temple Heaven." I started with a bang walking into the small 'old' or (market area) town shortly after arriving and really having my eyes opened to what is simply designed for tourists. Everything from evening markets selling the most amazing curios to "Pub Street" a street dedicated to pubs, pubs and more pubs. With beers selling for $0.50, they were bursting at the seams with patrons who were very comfortable sitting, chatting and taking in the bustle that was around them. I made my way to a quiet Khmer (local Cambodian culture) restaurant and had some dinner before indulging in a 'fish massage' - we have all seen them. A bath/basin full of fish which eat the dry skin off your feet while leaving you giggling thanks to all the tickling!
The next morning I visited an outlying rural area with numerous temples which are less frequently visited by tourists thanks to the long drive from Siem Riep. The Preah Village area is part of the rural area near to Siem Riep city and contains a plethora of Temples, a quick stop at each really made for some of my best pics from Cambodia!
After a day of visiting Temples in the rural area and ones that are more ruins than anything else I made a trip the next day to the world known Ankor Wat. A really awesome time exploring these amazing buildings.
Ankor Wat and the surrounds are in far better condition than those of the rural areas of Siem Riep - and I have to say, those that are more dated, destroyed, weathered or "ruined" (for lack of a better word) are by far my favourite!
With so many photos and stories to tell about Cambodia I feel like this post could go on forever, so without over doing it here are some of my favourites from the rest of the Ankor area temples.
After what was an exhausting and crazily hot day, I stopped at one of the street vendors outside the last temple bought two bottles of water and a small packet of Cashew nuts as a snack - this would be a moment I would regret for the next 4 days!
After what was a very busy and filled 3 days in Siem Riep I was looking forward to a more relaxed 3 days in Phnom Penh with planned visits only to a Royal Palace and the Killing fields. HAHA this is where that decision of those cashews caught up with me! I had been hit with an unbelievable bout of food poisoning! Between the time of first realising I was becoming ill and getting to Phnom Penh I had a cooking class to attend as well as an hours flight! Probably one of the one occasions where food was not on my mind and the longest hours flight of my LIFE! Without goring you with the details I spent ALL 3 days in Phnom Penh between the bathroom and my bed!
Nevertheless, the rest was probably a good thing (although I would hardly call it rest!), I had been on the go since landing in Thailand the week prior! As this was my first real planned holiday abroad I tried to fit everything into the few days I had in each city - rookie error! Next time - and there will be MANY more 'next times' - I will plan much better with a day or so in between just to 'chill' and regather!
Altogether an unbelievable week in Cambodia and definitely a country I will visit again! Next stop, Vietnam.......