I visited Cambodia at the end of October for 2 weeks after leaving Vietnam. I crossed the border from Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) into Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. I had met an amazing group of travel buddies, so crossed the border with five new friends.
Cambodia was so different to what I expected, initially entering Phnom Penh I was struck by all the ‘wealth’ I could spot about me, including the many expensive cars and restaurant chains. According to the World Bank, Cambodia has exceeded the Millennium Development Goal poverty target and poverty rates have more than halved from 2004- 2011. However there is still a way to go in protecting Cambodians most vulnerable.
Cambodia also has had a very harrowing history, it is currently under a ‘constitutional monarchy’ and the current non-royal leader has ruled for over 25 years (the longest serving in South East Asia). Those who talk about Cambodia will know it for the famous Angkor Wat temples and the awful genocide that took place under the Khmer Rouge.
Here are some of my highlights from my time in Cambodia –
Angkor Wat or “Capital Temple” –
This beautiful temple complex is the largest religious monument in the world and is easily accessible from Siem Reap. It was originally constructed for the Khmer Empire in the 12th Century and has become the symbol of Cambodia. I went here for sunrise and ended up spending the whole day wandering around this spectacular set of temples (you could easily spend longer here) It cost $20 USD for a 1 day pass (prices are set to go up) but you can also buy 3 day or 7 day passes if you have more time. I went with a group of travellers and we ended up hiring a ‘tuk tuk’ to take us all around for the day. The weather was pretty disappointing, but the temples lived up to there name and were absolutely spectacular.