Cambodia’s a place we would not describe as “pleasant.” It’s been quite a test of our senses: constant noise from trucks and cars honking in traffic, bright sunshine glaring off the dry, dusty terrain, intense mid-nineties heat throughout the day, itching from mosquito bites. But at the same time we’re glad to have seen the country’s long, often tragic history.
We saw temples of Angkor, center of one of the greatest empires in the world at that time, as well as the Killing Fields, the worst time in the country’s history. Here’s our recap of our time in Cambodia.
Top three experiences?
- The temples at Angkor.
- Hanging out in Kep.
- Swimming on Rabbit Island.
- Angkor. In particular my favorite temples were Angkor Wat and Banteay Srei. Sunrise was neat to see, except for all the people and the giant scaffolding with a green tarp.
- Rabbit Island. It was a laid back, fun place.
- Kep. It’s also very laid back and beautiful.
Bottom three experiences?
- Phonom Penh. There’s very little I like about this city.
- Sunrise at Angkor Wat, just because it was such a let-down.
- Eating. The food here is just not very good, especially when compared to Thai food.
- The touts. No, we don’t want a tuk-tuk, we just got off one.
- The food. Not only is it not especially good, but it’s very expensive. Across the whole trip so far, food has cost us 16% of what we spent, but in Cambodia, food accounts for 37% of our expenditures. However, that’s partially because everything else, especially accommodation and transport, is so cheap here.
- Phnom Penh. It’s busy, loud, and we really had no luck finding anything good to eat (see above).
Nikki: Pepper crab in Kep. Really yummy.
Brad: Breakfast in Kep: a ham and cheese omelet with baguette and orange juice. But what made it so good was the pepper. Kep is world renown for its pepper farms, and the pepper on this omelet had a very strong flavor (unlike the stuff in shakers back home) and was delicious.
Nikki: Like I said, the food here is not very good. One of the worst meals was the chewy, grisly chicken and dried out rice we had for dinner in Kompong Thom.
Brad: It’s a tie between our dinners one night in Phnom Penh and Kompong Thom. It was the same both places–plain rice with chicken, but the chicken was completely bones and what wasn’t was gristle.
Favorite person we met?
Nikki: Didn’t get her name, but she was the owner of a new bar in Kampot. Originally from England, she now lives in Spain and Kampot. She was fun to talk with.
Brad: The Canadian couple we shared a minivan with from the Thai/Cambodian border. They were friendly and interesting.
Nikki: Getting sick in Kep. (Our disaster always seems to be getting sick.)
Brad: Nikki getting sick in Kep.
Favorite place we stayed?
Nikki: The Arunras Guesthouse in Kompong Thom. Big, clean, cool room with a super comfortable bed.
Brad: The guesthouse in Kompong Thom. The place had two entrances, one for the hotel and one for the guesthouse. From the look of the guesthouse, it could have been a hotel room. It was very nice.
Worst place we stayed?
Nikki: The very first hotel in Siem Reap. It ended up being okay, but going to the bathroom and seeing “This place is dangerous! Get out ASAP!” written on the door is a little too horror movie-esque for me.
Brad: Our first night in Siem Reap. The place looked fine, until we accepted, closed the door, and found “This place is dangerous! Get out ASAP!” written on it in permanent marker. Someone must have been robbed before, but we didn’t have a problem. The doors were a weird type where if you turn the key once the deadbolt doesn’t extend all the way and the door still opens. Perhaps that person didn’t turn it twice? The room was overpriced anyways.
Best thing we didn’t blog about?
Nikki: Going on a walk in the countryside outside of Kompong Thom. Nothing too exciting happened, it was just a nice area to walk around and see some of the local life.
Brad: The Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda in Phnom Penh. The buildings were really cool.
Nikki: I still think the money situation here (they use both US dollars and riel) is very strange. We got more used to it, but it was still sometimes hard to figure out if we got the right change.
Brad: Karaoke videos that always seem to be playing in restaurants and on buses. The video of the local dances are hilarious.
Statistics for Cambodia
Statistics for the Trip