Reflections on Cambodia

Lucy Angkor Wat was a very nice place filled with fascinating carvings that told different stories. All the sunrises we saw were very busy but it was rather grey. We saw lots of temples, including Ta Prom which is covered in trees. Alisha took hundreds of photos of me in tree roots. We liked getting lost in the temple and finding all the different parts. Before Angkor Wat, I had my birthday. I had 8 cupcakes, since it was my 8th birthday.  Lots of the ladies wear their pyjamas during the day, they have long sleeved, long legs and are very flowery. It keeps them cool which is a good idea as it is very hot. Alisha Do you want to go to a country filled with crazy drivers, boring temples and weird contraptions on motor bikes?  Welcome to Cambodia  A country filled with all the crazy and mad drivers. If you don't get hit by something like a large truck, you are probably going to hit some thing ,probably a motor bike. These motorbikes serve as family vehicles so it's quite often you'll see 4 or more people on one of these vehicles. They balance things on the seats and sit on them. We also saw one with a sewage tank balanced on the back of it. People attach all sorts of carts to them. Also there seem to be a sort of two-wheeled tractor, people attach carts to them.  If you ask someone what there best bit of a trip to Cambodia was most will say the temples of Angkor Wat. I am not sure I agree. I don't think it was the temples, you see to me one temple is very much like another, I preferred the beach. The temples did prove a wonderful opportunity to try out my new camera. They where interesting with some cool features and carvings, but by the end of 6 days I had got very very sick of temples and I think if we had stayed another day I would have screamed. Luckily we moved on the next day.  I think part of the problem of Cambodia is the heat, it rarely dropped under 30 degrees and if it did it was only because it was raining. Right now the sweat is pouring off me in buckets as I write. That's why we stayed in so many hotels as we needed the air con otherwise we would cook like eggs. So that's Cambodia a land of crazy drivers, interesting temples and weird contraptions on motor bikes and if you decide to go there the only piece of info of what to bring is a camera, some bug spray, sun screen, some dogem car bumpers for your car and a sense of adventure ( and probably some clean pants to and some food etc) Happy Travels. Gilly I've enjoyed Cambodia but for me it has been one of the most challenging countries we have travelled through. It wasn't one particular issue but a series of things: the terrible driving; our subsequent crash; bad roads; high temperatures; getting sick; and the frequent heavy rain all added up. I'm pleased we made the decision to spend a week relaxing near the beach to get back into the swing of travelling again.  Despite my grumbles, there are many amazing things in Cambodia. Angkor Wat totally blew me away with its beauty, history and incredible size. Even after 6 days exploring, we hadn't seen all of the temples, there are many more further out.  As stressful as the driving was for Steve, and for me being the second pair of eyes, it did have its funny side. The Cambodian people are highly inventive, especially when it comes to transporting goods around. Just when we thought the vehicle, cargo or combination of people couldn't get crazier, we would see something to top it. I missed getting a snap of the most ridiculous combination we saw a thatched roofed picnic shelter on the back of a tiny lorry, the shelter was 3 times wider than the lorry, twice the height and double the length! ...and there were 3 of them in a row. My other favourite was a lady chopping vegies with a huge meat clever sitting astride a motorcycle food stall, while her husband navigated through the potholes at speed on a national highway. Every hour, there was a new "Did you see that!?!" moment. Life isn't easy here and the people have come through such a horrific past, yet they are calm (apart from when they are behind a wheel) and friendly. Even when we couldn't communicate with people there were always lots of smiles. I relaxed and enjoyed our last couple of days in the country. We spent 2 nights at different spots on the Mekong River deep in the heart of rural Cambodia. The people we met there were gently curious but very relaxed about us staying on nearby common land, when we asked for permission they all indicated with big grins that it was absolutely fine.  Steve After 3 years and 3 months of been on the road I think we hit a bit of a wall in Cambodia. The driving along the roads from the Thai border to Phnom Penh was ridiculous and this was clearly compounded by being hit by a truck. Whilst the damage was not too bad it did shake us up a bit. That and for the virtually the first time on the trip we were all suffering from flu bugs. To have gone so long without having that "get me out of here" moment I suppose was still a bit of an achievement.   Fortunately Cambodia had some real highlights to compensate. The temple of Angkor Wat and those around it are truly magnificent and it was great to take our time seeing them and not having to rush it. With the frequent rain storms it was also good to avoid these and to be able to revisit some of the temples to enjoy them again. There were also some good places to relax and recalibrate for the road ahead. We had a lovely time at the beach getting the truck sorted and ourselves back ready for the road ahead. The beach was not the greatest beach we have visited on this trip but was very chilled and it was also good to meet up with some fellow overlanders, Will and Amy. Phnom Penh also turned out to be relaxed. The apartment an oasis in the hectic city that was still surrounded by bars, cafes and restaurants and close to all the sights while we waited for our Indian visas.   And right at the end Cambodia surprised us. The roads improved, the traffic and population thinned out, the rain almost stopped and we could enjoy the countryside scenery of rice paddies, water buffalos and sunsets over the Mekong. It's good to be back on the road.

2 thoughts on “Reflections on Cambodia

  1. blessings and love from guys are living my dream me and husband want to travel around with our three girls.wish you best of luck. safe travel

    • Hi Nighat

      Thanks for your lovely comments.

      Good luck with your travel plans. We love travelling with our girls, it adds a whole new dimension to our trip.

      Best wishes
      G, S, A & L

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