When traveling through South East Asia in 1996 I was unable to visit Cambodia due to the political climate. Fast forward 2016 the political climate has changed and Cambodia is still on my bucket list
I was going to go with a well-known company but after comparison with odyssey Tours I decided to go with them .I must say that I was skeptical as I had never heard of this company before. Allison the rep who organized my tour put me at ease. Everything went as planned.
When I arrived at Phnom Penh I was met by my tour guide who took me to my hotel met me. The ride to the hotel was Déjà. I felt like I had been here before with all the motorbikes and tuktuks and the architecture.
As both Thailand and Vietnam border Cambodia and their influences have moved over
One of the fist places I visited in Phnom Phen was the Central Market, which is in an old art deco building .It has a very high ceiling and is beautiful inside. Her you can find anything you need or want from clothing, food and electronics.
The Royal Palace is across from the riverside and is great to see in the day and at sunset. The architecture is very similar to what you see In Thailand. The Silver Pagoda is also located on the Royal Palace grounds. Pure silver tiles cover the floor, which has mostly been covered up by carpet now for preservation.
The Foreign Correspondence Club also know as the FCC is where journalist meet during the Khmer Rouge era to discuss and write about what was going on in Cambodia.
If you arrive during happy hour drinks are 2 for1 and you can watch the sunset over the riverside and the activities, as it is an open-air balcony.
The Killing Fields is about a15 kilometer drive out of town. It is sad as you learn what the Khmer Rouge did to people. He slit peoples throats and babies were mistreated, thankfully those responsible are now spending time in prison thanks to the United Nations
The drive to Battambang took several hours with a few stops along the way. Kompong Loung was our first stop, which is a floating village that specializes in silversmithing. You get to see the work in progress and purchase silver jewelry, vases, spoons or other silver items
Next stop Oudong on the Mountain, which is a beautiful blue building with intricate detail on the mountain where ashes from kings of the past have been buried. You get a great view of the surroundings from this stupa
To get to Prasst Bannon Hindu Temple, which is over 1000 years old, you have to walk up 330 steps. It worth the walk up
Next was a ride on a Bamboo Train. Which was fun and very interesting. The ride is seven miles each way with view of rice paddies and people working in them. You also get a general view of Battambang and the surroundings
Wat EK Phonon Temple was the last site in Battambang. This temple is over 100 years old and it has artwork on the outside ceiling that is still very vivid.
On to Siem Reap which is a 3-hour drive from Battambang
We stopped at Tonie Sao Lake for a short boat ride to view the floating island and of course a stop at the souvenir shop in the middle of the floating island so you look around at all the hand made goods and get a view of the surroundings.
Siem Reap was the highlight of this trip for me as Angkor Wat is what I really cam to see and I was not disappointed. I am still in awe at the grandeur of the structure and that it is still standing hundreds of years later. Who would of thought back then, that they had technology that would last and attract so many people? The detail that went into building each room is amazing. If you can only see one thing while in Cambodia this would be it.
I managed to get an air balloon ride (by pulley) by Angkor Balloon that goes up about 30feet. Your get a great view of Angkor Wat from above. If you want to do it at sunset book early as it fills up fast.
The last place I saw in Cambodia was Ta Prohm Temple also known as the Jungle temple due to the shape of the old tree trunks I am told. They are humongous. Part of the movie Raiders Tomb was filmed here
Siem Reap has a lively night market that stays open till the wee hours of the morning and Pub Street, across the road is full of pubs, restaurants and some shops, has atmosphere as it is a pedestrian zone.