Cambodia was the country that I was most excited for when planning this trip, however, sadly the reality didn’t quite match up to what I was expecting. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it (especially Angkor Wat) but there wasn’t as much to do there as I thought (plus it was way more expensive than I imagined). Nevertheless, there were some amazing experiences I had in Cambodia, namely:
1. The Temples of Angkor
Visiting the temples of Angkor has been on my travel bucket-list for as long as I can remember and it did not disappoint. We chose to spend one day exploring the site, which was enough to do the most popular ‘inner circle’ of temples. However, if you think you’d be interested, you can buy a 3 day or even a 7 day pass – this will give you more time to explore some of the less known temples (it’s a huge site, where they are still to this day discovering more temples). As of 2017, the entrance prices have almost doubled from previous fares (1 day = $37 , 3 day = $62 , 7 days = $72).
My favourite temple out of the 13 we saw during our day exploring was definitely Bayon Temple (the temple of faces). I had one of those ‘holy-shit-I’m-here’ moments walking around Bayon… and I was amazed at the intricacy of the design and architecture.
2. The island of Koh Rong Samloem
After a recommendation from a friend, I decided to by-pass the touristy Koh Rong and instead head for the smaller, more chilled out neighbouring island, Koh Rong Samloem. It was easily one of the most beautiful places I have ever been, with electric, multi-coloured sunsets and pristine beaches. We stayed in Lazy Bones, which had a number of bungalow-style rooms and tasty food (hello Poutine!) and for the price ( ) I would recommend it if you ever venture over to Koh Rong Samloem (which you should).
3. Learning more about Cambodia’s history
I read a little about Cambodia’s harrowing past before coming on this trip, but nothing quite makes you understand what exactly the country has been through until you visit the S21 Prison (Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocide), or the Choeung Ek (Killing Fields). You can’t come to Cambodia and not pay a visit to these sites – it’s important to have respect for what has happened here and to be educated so we can work towards stopping these atrocities from re-occurring.
4. Phare Circus
Well worth the $18 ticket, this acrobat circus (no badly treated animals here) was entertaining and funny throughout. I only wished it had lasted longer!