Holiday in Cambodia

Angkor Wat, Siem Reap,Phnom Penh for a fascinating vacation!

Many people are drawn to holiday in Cambodia with helping out in mind. For others the main draw is in Angkor Wat in and Siem Reap

This magnificent structure built for King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century is certainly an awesome place. It is well worth visiting Cambodia for Angkor Wat alone.

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BAYON


But this fascinating country is as much about the people as Cambodia's attractions.

A Holiday in Cambodia sounded a fascinating destination, when it was suggested we include it as part of a trip to Thailand.

We arrived in Phnom Penh, meeting up with a group we were to travel with. We are not into tours, but this was privately organised , although it was with a company – Green Gecko. Definitely a budget holiday in Cambodia!

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TA PROHM GREENERY


The first thing I noticed, as I waited at the airport, was the large numbers of Buddhist monks in their saffron robes......... some of them as young as 12 or 13 years old.



We were allocated out tour guide Gunthia, or Thia as we called him... who was to accompany us for the full ten days we were to travel through Cambodia.

Cambodia has a population of around ten million people, up to 95 percent of them of Khymer origin.

It is a country where the people are still very raw from their terrible recent history, and it flavours their conversation andyour travel experience.

It is very much a country in recovery mode, but there is still a very long way to go. They are certainly working at it, with the help of many volunteers, and countries around the world. Seeing and hearing their history, and observing how the local Cambodians cope with it, is enlightening, and humbling.

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PHNOM PENH TRAFFIC


Out on the streets the sheer volume of motor bikes, mo-peds, tuktuks, bicycles, cars, and buses, had me transfixed! How to cross the street with these machines barreling toward you !

Patience was the order of the day! We didn't want our holiday in Cambodia to be terminated early!If there are roads rules, we never did work out what they were. They all converge on a crossroad intersection, having a near miss as they carry on their way.

It became a game to see who could spot the moped with the most people on it. A family of 5 was not unusual. I was intrigued with the woman seated behind ( I assume) her husband, hanging onto the legs of a table big enough to seat four comfortably.

Set on the Mekong River , Phnom Penh is a city where affluence sits side by side with poverty.

The city focal point is the river.....with restaurants and nightlife lining the waters edge, while families enjoy a huge fun park across the road.

Tonle Sap Lake which has the Bassak River and Tonle Sap Rivers linking into it, is also a major waterway.

Sightseeing in Phnom Penh

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THE PALACE - PHNOM PENH


The Markets

  • Phsar Thmey – Central Market
  • Psah Poul Tom Toung - The Russian Market
  • Choeung Ek Memorial -The Killing Fields
  • Toul Sleng Genocide Museum - The School
  • The Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda
  • Wat Phnom – A monument to the founding of Phnom Penh in the 1960’s.
  • The National Museum
  • River trips are popular with tourists.


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KILLING FIELDS


Phnom Penh to Siem Reap

The road to Siem Reap was a fascinating peep into the lives of local Cambodians going about their daily tasks. While it was definitely more touristy, Siem Reap was prettier and more appealing for me.

Sight Seeing in Siem Reap



  • Angkor Wat is the main attraction.
  • Ta Prohm is in its original state and truly fascinating
  • Bayon was really lovely – full of surprises
  • Elephant Terrace
  • The Floating Village is a fascinating trip well worth taking.
  • HandiCraft Village – this is a pleasant change. A village set up to train and eventually employ young people in a wide range of handcrafts.


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HANDCRAFT VILLAGE - SIEM REAP



Warning - You will be accosted by young children selling Lonely Planet books.

You could buy a Cambodian Lonely Planet for $5. 9 and 10 year old children will speak to you in your language. They were pretty good at working out which language you spoke – even the differences in English accents. They would recite off a few facts.....the name of your Prime Minister, capital cities, pop in colloqueisms...she’ll be right....Yeh right!They knew some facts about your country ..........which was impressive and charming.

How to Bargain – Courtesy of Guntha

A holiday in Cambodia, or any other South East Asian country is usually about the bargaining you can do for your vacation shopping. Fakes are fine.......but you still need to bargain!

Here are our Guide Guntha's tips for bargaining to a good price for both you and the vendor.Start about two thirds below the asking price. Work through, dollar by dollar, bargaining until you should get the item for about half the asking price.

We bargained, then checked other stalls as many of the items are the same. We then went back to the best bargain.

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CENTRAL MARKET - PHNOM PENH


Cambodia Visa - get at the Border

You can get a Cambodia Visa for your holiday in Cambodia at the airport border. It proved to be a straightforward and efficient procedure.

  • You fill in the forms provided
  • These are collected with your passport
  • Wait in a queue while one of about 6 people processes your visa
  • Your name is called when it is ready and you are on your way.


Check what you will require in the VISA SEARCH BOX

Eating Out

There were some excellent restaurants in both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap

Cambodia Accommodation

You will have plenty of choice finding accommodation to suit your budget when you holiday in Cambodia as there are plenty of hotels .........most at very cheap prices by Western standards.

MITTAPHEAP HOTEL - PHNOM PENH

We stayed at this mid priced hotel in Phnom Penh, and while not flash, it was clean, comfortable and had everything we required including an en suite bathroom.

At around $45 it ensured we were within our budget for our holiday in Cambodia. It was all we needed with a comfortable bed.The windowless rooms were a disadvantage. But the hotel was newly renovated.I can certainly recommend it as a good three star hotel.

CITY RIVER HOTEL-SIEM REAP

This was in a good location within easy walking distance of shops and markets, and central Siem Reap.We had a pleasant walk across the river and were close to any number of restaurants and The Temple.

The hotel had large spacious rooms with everything you needed.The desk staff were helpful.

CLICK HERE for more CAMBODIA HOTELS

Dr Beat Richner – The Cello player

We were invited to a concert. We knew this was a fund raiser for the Kantha Botha Children’s Hospital, and were keen to enjoy a cello concert, so went along.

It was not on our holiday in Cambodia list of things to do, and some people did feel it had been rather misrepresented. There was not a lot of cello. But it certainly was a heart rending cause, we were happy to support.

Read the story of this Swiss doctor who has given his life to the children of Siem Reap, and his ongoing fundraising to try and give them the care and medication they need.

His big frustration at the lack of recognition by UNESCO and WHO(World Health Organisation) at the plight of these children, who cannot get modern medication and treatment because it is "too expensive", is very clear.

The corrupt practices plague this country, and their hospitals. For the full story of Dr Beat Richner –

Snippet #6: Mr Cello And The Unfortunate State Of Cambodian Healthcare*



Dr Beat and his Cello

Massage

A holiday in Cambodia would not be complete without a massage.We attempted to go to Healing Hands where the blind give massages. Unfortunately it was full, and we did not have time to wait.








More Cambodia Information


Phnom Penh

Siem Reap

Angkor Wat

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