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Cambodia

Koh Rong Island, Cambodia

The Jungle Island

rain 29 °C
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Spent 4 nights & 3 days on this island. There is quite a few places to stay but they have managed to keep much of the flora and fauna intact. I stayed at Tree House Bungalows that has built cool wooden huts either on the beach or in the bush, depending on how much you want to spend. I got the hut in the bush as it was only $15usd per night, had it`s own shower and toilet and a balcony.
They are an eco friendly resort so there is a lot of animals in and around the hut. There is a sign in the hut saying do not be afraid of the lizards as they eat the mosquitos but holy shit these things are 25cm long with the girth of a babies arm. Takes you back a bit when you get in the shower and one is on the wall staring at you or you wake up in the morning and there is one on the inside of the window.
Great place to stay, only 150 metres from the first beach, has a great bar/restaurant and so relaxing (because my life is so hard at the moment, hahaha).
Getting here was a mission though. From Phnom Penh takes 6 hours by bus then about 45 minutes by boat. I have found in Cambodia, if they say it takes 4 hours it will take 6. You catch the boat from a place called Sihanoukville, which should be called shitville. It is like they found an old rubbish dump and said "let`s build a town here". I have never seen so much rubbish ever. Talking to the locals and they explained that 90% of the rubbish is from the Chinese development here. Apparently the Cambodian government welcomes the Chinese as they believe this will help the country. Unfortunately everything that the Chinese build is exclusive for them, so it will not help the Cambodian people at all.

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Posted by Geete01 23:35 Archived in Cambodia Comments (1)

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Capital City

overcast 29 °C
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OMG Phnom Penh has the most traffic jams I have ever seen. It is strange because the population is only 1.5 million but you would swear there is 5 million vehicles. The city itself is actually not bad but trying to navigate the traffic is ridiculous. It is like Vietnam with 10 times more cars. I have used Tuk Tuks for all of my travelling in the city. I have found this to be the easiest, fastest and most reasonably priced way to get around. July, August & September are supposed to be the rainy season, however it is still 32 degrees everyday, add to this the humidity and the weather report says it feels like 39 degrees.

26/7/19

THE CHOEUNG EK GENOCIDAL CENTRE (THE KILLING FIELDS)
This would have to be one of the most confronting and emotional places I have ever visited. I had heard and read a little about the killing fields of Cambodia before I left NZ but it is hard to put into words the atrocities that were committed by the Khmer Rouge under the leadership of Pol Pot.
I used the audio tour which cost $5 usd and is well worth the price. They give you a headset to wear and the audio is narrated by a Cambodian man that lost 4 of his siblings at the hands of the Khmer Rouge. He speaks very good english, so is not difficult to understand. There are 19 stops that are narrated in order at different areas around the property. There is also the memorial stupa in the centre of the property that holds the skulls from the bodies that have been recovered the the land known as the killing fields. They even go as far as explaining how they died based on the damage to the skull.
At the end of the tour there is a museum that holds many items from this time including clothing from the soldiers and the victims.
Hopefully the pictures I have included here give you a better understanding of how barbaric the Khmer Rouge were to there own people. Basically considered a threat was exterminated. They considered anybody with an education or anyone wearing glasses a threat to name a few of their bizarre ideas. They also removed the currency and created their own.

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TUOL SLENG GENOCIDE MUSEUM (S-21)
This was the secret centre of a network of nearly 200 prisons where it is believed up to 20,000 people were imprisoned and tortured under the Khmer Rouge. You only left S21 to be transferred to the killing fields, many were also killed at the prison. There are only 12 confirmed survivors.
Again this was as audio tour with 32 stops and was $5usd.
I have not included many of the pictures I took here due to the graphic nature.

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ROYAL PALACE
Took a few photos of the royal palace but as with many countries that still worship royalty, it was a total piss take. The people of Cambodia struggle
to survive and the royalty waste money on self indulgence rather than helping the people.

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27/7/19
WILDLIFE RESCUE CENTRE
This place was fantastic. They basically rescue animals that have been injured or captured to be sold for exotic pets. Most of the animals have been tortured and beaten so they can be trained to perform. All the animals are the rehabilitated to be released back into the wild if possible. You can buy bananas and sugar cane to feed the animals on the walk around.
Most of the animals seem pretty tame but you get the odd one that is still pretty traumatised from the treatment they have received prior to arriving here.

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Posted by Geete01 01:59 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

Siem Reap, Cambodia

The City of Temples

sunny 33 °C
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Hi all, I am finally back online so can now start letting everyone know what I am up to again. For some reason while I was in Kuala Lumpur, I could access the blog so again my apologies that you have not seen an update for quite a while.

Anyway, I have arrived in Siem Reap, Cambodia and it is stupidly hot and humid. It doesn`t matter if it is sunny or raining, you are constantly wet, the only difference is how quickly the water drips off you. I spent the first day here doing a trip around the city looking at a few of the many temples. Hired a Tuk Tuk to take me which was a hilarious experience in itself as the road rules here seem to exist but nobody seems to adhere to them, they just appear to drive on either side of the road but surprisingly I haven`t seen any accidents yet.

19/7/2019
Hired a Tuk Tuk and driver for the whole day was $15 US and absolutely worth the money. He drove us around all day and waited while I was inside all the temples, which made for a stress free day.

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First stop Angkor Wat. The size of this temple is absolutely immense and if I remember correctly sits on 2 square kilometres of land. Apparently it took 16000 people 37 years to complete and they used 4000 elephants to drag the stones 17 km to where the temple was built. There were 2 sized stones that they used the smallest weighing 500kg and the largest 2000kg. They also used no mortar as the stones are cut to lock together. The temple was built in the 12 century and you will see in the photos has lasted pretty well compared to the other temples I saw.

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Next stop was a very small temple in comparison, built in the 10th century is Kravan temple. I am sure this is still a well respected temple, however it pales in comparison to Angkor Wat.

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Third stop of the day was Banteay Kdei Temple, like Angkor Wat was from the 12 century. This was probably the temple that was in the worst state of repair. I am not sure if this was due to the many wars over the time or if it was just due to poor construction, either way this temple had a lot of character.

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Temple number 4 of the day was Ta Prohm. This temple featured heavily in the tomb raider movie and was my favourite temple from all I saw today.

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Temple number 5 Bayon Temple, getting almost templed out buy this stage but still interesting as each temple had something a little different. This
particular one stood out due to having many faces carved into the rock.

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Random Elephant just walking past as I waited to go into the last temple.

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The last temple of the day was Phnom Bakheng which dates back to the 9th century. Was supposed to be the best place in Siem Reap to watch the sunset due to the height but unfortunately it rained so could not get a sunset picture. I will go back again another day to see if I can snap a picture of the sunset. Had to walk about 2 km up a hill to get to this temple.

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I will try and upload more frequently. Over and out.

21/7/19
LANDMINE MUSEUM

Today was quite sobering after visiting this museum and seeing not only many photos of the devastation caused by Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge in the 1970`s but also actual weapons and remains of some of the 1000`s of landmines that have been cleared in Cambodia. It is believed that while in power the Khmer Rouge executed roughly 25% of the population. The effects of this are still evident today as many of the people executed were professionals, Eg teachers, accountants, etc, so this put the country backwards by years. The current government is also communist and been in power for the last 40 years and not for the people. This means there are many people struggling to survive and begging for food and money on the streets regularly.
This museum is run by a guy who actually fought not only in the Cambodian army but also defected to the Vietnamese are and fought against the Khmer Rouge. He now runs an organisation who`s mission is to clear all the landmines and weapons throughout Cambodia. The museum itself is quite small in comparison to what I have seen elsewhere but packs a lot in to the small space. As part of the $5 usd entry fee, you also receive a headset that has commentary in English and other languages if required, you just need to tell them what language upon entry. I highly recommend this as a half day activity.
The 3rd photo is a cage in the middle of a pond that is filled with landmines and ammunition that has been cleared from fields in Cambodia.

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Stopped on the side of the road where they were making a sweet treat that I can only describe to be like fudge but more sugary. They use the nut from the sugar palm, empty the liquid from the nut into a huge pot then heat the liquid for many hours until it gets a fudge like consistency then let it set, put it into containers and sell it from these makeshift stalls on the side of the road. I think I paid $1 usd for this.

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23/7/19
PHNOM KULEN

Went to Kulen Mountain today, it was 1 1/2 hours drive by private car. This is reasonably expensive as far as Cambodia goes but I really wanted to see the waterfall. Although $75 usd for entry fee and private car/driver seems a lot, remember that the car picks you up and remains with you until dropping you back. Pick up is 8.30am and drop off is around 3pm, so probably pretty good value compared to many other countries.
Essentially Phnom Kulen is a national park and a sacred site in Cambodia. There are 3 main attractions, the waterfall, the 1000 lingas that are carved into stone and sit at the bottom of the river and lastly the Buddhist Temple.
The waterfall is over 2 tiers and unfortunately when I visited there had not been a lot of rain so it was quite small considering what it usually looks like. I have put up some pictures but you may see better
Be careful at the temple as it is expected to place a donation, this in itself is not an issue however there are over 20 donation boxes and then many people lining the stairs with their handout. So even if you only put 50c in each box and then give another $5 to the people in the street added to the $75 for the car/driver and entry fee, you have smashed through $90 usd and you haven`t eaten yet. I am glad I made the trip to see this area as it was very beautiful.

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Ok all, heading to Phnom Penh on the 24/7/19 so next post will be from there.

Posted by Geete01 00:00 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

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