Siem Reap

We are now in Siem Reap having travelled here from Phnom Penh by bus. The journey took six hours and as seems to be the case with all of our long journeys it was highly entertaining. The further we got from Phnom Penh the more rural the surroundings and it was fascinating watching the farmers working the land and driving through the small villages.

Early on in the journey the two women next to us were peeling and eating a strange brown fruit similar in shape and size to a large adult thumb. At the halfway stop we ventured into the market for some food and saw similar looking thumb shaped fruit. We decided to give them a crack but soon discovered they were something completely different and tasted really strange. They went in the bin.

We were sat on the 2nd row of seats so we had an excellent view of the tv screen. Cambodian Karaoke is already fast becoming a real favourite of mine. As I watched the depiction of rural Cambodian love unfold on the screen I couldn’t help but notice that it seems quite normal to take one’s water buffalo on a date with a woman. Apparently.

Siem Reap was a surprise. On the map it is a small town but because of the Angkor temples it has become the largest tourist destination in Cambodia. As such the town is riddled with westernised restaurants, loud bars and English speaking tuk-tuk drivers. We wandered down “Pub Street” and eventually found our way to a Cambodian style restaurant. We ended up sharing a table with Caroline and Diane from England who are out here on a 3 week holiday. They have followed a similar route to us through Vietnam so we had plenty of tales to share. They have also both travelled extensively to some of our other destinations so we took on board some good tips and advice.

Tomorrow we are being picked up by the tuk-tuk driver recommended to us by Pete and Paula, the Canadians from our Ha Long Bay tour. The temples here at Angkor have been something that have intrigued me for many years so to actually be here and about to see them is so exciting.

Here is a taster photo from the internet…

Before we set off for Siem Reap we took a tuk-tuk to the Tuol Slong Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh, otherwise known as S21. This was the school which the Khmer Rouge Communist regime converted to a place of incarceration and torture. It is thought that in excess of 20,000 prisoners were tortured and murdered over the course of four years. Their treatment was horrendous and the experience of visiting the cells was harrowing. The Khmer Rouge photographed each person as they were brought to the prison and many of the cells are now filled with these photographs. I had known little of what happened here in Cambodia until our visit and having now seen the museum I am amazed how far the country has come since. The museum was very harrowing but we are glad we went.

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