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Chomreabsuor Cambodia! (Part 1)

>> Thursday, June 16, 2016

A few posts ago, I mentioned that part of my travel bucketlist is to visit all South East Asia countries. Little did I know I would take the first step in accomplishing that bucketlist a couple of months after that post.

As with all surprise announcement of seat sales, there was no time to think about it when the opportunity to visit Cambodia came. Edlyn and I immediately said yes when Cerz invited us to come with her to Cambodia on her birthday week. We decided on it on the eve of New Year and had the remaining months preparing for the trip that happened last week.

It was a 3-hour plane ride from Manila to Siem Reap and we were excited on what Cambodia had to offer. Before the trip, we researched on the activities we could do during our 4-day stay. I think we pretty much accomplished our planned itinerary except for one.

I'll be posting in 3 parts and will also include the list of expenses. Cambodia is one of the cheapest vacations you can experience and you can splurge all you want without worrying on going broke.

Fee: $15 for three persons

We arrived around midnight of June 5. We basically didn't have any other activity for that day besides lining up at the airport, napping in the plane, and dragging our arse to bed as soon as we arrived. We were fetched by a tuktuk so that was our first Cambodian experience.

We were acquainted with the city of Siem Reap the next day. We took a city tour, with our tuktuk driver taking us to different museums in the city.

Angkor National Museum
Entrance Fee: $12

Located near the Siem Reap river, the Angkor National Museum holds artifacts and information on the culture of the Khmer civilization.

We had an option of renting audio guides that toured us around the museum in a systematic way. There are signs on the walls on which audio track we would play in certain areas of the museum, then it would provide us with information on the artifacts displayed.

It is highly recommended that you visit the museum first before taking the temple tour because it gives a detailed description of the history of the Khmer Civilization and Angkor Wat. Being equipped with Cambodian history before the temple tour will make you appreciate the temples even more.

Wat Thmey
Entrance Fee: None, but donations are appreciated

Cambodia is known to have a gruesome past. In the 1960s to 1970s, they went through a civil war, the reign of the Khmer Rouge, where millions of people were killed in order to "clear" those who were connected to the former government. It was only in the late 1970s that the evil regime was ousted and run by the Vietnamese. In 1993, Cambodia was given back to the people with an elected government.

Even if Cambodia is still in the process of healing, they never forgot their history most commonly known to us as the Killing Fields. The biggest and main monument is at Phnom Penh at the village of Choeung Ek. Siem Reap also has a memorial to the killing fields called Wat Thmey and we visited that place.

There are bulletin boards around the place describing what happened during that time. If you walk around, you'll also see some monuments with the skulls of the victims during the war.

It is also the home of some monks so be very careful in entering buildings. If you do, make sure you remove your footwear!

War Museum
Entrance Fee: $5

The War Museum gives an overview of what happened during their years of war in the past 3 decades. The outdoor museum features actual tanks, weapons, helicopters, planes, and equipment used during the war.

"Exterminate," said the soldiers, probably.

You can opt for a tour guide for free -- who are usually veterans, eye witnesses, or landmine victims. We didn't get a tour guide, but according to some blogs that I've read, walking around the place with a tour guide gives you a heart-wrenching feel of the hardships they endured during the war. Having someone recounting the events and who have experienced it first hand will allow you to imagine and have a emotional connection to it. I think it is also beneficial to the guides because talking about it is a way of therapy and at the same time, they get to educate the visitors.

Cambodian Cultural Village
Entrance Fee: $15

If you have the Angkor National Museum to give a glimpse of Cambodia's past, the Cambodian Cultural Village gives a glimpse into the Cambodian culture. It's pretty much like the Nayong Pilipino here in the Philippines, except that the Cultural Village still exists. harhar

The Cultural Village has different sections which teaches you a lot about Cambodia traditions, ceremonies, and practices.

Miniature buildings!

Probably a replica of the floating village

Walkway guarded by Naga

Avalokitesvara looking at all directions

We didn't stay long though because I think it was better if we went with a large group in order to experience the traditional shows. I don't think they'll do a massive show for three people. Besides we were also rushing because rain clouds were looming and were threatening to pour over our open tuktuk.

We spent the rest of the day back at the hotel and in the pool until the mosquitoes started to devour our legs.

Continue reading on our Cambodia journey --> [Part 2] [Part 3].


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